Yes, endometriosis can cause symptoms very similar to IBS! I have severe endometriosis, which causes me to have horrible GI problems. Many women with endometriosis deal with IBS symptoms. When endo lesions are located on the bowel, they can cause cramping and diarrhea. Also, adhesions are a common complication of endometriosis, and they can also cause many GI problems.
The only definitive test for endometriosis is a laparoscopy, in which they insert a tiny camera through your belly button and look around. If you have an ovarian cyst due to the endometriosis (called endometriomas), they can detect them with an ultrasound. For the most part, however, the endo lesions cannot be seen with the ultrasound. Also, gynecologists can sometimes determine if you may have endo through a pelvic exam. The uterus can become retroverted (pulled backward) because of the adhesions, and they can also detect this through the pelvic exam.
I would definitely recommend talking to your OB/GYN about the possibility of endometriosis. Some of the other symptoms of endo are chronic pelvic pain that may increase at the time of menstruation and abdominal bloating. A good website that talks about endometriosis is www.endometriosisassn.org.
I hope this helps some, and please keep me updated. Also, if you have any questions, let me know. Good luck, and I'll be thinking of you.
Take good care,
Hi again, Sophie.
I agree with an earlier post that it is vital to find a doctor that either specializes in endometriosis or has a strong interest in it. Regular OB/GYNs are adequate in treating the disease, but in my experience, the best care comes from specialists.
I have a friend that recently had a laparoscopy because she was experiencing chronic pelvic pain. Her regular OB/GYN performed the surgery. He found some endometriosis lesions, but rather than removing them, he just left them and advised her after surgery to take Lupron shots. To anyone familiar with endometriosis, Lupron is an incredibly powerful drug with dangerous side-effects. It baffles me that her doctor did not remove her lesions. I feel that she would have received some relief from her pain if he had removed her endometriosis.
New advances have been made in the treatment of endometriosis, including refined surgical techniques. In previous years, surgeons used to just burn the endometriosis lesions with a laser. Researchers found, however, that burning lesions is ineffective because it does not completely remove all of the endo. Now, surgeons that specialize in endo excise (cut out) the lesions rather than burn them. This techniques has proven to be much more effective. Many regular OB/GYNs continue to burn the endometriosis, or just leave it in the patient, as what happened to my friend.
When you see your OB/GYN, I would definitely ask if he/she thinks you may have endo. If a laparoscopy is recommended, ask what surgical technique is used - burning or excision. Good luck, and keep us updated!