5 Symptoms Of Endometriosis That You've Never Thought To Pay Attention To
It can feel overwhelming to think about all of the possible illnesses or afflictions you might have, simply because you're suffering from a headache. Cue the typical WebMD spiral, where you type in "migraine" and the internet tells you that you have eight days to live. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some symptoms of certain illnesses can often slip by you entirely unnoticed. For example, there are countless symptoms of endometriosis that you've probably never thought to pay attention to.
A good rule of thumb is to always try your best to toe the line between being self-aware and paranoid, and a good way of doing just that is to keep track of symptoms as they appear. Sometimes, one symptom on its own means nothing, but when you put them all together, you can start to get a more full and rounded picture of what's really going on in your body.
Like fibromyalgia, for example, endometriosis can often present itself via a series of symptoms that look like nothing especially unusual. But when you put the symptoms together, you see the picture: Endometriosis affects at least 176 million women worldwide, and the number is only growing as awareness efforts reach more and more people.
Here are five symptoms of endometriosis that you might have totally ignored, up until now.
1. It's Painful When You Go To The Bathroom
Painful urination and bowel movements are a common symptom of endometriosis.
Endometrial tissue can be found on the bladder, bowel, intestines, or appendix when you have endometriosis, which is why you can experience pain in these parts of your body.
2. More Intense Periods
Endometriosis can heavily affect your period in a myriad of ways. Some people experience heavy and excessive bleeding, while others experience shorter menstrual cycles (27 days instead of 30, for example) or longer periods (six or seven days instead of three or four).
What's more is that endometriosis often leads to intense pelvic cramping, which can be so bad that those with the condition often spend a few days each month confined to their bed. This can make the illness incredibly isolating for those who have it, since family and friends can unintentionally misunderstand quite how painful and debilitating the illness can be.
3. It Hurts To Have Sex
More than 50 percent of women with endometriosis report experiences of painful sex. According to Everyday Health, it's the location of the endometrial tissue, and not the size of it, that determines how painful your sex is: If the endometrial tissue is affecting your uterine nerves or ligaments, it's most likely going to cause more pain during sex. The pain varies in a wide range, from mild to unbearable, and can even last for many days after having had sex.
Women with endometriosis can also get very anxious about having sex, which leads them to subsequently tighten their muscles and inadvertently set themselves up for even more pain.
One of the more severe complications of endometriosis is infertility; between 30 and 50 percent of women with endometriosis report difficulty getting pregnant.
Here's why this happens: Endometriosis can potentially obstruct your fallopian tube, which thus prevents the egg and sperm from meeting. It doesn't help that endometriosis makes sex more painful, too, which can certainly keep you from wanting to have it, even if you're looking to have a baby.
5. Chronic Fatigue
Chronic fatigue is no small symptom for women living with endometriosis. Vital Health Endometriosis Treatment Center reports that the level of fatigue women deal with when they have endometriosis is comparable to what women with advanced forms of cancer experience.
If you feel absolutely exhausted and often have incredibly painful cramps and heavy periods, you're experiencing symptoms that may be related to endometriosis, so it's best to see your doctor as soon as you can to figure out what's really going on.