Five little-known signs of endometriosis REVEALED
Five little-known signs of endometriosis REVEALED
- Endometriosis affects 176million worldwide but many struggle to get diagnosed
- It causes painful periods and fatigue that interferes with day-to-day life
Pelvic pain, heavy periods and pain during sex are all common symptoms of endometriosis.
The debilitating condition causes tissue, similar to the lining of the womb, to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, causing inflammation and pain.
It affects 176million women worldwide — including one in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK and US.
But many struggle to get a diagnosis despite the pain interfering with daily life.
Bina Mehta, a pharmacist at Boots, explained: ‘It can be difficult to diagnose endometriosis because the symptoms can vary considerably.
‘Some women experience severe symptoms whilst others may not. And their symptoms may be similar to other conditions including period pain.’
Pelvic and lower tummy pain are shared symptoms of both conditions, she said.
But there is more to endometriosis than period pain.
Here, MailOnline reveals four of the lesser-known symptoms of the condition for endometriosis awareness month.
The condition, which affects 176 million worldwide, causes tissue, similar to the lining of the uterus, to grow outside of the uterus, causing inflammation and pain. It can also cause bowel problems, fatigue, trouble getting pregnant and pain when weeing
Although it is a condition that effects the uterus and is commonly associated with period pain it can also cause bowel problems.
For this reason, endometriosis is often misdiagnosed as IBS due to the digestive issues the condition causes such as abdominal pain, bloating and constipation.
The symptoms are caused by endometrial tissue that attaches to the intestines and causes inflammation, which can lead to symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea, according to dietitian Dr Caitlin Hall.
She adds that in severe cases, endometrial tissue can cause a blockage in the bowel, leading to constipation, nausea, and even vomiting.
Pharmacist Ms Mehta warns that in some cases endometriosis can cause blood in your pee or poo during your perioend.
She said: ‘If you think you may have endometriosis you should visit your GP.
‘Whilst there is no cure, there are treatments that can help ease the symptoms, including pain relief medicines and hormone medicines.’
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other places, including the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
The long-term condition affects women of any age, including teenagers.
Common symptoms include:
- Pelvic pain
- Period pain
- pain during or after sex
- pain peeing or pooing
- feeling sick
- difficulty getting pregnant
- Hormone medicines and contraceptives
- Surgery to cut away the patches of endometriosis
Feeling tired is also a symptom of endometriosis.
The chronic pain and inflammation associated with the condition could be contributing to this fatigue, according to Dr Irem Tezer Ates.
She explained that for many women these symptoms are dismissed and others struggle to spot the warning signs.
Being physically exhausted can be a debilitating symptom of the disease that impacts women’s daily lives, stress levels and sleep.
It is thought the fatigue is caused by the body’s effort to eliminate the disease, according to the Endometriosis Foundation of America.
Experts say the fatigue is the result of the body trying to combat the inflammatory toxins caused by the disease.
It hurts to pee
Just like how endometriosis tissue can grow in the intestine, it can also grow around the bladder, causing irritation.
This is why the disease can cause pain when passing urine.
Bladder endometriosis can either be superficial — when tissue is found on the outer surface of the bladder — or deeper — when the tissue is found inside the bladder lining or wall.
Its symptoms include bladder irritation, needing to pass urine more often, pain when the bladder is full, occasional blood in urine and sometimes pain in the area of the kidneys, according to Endometriosis UK.
However, endometriosis sufferers who have pain when weeing may not have womb-like tissue on their bladder, as it could instead by a UTI — which are more common among those with endometriosis.
Jenny Saft, CEO and co-founder at fertility platform Apryl, said: ‘Some women who have endometriosis will experience recurrent bouts of thrush, as well as other gastrointestinal infections such as UTIs.
‘This could be a result of immune dysfunction: many people with endometriosis appear to have reduced immunity to other conditions — and thrush is more common in people with a weakened immune system.’
However, she adds that it is not yet known whether reduced immune function contributes to endometriosis, or occurs as a result of endometriosis.
Trouble getting pregnant
Many women with endometriosis struggle to get pregnant, but it is still not understood why.
Due to a lack of research, the links between fertility problems and the condition are not fully known. But doctors believe it may be down to the disease distorting the reproductive organs.
This can lead to women needing to have surgery or go through IVF to get pregnant.
But, Ms Saft says it is a misconception that people with endometriosis will not be able to conceive at all naturally.
However, she admits that it can be harder among those with endometriosis.
She said: ‘If you receive a diagnosis and are still hoping to start a family, don’t be disheartened. It’s estimated that 60 to 70 per cent of women with endometriosis can get pregnant naturally.
‘For those who are struggling to conceive naturally, options include undergoing surgery to remove patches of endometriosis tissue, or trying a fertility treatment such as IVF.’
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