More than 6.5 million women in the United States have been diagnosed with endometriosis. It's painful and potentially disabling, and thanks to the stigma around menstruation, very few people are willing to share their experience.
Endometriosis is when the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus itself, and it can extend to pelvic organs, ovaries, the lining of the abdominal cavity and beyond. “We don't know exactly what causes it, but the theory is that menstrual blood, which goes out through the cervix, may be going through the fallopian tubes into the pelvic cavity instead.” Dr. Jacquelyn Stone, OB/GYN at Maven Digital Clinic said.
Standard endometriosis can cause intense menstrual cramps (called dysmenorrhea), pain during sex, fatigue, excessive bleeding, pressure and more, but silent endometriosis is harder to recognize and can even be asymptomatic. In fact, in a 2011 study, researchers found that a full 11 percent of surveyed women had the condition but were never diagnosed with it. In the absence of noticeable symptoms, doctors have called the condition “silent endometriosis” — something that's every bit as severe as its more vocal counterpart.
Often, this type of endometriosis is not diagnosed until it’s found during surgeries for other conditions, but if you know what to look for, you might be able to help your doctor spot it much sooner. Ahead are four subtle signs of silent endometriosis.
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