Endometriosis refers to what happens when the lining of the uterus known as the endometrium attaches to some of the other organs located on the outside of the uterus. Generally, the lining is shed during a woman’s period. However, if this lining has attached itself to the outside of the uterus, it does not have a way to leave the body. The lining will then break down and bleed, tear away, or turn into scar tissues that can be extremely painful. The cause of endometriosis is not known.
There are a variety of symptoms that can occur with endometriosis. For some women, endometriosis will mean having extreme pain during their period, or during sex. The most severe pain of endometriosis can occur somewhere around 5 to 7 days before a woman’s period, and it can last until around 2 or 3 days after a period. Around two thirds of women with endometriosis will experience pain during intercourse. Many women who have endometriosis will experience a variety of gastrointestinal difficulties. These can include diarrhea, painful bowel movements, and bloating. Some women with endometriosis experience nausea. Many women with endometriosis will have irregular or heavy periods, or painful periods. Back pain can also be characteristic of endometriosis. Fatigue may accompany endometriosis as well.
Endometriosis can be extremely frustrating for a woman who is trying to conceive. This is because endometriosis is known to cause infertility. Some studies even suggest that endometriosis is one of the leading causes of infertility. However, with specific treatments, fertility difficulties due to endometriosis can often be addressed. Endometriosis as a cause of infertility is often easier to address than other causes of infertility.
In terms of pregnancy, some women who have endometriosis have experienced a lessening of the painful and difficult symptoms of endometriosis. Pregnancy does not cure endometriosis. The affect of endometriosis on pregnancy is not clearly known. In general, once a woman becomes pregnant, endometriosis does not appear to cause any difficulties with the pregnancy.