Can Endometriosis Grow In The Bowels?
The quick answer is yes, endometriosis can grow in the bowels. This doesn't happen very often, but certainly is possible.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where the endometrium, the tissue that lines the uterus, is also found outside the uterus. The endometrium during your menstrual cycle thickens to prepare for the egg. If the egg is fertilized, the endometrium acts as a support while the egg grows. If the egg is not fertilized, it is flushed from the body along with the endometrium; this if your period. That said, when the endometrium is also found outside the uterus, a very common condition, it too breaks down and "bleeds" just like it would inside the uterus. The bleeding can irritate surrounding areas and can cause implants, or build-ups of scar tissue or cysts. The cysts can be painful, especially during menstruation or sexual intercourse. Occasionally cysts on the ovaries can make it difficult to become pregnant.
Where In My Body Can Endometriosis Occur?
Endometriosis can be found virtually anywhere in the body. Most commonly it is located in the pelvis, on the ovaries, around the uterus and yes, around the bowels and bladder. It may grow inside the bowels as well, though this is uncommon. Very rarely endometriosis may be found in the lungs or elsewhere in the body.
Symptoms of Endometriosis in the Bowels
If endometriosis is inside the bowels, a number of problems may arise. The bowels are the most common non-reproductive organ to be affected by endometriosis. When the endometriosis occurs on the exterior of the bowels, symptoms are minor, including nausea, bloating and loose stools during menstruation. If the endometriosis is inside the walls of the bowels, symptoms may be much more severe and may include rectal bleeding during menstruation.
What Treatment Will I Need?
Most commonly, a doctor will perform laparoscopic laser surgery on your bowels through a small incision. If a portion of the bowel is affected, it may need to be removed. Your doctor may need to work with an urologist or a thoracic surgeon if the endometriosis is found in the bladder or lungs. There is no non-surgical treatment of invasive bowel endometriosis. Birth control pills and other hormones may slow the growth of the endometriosis, but cannot fully prevent growth in the bowels or elsewhere. Endometriosis can be a painful condition to live with and is only aggravated during menstruation. Be sure to seek the advice of your doctor, especially if you notice blood in your stool, as this is a usually sign of a serious condition.