Endometriosis Symptoms & Causes

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What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

Endometriosis can be mild, moderate or severe. Some women experience no symptoms at all, but it tends to get worse over time. If your daughter has endometriosis, she could be experiencing:

  • painful periods (dysmennorhea)
    • Pelvic pain may include lower back and abdominal pain.
    • The level of pain may not match the severity of the endometriosis.
    • Some women have mild endometriosis and severe pain, while others have a lot of endometriosis and little pain.
  • chronic pelvic pain
    • Pain may be accompanied by frequent urination, diarrhea or constipation.
  • excessive bleeding or bleeding between periods
  • infertility
    • Sometimes endometriosis is only diagnosed when a women is seeking infertility treatment.

What causes endometriosis?

The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown, although we do know that it runs in families. The three most accepted theories of endometriosis are:

  • Sampson's Theory: Menstrual blood filled with endometrial cells flows backward through the fallopian tubes and attaches to other surfaces outside the uterus.
  • Meyer's Theory: Cells with the potential to become endometrial cells are present in the abdomen at birth, but don't change into endometrial cells until later in a woman's life.
  • Vascular Theory: The endometrial tissue travels through the blood vessels to other tissues. It implants and grows, just as metastasizing cancer cells do. (Endometrial cells have no more chance of becoming cancerous than any other cell.)

How will endometriosis impact my daughter's fertility?

Endometriosis can lead to infertility, and 30 to 40 percent of women with endometriosis are infertile. However, there are successful fertility treatments for women with newly discovered endometriosis, and early treatment during adolescence can prevent infertility.

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