Health + Wellness

Can Endometriosis Affect Your Bowel Movements?

bowel endometriosis

While it’s typical for endometrial tissue to spread outside of the uterus when you have endometriosis, there are times when the tissue travels to different areas of the body. If it starts to grow in the bowels, then you have a condition known as bowel endometriosis. This kind of endometriosis often causes symptoms that might not be recognized for what it is so it’s good to know what to look for. 

The Symptoms Of Bowel Endometriosis

In bowel endometriosis, the abnormal tissue can either be superficial or deep. The superficial tissue is only on the surface while deep tissue passes through the bowel wall. Though the tissue tends to grow slowly, it can get large if it takes a long time for it to be found. Depending on where the tissue is located and the size of it, your symptoms can vary.

However, some of the symptoms you can experience include bloating, constipation, stomach pain, pain during bowel movements, unexplained menstrual discomfort, pain during sex, pain in the lower back, and rectal bleeding while menstruating. In rare situations, you may develop a blocked bowel.

Given that this condition affects the bowel, it’s common to confuse it for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), appendicitis, and Crohn’s disease. However, the main difference is that the symptoms of bowel endometriosis get worse before and during menstruation. 

How The Condition Is Diagnosed

A diagnosis of bowel endometriosis starts with getting your medical history and getting the details of your symptoms. The next step is to examine your pelvic area for the presence of abnormal tissue or cysts.

Sometimes, they may suggest imaging tests like ultrasounds, X-rays, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) to identify tissue damage as well as the size and location of any cysts. These tests will focus on the vagina and rectum. 

In some cases, your doctor might request a laparoscopy. In this procedure, a laparoscope is inserted through a small incision near your belly button so a surgeon can see what’s going on in your bowels. If there are lesions, your surgeon may opt to remove them using the same procedure. 

RELATED: Changes to Your Stool: What You Need to Know

How Doctors Treat Bowel Endometriosis

The most common treatment for bowel endometriosis is surgery. Since there are different types of surgery, your doctor will determine which one will work best for you based on the size and location of the endometrial tissue.

For example, a segmental bowel resection can remove the affected part of the bowel and then reconnect the

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