Endometriosis affects up to 10% of reproductive-aged women in the United States, causing everything from painful periods to problems with infertility. Not as well-known are the side effects endometriosis can cause in the reproductive, gastrointestinal, and urinary tract systems.
Ulas Bozdogan, MD, of Advanced Endometriosis Center in New York City and Hackensack, New Jersey, specializes in treating endometriosis, and he understands the widespread impact this condition can have on other organs and systems located in the pelvic region.
To help you recognize when there might be a problem, here’s a look at how endometriosis can interfere with important functions in your body.
Endometriosis and your reproductive organs
Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial tissue grows outside of your uterus. That means this tissue can grow on any number of organs located in your pelvic region. In many cases, this tissue often grows on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, vagina, and the exterior support structures of the uterus.
While already problematic because of the misplacement of this tissue, this tissue also acts as if it was inside your uterus, thickening with each menstrual cycle. Since you’re unable to shed the tissue out as you normally would through your period, it can turn into adhesions and interfere with the functioning of your reproductive organs.
Endometriosis and your gastrointestinal tract
To make matters worse, the tissue can go farther afield and attach itself to the walls of your bowel or along your rectum. Also called deep infiltrating endometriosis, this tissue can cause gastrointestinal issues, such as bloating and cramping.
More seriously, if this tissue becomes thick enough, it can lead to partial or complete bowel obstruction, which is a medical emergency. Another reason why this is an emergency situation is that if your bowel is perforated, contents can leak into your pelvic cavity and place you at great risk for developing peritonitis.
Endometriosis and your bladder
While rare, endometrial tissue can also grow on the outside of your bladder. In about 30% of cases, there are no symptoms. When symptoms do arise, they often present themselves at the time of menstruation and lead to the following:
- Frequent urges to urinate
- Blood in your urine
- Discomfort when your bladder is full
- Pelvic pain
If you experience bladder symptoms related to your periods, you should have us check for the possibility of bladder-related endometriosis.
Endometriosis and malignant transformation
Another concern when it comes to endometriosis is when this tissue forms a nodule that transforms into malignant tissue, which may occur in up to 1% of those who have endometriosis.
The bottom line is that if you experience any of these symptoms, you should come in so we can investigate. As one of the leading specialists in the field of endometriosis, Dr. Bozdogan understands the many faces of endometriosis and, more importantly, he has the expertise to remedy the problem using the latest techniques available, including robotic surgery.
If you have more questions about endometriosis-related issues, book an appointment online or over the phone with Advanced Endometriosis Center today.