If you suspect that you have endometriosis, or are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is highly recommended that you come in for an appointment with a GP. You are in safe hands with the support of our excellent doctors. They will talk to you about your symptoms, examine you, & help you get a proper diagnosis. The doctor can refer you on for further testing (such as laparoscopy) or specialist care where appropriate, & assist you with a treatment plan.
The causes of endometriosis are not known, although it is thought to be related to genetics, immune system problems, the spread of endometrial cells via the lymphatic system, or retrograde menstruation (when the lining of the womb flows upwards & becomes embedded in the pelvis).
Diagnosis may include laparoscopy, which allows the doctor to see patches of endometrial tissue inside the body. Once diagnosed, treatment options include anti-inflammatory painkillers, hormone-based treatments, or minor surgical procedures to remove patches of endometrial tissue. There is currently no absolute cure for endometriosis, but with appropriate treatment, the symptoms can be lessened, & keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) to remove endometrial tissue can help to improve the likelihood of getting pregnant.
The symptoms of endometriosis can range from mild to severe. In some cases, they may affect your ability to go about your normal daily activities.
- Severe period pain (dysmenorrhea). This can occur during your period or throughout the month of your cycle, even when you’re not bleeding
- Pelvic pain, or lower abdominal pain, which may also affect the low back
- Heavy menstrual bleeding, or bleeding between periods
- Pain during or after sex
- Rectal bleeding, or pain during bowel movements
- Constipation, bloating, or nausea, particularly during the time of your period
- Depression & relationship problems are a branch of endometriosis, due to the chronic & often severe nature of the symptoms, which may interfere with daily activities
- Difficulty conceiving a child. Infertility or reduced fertility may occur with endometriosis
- Cysts can form when larger patches of endometriosis cause organs to adhere to each other
Some of these symptoms cross over with other gynaecological conditions, & so it is important to get a proper diagnosis from a GP, or to see a specialists for further investigation if it is recommended by a doctor. Endometriosis is less common in post-menopausal women than it is in women of childbearing age. It is most prevalent in women in their 30s & 40s, & can affect as many as 1 in 10 women of childbearing age.