Your uterus has a lining of tissue called the endometrium. This tissue thickens every month to prepare your body for pregnancy. If you don’t get pregnant, it sheds and bleeds during your menstrual period.
Healthy endometrial tissue grows inside your uterus, but about 11% of women have a condition called endometriosis. It’s often diagnosed in women who are in their 30s or 40s, but it can affect any woman from her first menstrual cycle to menopause.
Endometriosis affects how and where endometrial tissue grows. With endometriosis, this tissue grows outside your uterus. It sheds and bleeds just like normal tissue, but it gets trapped in your body and causes inflammation, pain, and other issues.
At OB/GYN Specialists, Daniel McDonald, MD, Marc Wilson, MD, and our team specialize in endometriosis. It’s time to learn more about which parts of your body could be affected by endometriosis, and some of the common symptoms.
Endometriosis affects your pelvic organs
Your reproductive system contains several different parts: ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, and vagina. Endometrial tissue is supposed to grow in your uterus, which is the organ responsible for housing and growing a baby if you’re pregnant.
But if you have endometriosis, endometrial tissue grows outside your uterus. Nearby reproductive organs are often affected. Endometrial tissue can grow on or around your ovaries and your fallopian tubes.
Tissue growth can spread to other organs in your pelvis, even if they’re not related to reproduction. Some women have endometrial tissue growth around their bowels, rectum, and bladder.
Most of the time, abnormal endometrial tissue growth stays in your pelvic area. In rare cases, tissue may spread as far as your chest cavity.
Endometriosis, pelvic pain, and other symptoms
Endometrial tissue thickens and sheds every month, no matter where it is inside your body. Healthy tissue in your uterus can exit through your vagina during your menstrual period, but abnormal tissue growth around your pelvic organs can’t escape.
With nowhere to go, tissue builds up and causes inflammation in your pelvic area. The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain. You might have ongoing pain or intense cramps during your period, and some women also experience heavy bleeding during their periods.
Endometriosis can also cause pain with sexual intercourse, bloating, and nausea. If tissue growth affects your bowels, you might have constipation, diarrhea, or painful bowel movements. Endometriosis can also cause chronic lower back pain.
It’s important to note that the severity of your symptoms doesn’t indicate the severity of your condition. Some women have intense symptoms with mild endometriosis, while others may have severe cases of endometriosis and no noticeable symptoms at all.
You don’t have to live with the heavy periods and pelvic pain caused by endometriosis. Book an appointment with Dr. McDonald and Dr. Wilson to learn more about your endometriosis treatment options. Contact us online or call our office at 940-202-0566 today.