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Endometriosis: A Common Cause Of Pain During Intercourse

Endometriosis: A Common Cause Of Pain During Intercourse
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pelvic pain

Endometriosis is a painful condition in which the endometrium begins growing outside of the uterus. The endometrium is a layer of tissue that lines the inside of the uterus. In endometriosis, this tissue begins to grow outside of the uterus, usually on the ovaries or fallopian tubes. In rare cases, endometrium tissue can even begin to grow in other areas of the body, including the lungs and brain. Endometriosis is most often seen in women aged 30 to 40, but can be found in women in their 20’s. It is estimated that endometriosis affects over 10 million women worldwide.

What Causes Endometriosis?

The cause of endometriosis is still unknown, but recent studies show that some cases can be linked to underlying immune system disorders.

Types of Endometriosis

Superficial Endometriosis

Superficial endometriosis refers to small endometrial lesions that do not have much mass and only grow to be 1 to 2cm wide.

Deep Infiltrating Endometriosis

Deep infiltrating endometriosis refers to the most painful type of endometriosis. This type is characterized by endometrial lesions that grow into the bowel, bladder and vagina. They and can grow to be as much as 5mm deep and even penetrate surrounding nerves.

Ovarian Endometriotic Cysts

Ovarian endometriotic cysts are large, fluid-filled cysts that grow on or around the ovaries and can be as large as 15cm in severe cases.

pain during sex

Endometriosis Symptoms

  • Pelvic pain
  • Severe cramps during menstruation
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain during urination or bowel movements
  • Infertility
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Lower back pain
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Heavy menstrual flow
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Headache

Diagnosing Endometriosis

Endometriosis usually needs to be diagnosed by a gynecologist. Your gynecologist will perform a pelvic exam to manually examine the uterus and surrounding anatomy. In some cases, they may be able to manually palpate endometrial lesions. In many cases, diagnostic imaging such as pelvic CT scans and ultrasounds are necessary to visualize the endometrial lesions. Laparoscopy may also be used diagnose endometriosis by inserting a fiber-optic instrument through the abdominal wall to visualize the pelvic region.

pain during sex

Treating Endometriosis

Treating endometriosis conservatively involves hormone therapy. which can prevent the growth of endometrial tissue. Medications such as painkillers can alleviate some symptoms of endometriosis, such as pelvic pain. In moderate to severe cases, surgery may be required to either remove the endometrial tissue or perform a hysterectomy.

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