Bowel Endometriosis

Written by Amy Hall
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Bowel endometriosis is oftentimes mistaken for Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Spastic Colon, as the symptoms of all three conditions can be similar. However, bowel endometriosis results from the scar tissue and adhesions that form inside the intestinal tract, causing pain associated with the bowel. When endometriosis progresses without treatment, other organs aside from the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and pelvic ligaments can succumb to problems from this disease.

Women with bowel endometriosis will report symptoms such as: constipation, intestinal cramping, painful bowel movements, diarrhea, rectal pain, abdominal pain, and/or nausea and vomiting. One woman may experience all of these symptoms, while another woman may only suffer from one. The majority of women report the symptoms as being worse during their periods or the week prior to menstruation.

It is important to understand that endometriosis that is not directly located on the bowel can still cause bowel symptoms. Sometimes adhesions cause the bowel to become stuck to other organs, such as the ovaries, uterus, or pelvic sidewall. It is this scaring that can cause painful bowel movements, diarrhea, constipation, or intestinal cramping. Treating the adhesions can dramatically reduce the symptoms and the pain, and the chosen course of treatment is typically surgery with prescription medications for pain management.

Living with Bowel Endometriosis

The majority of women experience a complete cessation of symptoms after surgery, though some will continue to suffer from diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal cramping. In these cases, the symptoms are usually felt to a lesser degree and medication can often help alleviate some of the pain. If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis and you experience any type of bowel-related pain, ask your doctor to perform additional testing to determine the extent of the damage. You do have options and you should never accept suffering in silence as an option.

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