Endometriosis is a gynecological disorder that causes uterine tissue (or uterine-like tissue) to appear in other places where it shouldn\u2019t be. Some common places where endometriosis can develops is in reproductive area such as the ovaries, and the pelvic area such as the bladder. Because uterine tissue grows and bleeds (like what it does during every menstrual cycle), having it anywhere else in your body causes severe inflammation and pain. Endometriosis is unfortunately genetic and incurable although treatments exist to manage the condition. One of the reasons why endometriosis is so hard to detect is because the symptoms vary between different women. Some may not even experience any symptoms at all. But if you do notice the following signs, it may time to get yourself to the doctor. Period Cramps Normal period cramps will usually be manageable and are annoying at best. But endometriosis pain will usually leave you debilitated for hours if not days. The pain is significantly more severe than a regular period cramp. Moreover, period cramps are caused by muscular contractions of the uterine wall from the action of reproductive hormones. The cramping you get from endometriosis is a result of inflammation in areas outside the uterus such as the pelvic cavity, bowel or bladder. While period cramps may only attack in the lower abdomen, endometriosis pain can send waves of pain across multiple areas of your pelvis. Heavy Periods Excessive bleeding during your menses is one of the tell-tale signs of endometriosis. If you find that you\u2019re soaking through your pad or tampon every month, then you may need to get checked. Another thing about makes endometriosis different from regular menstrual bleeding is that you may get a heavy flow even when you\u2019re not on your period. This is called intermenstrual bleeding. While bleeding between periods is not always as sign of endometriosis, it may be a symptom of something else. So it would be wise to go to the doctor regardless. Prolonged Periods Aside from heavy flow, endometriosis also causes longer periods. A typical woman will usually experience 3-5 days of bleeding during their menses. But someone with endometriosis may experience a week or more of bleeding if they have the condition. While some women do experience longer periods, if it happens too frequently or every month then it may be something more serious. Painful Bowel Movement Inflammatory endometrial tissue may spread far beyond the uterus into the bowel walls, causing painful bowel movements. People with endometriosis may experience difficulty when going to the toilet for this reason. If you experience any kind of pain at all when passing waste, immediately get yourself checked. But pain isn\u2019t the only thing you should watch out for. Constipation, diarrhoea, or loose, watery stools and other irregular bowel activity may also be a sign. Painful Urination If the endometrial cells have invaded your bladder, you may experience some urination problems as well. This can result in painful urinations, frequent urinations, bladder irritation, urgency to urinate and other similar symptoms. Painful Intercourse Pain during intercourse is not normal under any circumstances even if it\u2019s your first time. Endometriosis causes bleeding outside the womb, resulting in blood pooling in your body. This build-up of blood results in inflammation and internal scarring, which causes intense pain in the pelvic region. The pain alone prevents you from enjoying sex. Orgasms and arousal can quickly turn into a painful nightmare if you suffer from endometriosis. It may greatly affect your love life and marriage as well if left untreated. Fatigue and Nausea Endometriosis results in a build up of diseased tissue in your body, leading to the release of the chemical cytokines. This chemical is what\u2019s responsible for the sense of fatigue you may have. Endometriosis may also cause nausea, usually as a result lesions on your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. You may also find this symptom worsening during your periods due to menstrual cramps which raises the levels of prostaglandins in your bloodstream. Because endometriosis worsens menstrual cramps, you may be feeling more severe nausea than you normally would if you don\u2019t have the condition. Difficulty Conceiving If you\u2019re currently trying to have a baby but have not had much success, endometriosis may be the culprit. The reason endometriosis is so dangerous for a woman\u2019s gynecological health is because it damages your reproductive system. Inflammation, scarring, altered immune function, hormonal changes and distorted pelvic anatomy are just some of the ways that endometriosis prevents you from conceiving. It is estimated that 30-40% of women with endometriosis may not be able to have children. Which is all the more reason to get yourself checked if you\u2019re of childbearing age. Infertility may be a symptom of other conditions, but endometriosis is definitely on the list, even if the other symptoms are absent. Hip, Back and Leg Pain Sometimes endometriosis may cause hip, back and\/or leg pain. The inflamed tissue may damage surrounding nerves, which determines where you feel the pain. But it is only usually located around the pelvic area, your lower abdomen, buttocks, hip and inner thigh. More severe cases would have the pain radiate out into your lower back and down your leg. Any of these symptoms can be a sign that you have endometriosis. Difficulty Breathing Another rare symptom of endometriosis is diaphragmatic endometriosis. This is where uterine tissues grow in the area around your diaphragm, leading to pain in the chest, neck and shoulders. The pain may result in difficulty breathing and even in some rare cases cough up blood. Just like all the other previous signs, this symptom gets worse the close your get to your period. Address The Pain and The Problem If you suspect you may be suffering from endometriosis, quickly go for a screening. Some ways that doctors perform an endometriosis screening include a pelvic exam, ultrasound, MRI and laparoscopy. If you are indeed diagnosed with it, there are plenty of options that can help you address the condition including surgery, hormones and pain management. However it\u2019s not a one size fits all situation; different women may need different kinds of treatment than others. There may not be a cure for endometriosis but with the right medical care you\u2019re on your way to living your very best life for many years to come. For more insightful stories and fun recipes, stay tuned to Motherhood Story!