Before reading this article, we advise you to read the previous articles All about endo: episode 1: What is endometriosis? and Endometriosis, episode 2: The most common symptoms
The most well-known symptoms are pain during menstruation and during sexual intercourse, but unfortunately there are other symptoms, often normalized because they are unknown!
Discover the little-known symptoms of endometriosis, with this article, published in partnership with LUNA, the 1st FREE application to help diagnose and support people with endometriosis.
Unknown symptoms of endometriosis
Dyspareunia, or pain during sexual intercourse
However, being among the most frequent symptoms noted in patients affected by endometriosis, dyspareunia is felt during sexual intercourse and can also exist from the start of sexual life. They must disappear very quickly so as not to be linked to a pathology.
Dyspareunia can be superficial, during penetration, or deep, during sexual intercourse.
These pains can also persist after intercourse and be accompanied by other symptoms such as malaise. Dyspareunia is not considered normal, and can be explained by many pathologies, the first of which is endometriosis.
Unfortunately, this symptom is sometimes not easy to discuss with your partner or your doctor, being a source of suffering and still remaining taboo in 2022...! However, it is essential to talk about it, in order to assess its intensity and its impact on our intimacy and our sexuality.
Urinary pain and disorders
Bladder pain is often difficult to interpret: it can be triggered by urinating, having a full bladder or an empty bladder, or even being related to a frequent desire to empty the bladder. In addition, patients often speak of symptoms thinking of a urinary tract infection, or cystitis , but with a negative cytobacteriological examination of the urine (ECBU).
Many pathologies can explain this type of pain. However, the association of bladder pain with blood loss in the urine can strongly suggest the presence of endometriosis. The isolated or associated presence of pain such as renal colic and/or lumbar pain may suggest endometriosis of the ureter. Urinary urgency (or feeling of cystitis ) and very frequent urination are often symptoms noted during endometriosis or adenomyosis .
Disorders of the rectum , especially during defecation, by the presence of pain and bleeding, are very important symptoms to qualify to direct the diagnosis towards the presence of endometriosis.
In this situation, the complexity of the pelvic region and the proximity of the organs is such that these symptoms alone do not make it possible to determine the exact origin of the latter, nor to determine endometriosis. However, they must be announced by the patient to allow an improvement in the diagnosis of endometriosis.
And more rare and specific symptoms…
Sciatica, crural and/or vulvar pain
Sciatic, crural, vulvar pain , as well as certain motor and sensory deficits in the leg may be related to endometriosis affecting the nerves of the sacral and sciatic roots. The cyclical and menstrual nature of this type of pain should suggest an endometriotic origin. This situation is underestimated by the medical profession and yet is very frequently related to deep rectal endometriosis and endometriosis (side of the uterus).
Lower back pain
Lower back pain or lumbago , especially during the menstrual cycle, is often associated with endometriosis, and with even greater recurrence, with adenomyosis .
The particular nervous system of the uterus explains these lumbar and sacral pains, as well as the imbalance by intervertebral micro-displacements (osteopathic concept of imbalance of the spine causing vertebral blockages and lumbar pain).
Right shoulder pain
Endometriosis of the diaphragm will manifest as pain in the shoulder, in the majority of cases on the right side. These pains can radiate to the neck or arm. Epigastric pain may also be reported.
Diaphragmatic endometriosis concerns the thoracic side, with risks of pneumothorax and hemothorax, but can also involve the abdominal side.
Endometriosis can present as muscle and skeletal pain with no obvious cause. Fibromyalgia is a disorder of hyperexcitability of the nervous system which manifests itself by a set of pains in the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons, in all parts of the body. A woman with endometriosis would be 7 times more likely to also have fibromyalgia according to an American study . This same study also demonstrated a link between endometriosis and several autoimmune diseases, such as irritable bowel, allergies, or interstitial cystitis.
Umbilical pain or after a caesarean section
Umbilical endometriosis can cause umbilical pain associated with menstrual bleeding. After childbirth or a cesarean section, endometriosis can develop on the cesarean section scar or on the scar of an episiotomy. The symptomatology will associate pain and bleeding in these localizations.
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