As an editor and as an endometriosis patient, one of the most frequent questions I hear is “What are the symptoms of endometriosis and what the bowel endometriosis symptoms are?” I have been through two surgeries, in 2014 and 2016, the last one involving a bowel resection due to a 4.5 cm nodule on the colon. That’s why many women diagnosed or not with endometriosis, want to know what the symptoms of bowel endometriosis are.
Below you will have some answers – from my experience, of course, but also from what I have read and talked to several doctors during the years.
â†ªï¸ What is endometriosis and what are its most common symptoms?
Before proceeding, for those of you who don’t know much about endometriosis, I would like to go over the general definition and its most common symptoms.
Endometriosis represents the presence of endometrium similar tissue in other regions of the body. These lesions can cause cysts, nodules or endometriosis adhesions. The most common symptoms are pelvic pain, menstrual pain, heavy or/and irregular bleeding, pain on urinating, pain during intercourse etc.
â†ªï¸ Bowel endometriosis symptoms – how my journey began?
I have been dealing with pain and heavy period all my life, but at a certain moment, around the age of 27, I started experiencing chronic constipation. First, the laxatives were ok, but I started using them daily. After a while I realized these pills did not have any effect and, furthermore, gave me terrible pains.
First, I thought this was due to using them for too long, but then I realised it was more than that. I started researching on internet, I found a laxative brand that worked for me, that did not gave me those terrible pains, but after a while this did not work out for me either.
After several months or years I found (don’t remember how) Magnesium Citrate, that was a kind of life saver for me. Here you can read more about my experience with this mineral that acts as a soft laxative. With it, I could go to the bathroom without almost any pain.
â†ªï¸ For 5 years no doctor told me endometriosis implies complications on the bowel too
The first time I heard about endometriosis was at 27 years old. Long story short, after 5 years I went through my first surgery – during this time and not even before the surgery was not I informed of the fact that endometriosis affects also the bowel. It was just about the ovarian cysts which, in my case, were too small to explain the terrible pains.
â†ªï¸ Four months after my first surgery I read about bowel endometriosis for the first time
… And I was convinced this was my diagnosis too. On a Facebook group, a patient from Timisoara, Romania, said about her doctor, doctor Voicu Simedrea, who performed a very hard endometriosis surgery that implied the resection of an endometriosis nodule from the colon.
That was the moment I realised that was behind my pains and constipation problem. It followed another surgery in 2016, experience I detailed here, a hard recovery, but overall this was the best decision for me, the decision that brought my life back and even helped to feel better than ever. I mention I have been keeping a diet and taking supplemens since then, together with going to medical check ups every 8 months.
Therefore, my only bowel endometriosis symptoms were: pains (all kind of pains: during period, defecating etc.) and constipation.
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â†ªï¸ Bowel endometriosis symptoms
Except my experience, here are the bowel endometriosis symptoms, stated by different doctors and other patients:
âœ”ï¸ pains during defecating
âœ”ï¸ pains at period or outside the period
âœ”ï¸ alternation constipation-diarrhea
âœ”ï¸ blood in the stool
âœ”ï¸ bloating, nausea, dizziness
âœ”ï¸ gastro-intestinal problems
âœ”ï¸ no symptoms at all
Yes, you read well, in some cases bowel endometriosis may not give any symptoms, but still the endometriosis lesions/nodule to be present on the colon and to increase the risk of bowel obstruction.
â†ªï¸ How the bowel endometriosis is diagned?
Here, I will say how I was diagnosed, although I know in many countries, unfortunately, still there are many opinions that you need a laparscopy to diagnose endometriosis, whatever the type. Therefore, in my case, I was diagnosed with endometriosis, including bowel endometriosis when I was to my first medical consult to my dr, doctor Voicu Simedrea: we talked about my medical history and my symptoms, then he did a physical exam, then a vaginal ultrasound and after these three he already told me I have endometriosis on the bowel, with a big endometriosis nodule, so I was stage 4, and recommended me to have two important investigations in endometriosis: MRI with a protocol for endometriosis and a Hidro-Colo CT. Both investigations confirmed what my doctor told me in the first place.
â†ªï¸ What is to be done in this case?
Of course, I am not a doctor, but I can tell you what I did and what I consider to be a good approach in this respect.
First of all, look of a very good excision surgeon: a doctor who does almost only such operations and follow his guidelines. In addition, it would be a great idea to follow a diet and to work with a nutritionist. I then limited gluten, dairy, soy, alcohol and coffee and it was better.
I mention here I DO NOT BELIEVE you can cure bowel endometriosis only with diet and supplements. Of course, it may depend on your stage, but still, when you have a nodule or important endometriosis lesions on the colon, a surgery is a must have, at least in my opinion.
I hope this article was of use too, and I invite you to read some other articles about my endometriosis journey here.
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