Importantly, while endometriosis is associated with a range of symptoms the most common endometriosis symptom is chronic pelvic pain. You do not have to experience all of these symptoms to have endometriosis. If you are experiencing debilitating pelvic pain this is not normal. It is your body’s way of communicating that something is wrong and you should seek the help of a doctor who is familiar with treating endometriosis and pelvic pain.
“How do endometriosis symptoms differ between patients?”
While some patients are relatively symptom-free except for certain times of their cycles (menstruation and ovulation), others are debilitated by pain each and every day of the month. Many women experience a gradual worsening of symptoms over time, both in severity and in the duration of symptoms i.e., the number of days per month they are affected. A common myth is that endometriosis only affects a woman during her period – while this may be the case for some women, for most patients the pain affects them both during and outside their period.
“Is endometriosis “just” killer cramps?”
“What is the impact of these symptoms on a woman’s life?”
Endometriosis symptoms can be truly devastating. They can impact upon all areas of a woman’s life rendering her unable to function.
Teenagers with endometriosis may find that they are forced to miss one or more days of school each month. Those who work may find they are struggling to hold down a job due to the need to take leave on a regular basis for severe pelvic pain. Non-prescription pain medications may fail to alleviate the pain and prescription pain medications may only offer partial relief. Maintaining a sexual relationship may be difficult if not impossible due to severe pain during sex. Pelvic pain may interfere with social events and plans and may prevent a woman from partaking in physical exercise. Understandably, over time the symptoms of endometriosis can lead to social isolation, financial difficulties, relationship breakdown, and severe emotional distress. Clearly, it is a disease that needs to be taken very seriously and treated effectively as soon as possible to restore a woman’s quality of life.
If, after reading about endometriosis symptoms, you think you may be suffering from endometriosis, don’t suffer in silence. Take your symptoms seriously and talk with your doctor.