Endometriosis is a common gynecological problem, where the endometrial lining of the uterus is found to be growing at locations other than within the uterus, causing various symptoms. Among the routinely noted symptoms, pain with endometriosis is the most common.
The chronically occurring pain with endometriosis can be severe enough to disrupt normal activities and negatively impact quality of life, so pain management is an important treatment factor for this disease.
Pain with endometriosis and when it occurs
The pain can occur at any time of the month, and not just during a woman’s monthly periods; which however, can be quite excruciating. Inflammation in the pelvic cavity can cause pain; equally ovulation can be painful.
Gastrointestinal disturbances caused by the condition can mean that bowel movement, urination and other physical activity can also cause pain. It can be a dragging pain with endometriosis that can radiate down the legs as well.
Location of Pain with endometriosis
The pain may be experienced on both sides of the pelvis, down the lower back, the rectal area and down the legs as well. Sometimes bladder pain and blood in the urine could also result.
Disrupted gastrointestinal functions can mean that there is also bowel pain due to endometriosis. Rupturing cysts could mean pain at other different locations.
Diagnosis of endometriosis
Many cases of pain with endometriosis do not get properly diagnosed in the initial stages, since many women chalk their pain down to ‘normal monthly pains’ and try to ignore it. A study has shown that it takes, on an average, about 8 years to diagnose pain with endometriosis correctly; so for a larger portion of time, the situation could be deteriorating without a woman taking informed steps to arrest the problem. Further the woman may continue to endure the pain thinking of it as ‘normal’ until such time as it grows to be unbearable.
The economic angle to pain with endometriosis
Studies have shown that for nearly 80% of women who suffer from the condition, the pain with endometriosis is severe enough to disrupt regular life and work. As many as 72% reported that the pain was extreme enough to interfere with their relationships; and as many as 63% reported to having painful intercourse.
Since pain with endometriosis is noted even in teens, a majority of girls under the age of 19 reported to having taken time off school because of the pain. The study found that the pain with endometriosis was severe enough that women needed to take about 54 days off work, resulting in income reduction, job loss, change of jobs and so on. This can have obvious economic consequences and can also have untold emotional costs.
The emotional pain with endometriosis
Probably an overlooked and under treated aspect of pain with endometriosis is the emotional kind that women suffer. There is the obvious emotional distress that comes from the disruption of the quality of life and the interference it can cause to relationships. Further there is the belief that it is somehow a woman’s lot to endure pain, which is why women sometimes choose not to draw attention to their suffering.