For most women, the week of her period is uncomfortable. However, for some women, periods are associated with debilitating pelvic pain. This is usually the result of a condition known as endometriosis. This is a condition where the tissue that lines the uterus or the endometrium is found outside the uterus as well. It usually involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes and tissues lining the pelvic region. In rare cases, it may be found in other parts of the body as well. Endometriosis can lead to cysts in the ovaries, adhesion of pelvic tissues and organs and also cause infertility.
The pain associated with endometriosis is caused due to the fact that the tissue that is outside the uterus behaves in the same manner as that inside the uterus but has no way of being removed from the body. Hence, it causes an inflammatory reaction that can be felt as a dull ache or muscle cramps. Cysts formed as a result of endometriosis may also put additional pressure on pelvic organs while urinating, passing stool or during intercourse and hence cause pain.
However, endometriosis is not the only cause for pelvic pain. Some of the other causes of pain in the abdomen include:
Hence, it is necessary to understand and recognise the other symptoms of endometriosis as well. While some women may exhibit no other symptoms, others may experience:
If the pain in the pelvic region is accompanied by any of the above symptoms for an extended period of time, you must consult a doctor immediately. Though endometriosis is not a cancerous condition, it can lead to further complications like blockages in the bowel if left untreated. To confirm a diagnosis of this condition, you will usually be advised to undergo laparoscopy.
This is a minor surgical procedure that involves making a small incision in the abdomen through which a telescope-like instrument is passed into the body. This allows the doctors to look inside and identify any patches of endometrium tissue. Once confirmed, your doctor may advise you leave it under observation, give you a course of painkillers or advise hormone replacement therapy or surgery to remove the extra endometrium tissue.
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