Endometriosis — Troubles Beyond Painful Periods

If you’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis, painful periods are probably no news to you. In fact, discomfort during your menstrual cycle is one of the most common and troubling symptoms of this condition. But did you know that endometriosis can lead to other health issues? Heather Hilkowitz, MD, Hilltop Obstetrics & Gynecology talks about health problems that can result from endometriosis.

Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

What health problems can result from endometriosis?

Endometriosis can cause a variety of different health problems which range from mild to much more severe depending on the patient. Everywoman is unique and some don't have as many problems as others. Probably the most concerning is dealing with pain associated with endometriosis both before and during a woman’s cycle. This can happen variable different times of the month for some patients it's not just related to the menstrual cycle but is pain at other times where sometimes pain related to intercourse either before or after. Aside from the pain and discomfort one of the more concerning health problems associated with endometriosis can be infertility. This can come from endometriosis itself or from scarring which can happen as a result of the endometriosis over time. In more rare situations women can get growths on their ovaries called endometriomas or they can have problems with endometriosis and planting on their bowel or bladder which can cause problems as far as urination and having bowel movements later. In exceptionally rare cases endometriosis can even be found in tissues that are far away from the pelvis like the lung.

 

Watch Out for These Health Problems

Dr. Hilkowitz explains, “Endometriosis can cause a variety of different health problems, which range from mild to much more severe, depending on the patient. Probably the most concerning is dealing with pain associated with endometriosis both before and during a woman’s menstrual cycle.” But the impact of endometriosis doesn’t stop there.

Did you know that endometriosis can lead to other health issues?

Other common health concerns include:

  • Infertility: Endometriosis can cause scarring, making it harder to get conceive. Keep in mind different treatment options exist to help you improve your chances of getting pregnant.
  • Stomach problems: Endometriosis can trigger digestive issues like diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, especially when you have your period.
  • Difficulty with urination and bowel movements: Endometriosis can grow on the bladder or bowel, causing problems.
  • Painful sex: Endometriosis can make sexual intercourse painful, or trigger pain after.

The impact of endometriosis on heart disease risk is inconclusive, Dr. Hilkowitz says. “Emerging research shows that more invasive treatment for endometriosis, such as removal of both ovaries, may accelerate the development of heart disease. Therefore, much work is being done in the field to find less invasive treatments which help mediate this risk.”Endometriosis — Troubles Beyond Painful Periods - In Content  

Learn more about medical therapies and surgical options for endometriosis.

Heather L. Hilkowitz, MD

Heather L. Hilkowitz, MD

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Small Steps: Pay attention to those cramps.
If you’re having severe, regular pain with your menstrual periods, see your doctor or health care provider. The pain and cramping could signal endometriosis.