Breaking News
More () »

Wear The Gown: Recognizing the signs of the often very painful endometriosis

The disease is known to affect at least 1 in 10 women.

SAN ANTONIO — Premenstrual syndrome is just one of the many things that come along with being a woman. But endometriosis is when glandular tissue that belongs inside the uterus is found outside. And for many women it can be extremely painful.

"Pain should not limit your ability to live a normal life, participate in activities, and that there are things that we can do to help," said Dr. Anne Porter who is an obstetrician and gynecologist with University Health and an assistant professor with UT Health San Antonio. She says the disease isn't just about physical pain. She told us, "Endometriosis can be associated with both an increase in depression and anxiety. And of course, the stress of painful periods can cause some negative mood symptoms in itself." 

Some of the risk factors of endometriosis are women who have never given birth, started their period at an early age, women who have gone through menopause late, women with short and/or heavy menstrual cycles, and those with high levels of estrogen. Dr. Porter added, "Family history influences a patient's risk of developing endometriosis. If you have a first degree relative, you're about seven times more likely to have endometriosis."

Endometriosis affects about one in ten women. But that is a rough estimate. However, when women report pelvic pain or fertility issues endometriosis is found about 50 percent of the time. When it occurs the tissue that belongs inside the uterus can be implanted on tissues that covers organs in the pelvis such as the ovaries and the fallopian tubes. Dr. Porter said, "Sometimes implants on the bowel, bladder and can be found really actually anywhere in the body."  

Some of the symptoms of endometriosis include painful periods, pain with intercourse, pain during bowel movements or urination, excessive bleeding, and also infertility. Dr. Porter told us, "It can affect the fallopian tubes, it can affect egg quality, and it can affect implantation."

Dr. Porter also says the disease can also come along with other organ dysfunction so any woman developing pelvic pain should see a specialist as soon as possible. 

If you would like to see more of our Wear The Gown stories just head to our website

Before You Leave, Check This Out