Most women live in pain for years before they are eventually diagnosed with endometriosis. It’s an invisible disease that affects 15% of women and causes symptoms like pelvic pain, pain with urination, pain with bowel movements, irritable bowel symptoms, back pain, leg pain and chronic fatigue. Women living with endometriosis are also likely to suffer from mental health problems like depression and anxiety.
Your Endometriosis Diagnosis
If you’ve been living in pain for years, finally being diagnosed with endometriosis can be a relief. No, you are not a complainer. No, your symptoms were not all in your head. You are living with a real disease that greatly impacts your quality of life.
Did you know that there are types of endometriosis? Once you’ve been diagnosed, you need to talk to your doctor about what type of endometriosis you have. Knowing the details about your endometriosis will not only help you make informed decisions about your treatment, but having as much knowledge as you can about your disease will help you feel empowered.
This label can be misleading — superficial endometriosis can be painful. It’s called superficial because the endometrial lesions don’t have much mass. They are hard to see on sonogram and can usually only be detected with a laparoscope. The lesions are usually about 1-2 cm wide and can be red, blue or black. Red lesions are thought to be more active. Superficial lesions may be surrounded by a white area that indicates scarring.
Deep Infiltrating Endometriosis
Deep endometriosis is rare and is thought to be the most painful type of endometriosis. In this type of endometriosis, the lesions penetrate the bowel, bladder and vagina 5 mm or more. It is even possible for deep lesions to penetrate the sciatic and obturator nerves, causing debilitating pain.
Ovarian Endometriotic Cysts
These cysts are also called chocolate cysts because the brown, bloody fluid that fills the cysts looks like soft chocolate. These cysts are usually 3-4 cm in diameter but can grow up to 15 cm in the most rare cases. Chocolate cysts are often associated with infertility.
Treatment for Endometriosis
If you’ve been told you have endometriosis, but aren’t sure what type, you may want a second opinion from a surgeon that can give you all the details about your condition. It’s time to get the treatment you deserve and stop living in pain from endometriosis.