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The most common signs of Endometriosis

Endometriosis symptoms can sometimes improve by themselves, but they can also progress over time. 

 

The symptoms can range from mild to severe and often they may be intermittent in nature. It tends to be worse during menstruation, ovulation, and sexual intercourse.

 

The pain can often start in the lead up to (around 2-5 days before) menstruation. Although some people, especially those within the later stages (moderate -severe) can experience pain and symptoms outside of menstruation or even continuously throughout the month.

 

Some may also experience pain, discomfort, and sometimes bleeding during pelvic exams or any other type of physical exam involving a doctor manually investigating their pelvis.

Keeping a record of your symptoms 

Keeping a diary of your symptoms can not only help towards getting the care and support you need, but it can also help you think about your symptoms and when and how often they occur. 

Our Ambassador, Dr Anita Mitra, explains why keeping a symptom diary is so important.

What are the most common signs to look out for? 

 

Some people may experience one or two symptoms, whereas others may experience a combination of them.

 

The following symptoms are often associated with Endometriosis (the list is not exhaustive) and includes:

 

Pelvic pain

 

This pain is typically felt in the lower abdomen and lower back, but it can also radiate to the rectum, hips and legs, which may lead to sciatic pain. The intensity of this discomfort can reach such levels that even small tasks like sitting and walking can become challenging, particularly during the menstrual period. As a result of pelvic pain, some individuals may find themselves bedridden, unable to attend school or work, impacting their daily lives. Additionally, there is a chance of experiencing abdominal pain, which can manifest as cramping, burning sensations, or a varying intensity of a dull ache.

Changes in menstrual flow 

 

The menstrual flow, which is a normal part of the menstrual cycle, can vary from month to month and from person to person. For some individuals, their menstrual flow may be on the heavier side, meaning they might experience prolonged periods of bleeding during their monthly cycle. Additionally, they may also notice spotting occurring in between their regular periods. Others may encounter light bleeding or, in some cases, even experience absent periods, medically known as amenorrhea. This could be due to various factors such as hormonal imbalances, stress, or certain medical conditions.

Remember, everyone’s menstrual journey and endometriosis journey is unique, and understanding these diverse patterns in menstrual flow is essential for individuals to be aware of their own bodies and identify any chances that may require medical attention. It’s always a good idea to keep track of your menstrual cycle and seek guidance from a healthcare professional if you notice any irregularities or have concerns about your menstrual health.

Abdominal swelling 

 

Water retention and bloating are typical of sensitivity to changes in hormones during the menstrual cycle. However, for individuals with endometriosis, and in particular, those experiencing bowel endometriosis, this sensitivity to hormone changes can result in more pronounced abdominal distention beyond the typical ‘bloat experienced by others.

This swelling can be triggered by various factors, including menstruation, physical activities like carrying out exercise, sexual intercourse, or even dietary choices. This Abdominal swelling can lead to discomfort and pain, lasting anywhere from a few hours to several days. In some cases, it may also be caused by the presence of a large cyst.

Abnormal urinary or bowel habits

 

Painful bladder and bowel movements may suggest signs of endometriosis. In some cases, individuals may feel a heightened urgency or increased frequency to pass urine, along with experiencing pain in the lower back and kidney area, resembling UTI-like symptoms. Changes in bowel habits may also include difficulties in passing stools. In rarer instances, the presence of blood in urine or stools may suggest signs of endometriosis.

Painful sex 

 

Endometriosis can lead to pain and discomfort during or after sexual intercourse, and it’s important to be aware of its potential effects. The pain experienced may vary in intensity, ranging from sharp to dull and may even be accompanied by bleeding in some cases.  This pain may worsen depending on the position you are in. In some this pain can also be triggered by orgasm, causing deep pain for several hours afterwards. The intensity of the pain can also be affected by the position you may be in during sexual activity.

Infertility 

 

Endometriosis can lead to difficulties conceiving.

If you are experiencing unusual pain that is stopping you from carrying out your usual day-to-day activities like attending school or work, or if you have noticed changes around your periods, there is a chance you might have Endometriosis, or it could be the sign of something else. It is important to tell your doctor as early as possible.

We have tailored information to provide guidance and tips on how to get the most from your GP which you can read here

 

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