Endometriosis is well known, especially by the sufferer, to cause a myriad of symptoms. Apart from the obvious pelvic pain, gastrointestinal symptoms appear to be the next most common. This can often lead a patient with endometriosis to think that maybe the disease is present on the bowel.
A new study has been published recently that may allay some of those fears though. A paper published in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. This study found 290 women with endometriosis of which 90% had gastrointestinal symptoms. The most common symptom was bloating. Of the 290 women, only 7.6% actually endometriosis on the bowel which is a surprisingly small number. Of course this raises the problem of why, if there is no endometriosis on the bowel, do patients experience bowel problems? I don’t have the answer myself and I can only theorise upon what it might be. It could be that adhesions, a separate entity to endometriosis, are present on the bowel which may cause problems. It could be that problems with the immune system that are often present in women with endometriosis, play a role in altering the function of the bowel. It still remains a bit of a mystery.
Oh and it will probably come as no surprise to any of you that 76 of the aforementioned women were originally misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome.