Endometriosis is a condition in which uterine endometrial cells grow outside of the uterus. It commonly results in frequent pain from cramping and can be particularly intense during menstrual periods or sexual intercourse. For some women, it can be difficult to decipher whether their painful symptoms are due to normal period discomfort, or if endometriosis symptoms are in play. If you suspect you may be suffering from endometriosis but are unsure, we’ve put together this short guide to provide more insight on endometriosis symptoms.
What Does Endometrial Pain Feel Like?
Endometriosis is common, but it can be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms and pain are different for everyone, but most women report pain that is intense enough to stop them in their tracks and is far more severe than typical menstrual pain. Some common endometriosis symptoms are:
- Pelvic Pain: Many women with endometriosis experience pain in their pelvic or belly area that starts before their period is irresponsive to pain medication. This pain can feel like a dull ache, or also sharp, stabbing pains. Some women report feeling as if their insides are being pulled down, or an intense tightening or burning pain.
- Back Pain: The uterus and ovaries are positioned near the back, and because of this, endometrial cells can stick to your lower back. As a result, back pain is one of the more common endometriosis symptoms women experience. Back pain that is related to endometriosis is felt deep within the body and is irresponsive to stretching, changes in posture, or chiropractic adjustments.
- Leg Pain: Endometriosis can affect the nerves along the groin, hips, and legs (particularly when lesions grow on or around the sciatic nerve). This can result in leg pain for endometriosis sufferers that makes it difficult to walk comfortably or stand up quickly. Women commonly describe feeling sudden leg cramps, dull throbbing pains, or even sharp stabbing pain in their legs.
- Painful Bowel Movements: Depending on where a woman has endometrial cell growth, painful bowel movements can result (called rectovaginal endometriosis). Women suffering from rectovaginal endometriosis experience irritable bowels, difficulty passing urine, diarrhea, painful bowel movements, bleeding, and constipation.
- Pain During Intercourse: Painful nodules in the uterus, cervix, or pelvic cavities can cause sharp pains during intercourse. Some women experience pain during intercourse and even in the days following.
- Shoulder, Neck, Chest Pain: Though rare, some women experience endometriosis symptoms in their shoulder, neck, and chest—mainly if there are growths on the diaphragm.
How Are Endometriosis Symptoms Different Than Menstrual Pain?
Some endometrial pain may be difficult to distinguish from menstrual pain at first glance, but there are some key factors that differentiate the two:
- Severity: Endometrial pain is much more severe than typical menstrual pain, and sufferers often find that it is unresponsive to OTC pain relievers such as aspirin or acetaminophen.
- Chronic and Consistent: Endometrial pain is consistent and repeatedly reoccurs before and during the menstrual cycle. The pain isn’t “sporadic,” and women who have endometriosis can anticipate when they will experience certain symptoms and can easily recognize when it’s occurring.
Treatment for Endometriosis in Jacksonville Beach
For women living with endometriosis, the pain and symptoms they experience can have a drastic negative impact on their quality of life. If you suspect you may be suffering from endometriosis symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your particular symptoms and concerns, as well as treatment options. At North Florida Ob-Gyn of Jacksonville Beach, our focus is to provide all patients with comprehensive state of the art gynecologic and obstetrical care throughout every phase of life across Northeast Florida. If you are experiencing endometriosis symptoms, please contact our team of physicians today.