Endometriosis is a disease in which tissue that is similar to the lining of the uterus starts to grow outside the uterus. This can cause infertility as well as other symptoms such as fatigue or pain during ovulation. There are many treatments and medications that can help such as hormonal birth control which can help with getting hormones under control as well as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) which can be used to combat infertility. Here are some of the warning signs of endometriosis to look out for:
1. Pain and swelling in the abdomen and pelvic area
Pain and swelling in the abdomen and pelvic area are the most common symptoms of endometriosis. The pain typically occurs during ovulation, periods, or intercourse but can also occur outside of these triggers. The growths caused by endometriosis can swell and bleed in the same way the lining inside of your uterus does during periods. However, since the tissue grows and bleeds in an area it cannot easily get out of your body from, it can cause pain and swelling.
2. Abnormal bleeding
Another red flag to look out for with endometriosis is abnormal bleeding. Sometimes the tissue outside of the uterus can bleed excessively causing a very heavy menstrual flow or bleed when you are not on your period causing bleeding to occur randomly. On rare occasions the endometrial tissue can grow into your bladder and cause pain during urination and blood to appear in the urine.
3. Longer periods
A typical period lasts 5 to 7 days but with endometriosis, a period can last even more than 7 days. This is because the body has more tissue to shed then normal meaning it takes longer to shed it all. It is useful to keep track of how often you get your period and how long it lasts in order to determine if there are any irregularities with it.
Unfortunately, around 30-50% of people who suffer from endometriosis struggle to conceive. Those with endometriosis have only a 1-10% chance of getting pregnant each month which is significantly lower than the regular odds of 10-20% for those without this disease. There are methods that can help those with endometriosis fight infertility such as IVF in which an egg is combined with sperm outside of the body and then placed back into the uterus.
5. Chronic fatigue
Another symptom of endometriosis that serves as an early warning sign is chronic fatigue. This symptom occurs due to the immune system’s response to the endometrial tissue growing where it should not. The body typically launches an attack on the tissue to try and remove it which can cause inflammation and pain. The inflammation and energy spent by the immune system can cause chronic fatigue.