Ovulation Pain & Endometriosis: Symptoms, Treatment
One in five women experiences ovulation pain. Sometimes, ovulation pain can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. One of the medical conditions that can cause ovulation pain is endometriosis.
We’re going to talk about endometriosis and pain during ovulation in depth. Let’s start with:
- Why endometriosis causes ovulation pain
- How it differentiate from ovulation pain
- How to survive the endometriosis ovulation pain
This article will help you better understand the pain you are experiencing during ovulation.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a medical condition that causes tissue similar to the uterus’ lining to grow on other anatomic structures. Endometriosis is often located in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus (womb). Endometriosis is one of the most common causes of pelvic pain and infertility in women.
Endometriosis affects one in nine Australian women. Not all women with endometriosis have debilitating pain, and others may not even realize that they have it.
Endometriosis pain often increases during menstruation, though sometimes it can be present at other times in the month. It can also occur with other symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
What Are The Stages of Endometriosis?
There are different ways to measure the severity of endometriosis. The most widely used scale for measuring endometriosis’s severity is from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. Doctors will assign your endometriosis a score based on the spread of the tissue, its depth, and location.
Based on these results and the fact that this condition is usually chronic, the condition is classified in one of four stages:
Stage 1: Endometriosis can develop during or after your period. Sometimes the endometrium is in a small number of places, and at other times they can be in one or more locations on your ovaries, fallopian tubes, or the tissue around them. You might also have scarring (adhesions) inside the pelvis. If you have endometriosis without signs of scarring, it’s called “mild” endometriosis.
Stage 2: The endometrial implants/lesions are larger, and there may be some scar tissue. These lesions/implants can be found in your organs or lining your uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, pelvic/abdominal tissues, or the spaces between these. Stage II lesions/implants may also occur on the ligaments that connect your uterus to your other pelvic organs.
Stage 3: Endometriosis can spread throughout the pelvis. Deep fibrosis occurs, making it harder to pass a fallopian tube through the narrow opening in the pelvis. You may also have small growths called cysts on one or both ovaries. The ovaries also can develop fibrous tissue, which can cause further pain. Adhesions, or bands of scar tissue, may also develop, which cause pain and swelling, block organs and nerves from moving as they are designed to do, or form a web of attachments between different parts of the pelvis.
Stage 4: Endometriosis is the most severe stage and the hardest to diagnose because it is practically impossible to see the disease without surgery. In this stage, there are a lot of lesions and adhesions in the ovaries along with deep endometrium on the pelvic lining and ovaries. Plus, the tissue has metastasized (spread) to other anatomical organs as well. Often women with stage 4 will have been on a long journey to a diagnosis and have become quite ill.
Endometriosis can go from one stage to the next over time. That’s because it is not progressive in every woman suffering from it. As we mentioned earlier, it tends to follow a predictable pattern in some women, but that doesn’t mean every woman follows the same course.
For example, endometriosis may stay the same over time for a woman if her symptoms are mild enough and she has a low level of pelvic inflammation or other factors.
Can endometriosis cause ovulation pain?
If the endometriosis involves the ovaries, it can cause agonizing pain as you ovulate each month. The symptoms of ovulation pain are severe cramping or pelvic pain that typically begins in the lower abdomen and slowly spreads to the back and thighs.
The ovaries are the female reproductive organs that produce eggs through a process called ovulation. Ovulation pain occurs in many women due to high estrogen levels and is caused by the breakdown of endometrial tissue surrounding the uterus. If this tissue is left behind on the ovaries, it can cause a condition called adhesions that attach various organs to each other.
Painful chocolate cysts ( non-cancerous cysts that typically form deep within the ovaries) can develop on the ovaries and fallopian tubes due to these scars and can cause more severe pain during ovulation.
If you experience painful ovulation, you should consider visiting your health care provider.
How to know if your ovulation pain is due to endometriosis
The most common symptoms that separate endometriosis from other kinds of pain are these:
- If you feel pain in your pelvis for longer than two days, seek medical attention.
- Pain that causes vomiting or diarrhea
- Abnormal bleeding around the time of ovulation is a common symptom of endometriosis
- Symptoms are mild and debilitating only at the beginning of each period.
- You may suffer from pain in your bladder or pelvis during urination.
- chronic fatigue
- Constipation, diarrhea, and shooting rectal pain.
For most women suffering from endometriosis, pain during ovulation is caused by uterine tissue growing outside the uterus. The tissue that lines a woman’s uterus may attach to other organs in the pelvic cavity, resulting in painful symptoms during ovulation. Endometrial tissue may grow and develop outside the uterus, or it may remain confined inside your abdomen.
The severity of the pain that you experience is not related to the severity of your endometriosis. Some women with endometriosis experience severe pain during ovulation, while others have no symptoms at all!
Some of the causes of endometriosis-related ovulation pain include:
- Adhesions occur when scar tissue forms around organs.
- Endometriosis implants block your fallopian tubes.
- Sometimes, large endometriomas burst, releasing menstrual blood into the abdominal cavity, causing severe pain.
Could my pain be from normal ovulation?
Because all pain is relative, not every case of ovulation pain is considered abnormal. Some women experience mild pain as a normal indication that ovulation has occurred.
Normal ovulation pain can be described as:
- Pain during ovulation is usually felt in your lower abdomen, right above the hip joint.
- The pain often occurs on the side of the body, where the egg releases during the menstrual cycle.
- Pain occurs two weeks before the next period is due.
- The pain can persist for up to 48 hours.
- The pain is not severe and does not cause nausea or other symptoms.
When to seek professional help:
If you suspect your ovulation pain may be due to endometriosis, schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN. Your doctor will be able to evaluate your symptoms to tell you if endometriosis is likely.
The only definitive way to diagnose endometriosis is through a surgical procedure. Laparoscopic surgery offers the ability to treat endometriosis and diagnose it simultaneously.
During this procedure, a tube is inserted through small incisions into the abdomen and used to find the endometrial implants. The surgeon then uses specific tools to eradicate the endometriosis tissue.
There is no cure for endometriosis, but there are medications and surgical procedures that can alleviate your symptoms. Birth control pills are one way to manage endometriosis pain. The hormones in the pills prevent you from ovulating to prevent endometriosis pain.
You can also do things at home to help you cope with endometriosis, such as:
- Lying in a warm bath or using a heating pad, self-heating patches, or hot water bottle,
- Taking warm baths with Epsom salts or essential oils, such as lavender and chamomile, is a natural way
- A TENS machine sends electrical impulses to your nerves to block them from sending pain signals to your brain.
When you’ve got a medical problem, it’s vital to seek professional help. You can get a referral from your primary care. You can have a physical exam and lab tests done to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. If you suspect that you have endometriosis, your doctor may request that you see a specialist.