The Endo Experience
No two women experience endometriosis the same way. But in general, most of them share one common symptom: pelvic pain. However, it can be difficult to distinguish these pain symptoms from normal menstrual cycle aches and pains, making diagnosis a challenge.
In general, a woman will realize as time elapses that her symptoms are not within the range of normal. The pain will worsen each month. This is the unfortunate beginning of a slow decline in her general and reproductive health.
But in some cases women are found to have endometriosis even though symptoms are mild or absent. The diagnosis in these cases is assumed and predicated on the absence of any other infertility issues. The only way to confirm the diagnosis is through surgery.
Because the extra-uterine tissue produced by endometriosis doesn't follow any specific or classic pattern, it can be difficult for a physician to cotton on to the fact that a woman has the condition. In fact, when symptoms are present, they often mimic those of other medical conditions, for instance: appendicitis, colon cancer, fibroid tumors, ovarian cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and ovarian cysts.
In general, the most common signs of endometriosis are infertility, fatigue, painful intercourse, diarrhea, constipation, pain prior to and during the menstrual periods, chronic pelvic pain, heavy periods, irregular menstruation, painful urination or bowel movements during menstruation, and low back pain. Other symptoms that are seen with endometriosis include a greater susceptibility to allergies and infections, headaches, anxiety, low-grade fevers, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and depression.
As endometriosis progresses, adhesions will tend to develop within the pelvic cavity. These are untreated cysts which act much like glue and can cause pelvic organs to stick together. Such adhesions may cause serious interference with the function of organs in this area and may cause bowel obstructions, infertility, digestive issues, urination problems, and severe pain that can result from the pulling of adhesions caused by normal physical movement. This pain may interfere with mobility.
Over time, endometriosis can impair a woman's immune system leading to other health problems. Women with endometriosis have 100 times the risk of developing chronic fatigue syndrome and seven times the risk for developing under-active thyroid gland (ME hypothyroidism). They are also more prone to develop conditions such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.