4 Lesser-Known Signs of Endometriosis

Mar 02, 2024
4 Lesser-Known Signs of Endometriosis
Endometriosis is incredibly difficult to diagnose because it so closely mimics several other health conditions. We provide some lesser-known signs of endometriosis here to help you attain an accurate diagnosis.

Your uterus is lined with tissue called the endometrium. Endometrial tissue is what swells and bleeds in response to hormonal cues during your menstrual cycle. 

However, if you have a condition known as endometriosis, endometrial tissue starts growing in places besides your uterus, such as your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and elsewhere in your pelvis. This can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as pelvic pain and unusual bleeding.

What’s even more unfortunate is that it typically takes more than six years for women to get an accurate diagnosis of endometriosis. This often happens due to a misdiagnosis or because women simply don’t realize their symptoms are abnormal.

Because endometriosis is missed so often, our team, led by women’s health specialist Carrie Cogley, APRN, at Primrose Women’s Health in Dayton, Ohio, wants to provide you with some lesser-known signs of the condition so you can get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Understanding the symptoms of endometriosis

Symptoms of endometriosis vary greatly from person to person. Pelvic pain is the top reported symptom, but the severity of that pain doesn’t always correlate with the severity of the condition. The symptoms can also differ depending on the site of the endometrial tissue. 

Here are some symptoms that aren’t talked about quite as often as pelvic pain:

1. Bladder and gastrointestinal issues

When you have endometriosis, endometrial tissue can start growing even outside your pelvis. The two most common areas for endometrial tissue to grow outside your pelvis are your bladder and your gastrointestinal tract. This can cause pain and lead to blood in your stool or urine.

2. Painful sex 

Sex can be incredibly painful when you have endometrial tissue growing in your vagina or lower uterus. This is because penetration can irritate the endometrial growths, leading to stabbing or burning pain. 

3. Extreme menstrual cramps

Cramping during your period is normal, but the menstrual cramps you have with endometriosis are much more severe. Menstrual cramps from endometriosis can be incredibly painful, start days before your period, and linger even with pain medications. 

4. Infertility 

Endometriosis is the top cause of female infertility. It can hinder pregnancy in multiple ways. Endometrial tissue wraps around your ovaries, keeping eggs from being able to be released. Your fallopian tubes can also block the traffic of both sperm and fertilized eggs.

Even if the extra tissue is removed, endometriosis can alter your body’s hormonal balance, cause your immune system to attack an embryo, and affect the uterine lining where the fertilized egg needs to implant. 

Treating endometriosis

We offer treatments for endometriosis as part of our comprehensive gynecologic care

Endometriosis is associated with higher levels of estrogen production, so we may start by recommending lifestyle changes to reduce extra estrogen. Eating a healthy diet that’s low in fat and high in fruits and vegetables, exercising, and managing stress can all lessen inflammation and pain.

We offer in-office treatments like pain medications to help manage pain from endometriosis or hormone therapy to reduce estrogen levels and even stop your period. Additionally, you may need surgery to remove endometrial tissue and tame your symptoms.

To receive care for endometriosis, contact our team for an appointment by calling our office or scheduling online