The female reproductive system relies on multiple complex organs to function in harmony to ovulate, menstruate, and conceive. If any part of the system malfunctions, it affects the others and may lead to serious health complications, like endometriosis.
That occurs when the lining of your uterus goes rogue and starts to grow where it shouldn’t. It may attach itself outside, instead of inside, the wall of your uterus, grab onto your ovaries, and even cling to your fallopian tubes.
Although fairly common — more than 10% of women experience it — endometriosis causes uncommon pain and other symptoms. Women throughout New Jersey afflicted with endometriosis trust our team of women’s health experts at University Reproductive Associates (URA) to diagnose and treat their condition with the most advanced technology and genuine compassion.
One of the most frustrating aspects of endometriosis is that many women don’t realize they have it and don’t seek medical attention. The symptoms are easy to write off as “normal” even though they can be very disruptive. Here’s what to look for.
Menstruating is often uncomfortable. Cramps and aches are common about a week before your period arrives and even a couple of days after it starts. But outright pain isn’t normal. The medical term dysmenorrhea refers to severe pain and cramping that disrupts your ability to carry on normal daily activities. Endometriosis may also lead to exceptionally heavy bleeding during menstruation.
Endometriosis most commonly affects the nearby organs like your ovaries and fallopian tubes, but it can also find its way to your bowels and cause bowel endometriosis. If this happens, you may experience painful intestinal cramping, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea.
One of the hardest things for some women is to discuss the symptom of painful sex. It’s a personal topic, and many women feel embarrassed to talk about such intimate matters. But sex is a normal and healthy human function designed to be enjoyable as well as productive. Unfortunately, endometriosis can derail that. If the fibrous endometrial tissues fuse the front of your rectum to the back of your vagina, intercourse can be extremely painful as the upper part of your vagina expands and moves.
Constant pain in your pelvic region — that’s anywhere in the area between your hips and below your belly button — that lasts six months or more is considered chronic pelvic pain. It can be a symptom of uterine fibroids, musculoskeletal problems, pelvic inflammatory disease, interstitial cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and yes, endometriosis.
Wherever endometrial tissue grows, it still responds to the hormonal triggers telling it to build up, then break away and bleed. If this tissue grows on or in your bladder, the blood has no exit strategy as it does when it leaves your uterus, so it gets trapped, causing inflammation and pain when you urinate.
Untreated endometriosis can eventually lead to infertility, so it’s best to start treatments early if you plan on getting pregnant. Our team at URA specializes in locating your endometriosis, determining the severity, and developing a personalized treatment plan that takes into account your health and reproductive goals. From medications and hormone replacement therapy to laparoscopic surgery, we can guide you toward the right treatment for you.
If you have or think you may have endometriosis, don’t wait. Contact us at 201-288-6330 for appointments at any of our three New Jersey locations in Hasbrouck Heights, Hoboken, or Wayne, or use the online tool to schedule a telehealth consultation today.