Types of Endometriosis
There are three main types of endometriosis, based on where it is:
Superficial peritoneal lesion
This is the most common kind. You have lesions on your peritoneum, a thin film that lines your pelvic cavity.
Endometrioma (ovarian lesion)
These dark, fluid-filled cysts, also called chocolate cysts, form deep in your ovaries. They don’t respond well to treatment and can damage healthy tissue.
Deeply infiltrating endometriosis
This type grows under your peritoneum and can involve organs near your uterus, such as your bowels or bladder. About 1% to 5% of women with endometriosis have it.
The primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, often associated with menstrual periods. Although many experience cramping during their menstrual periods, those with endometriosis typically describe menstrual pain that’s far worse than usual. Pain also may increase over time.
Common signs and symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Painful menstrual cramps that may go into the abdomen (stomach) or lower back
- Pain during or after sex
- Diarrhea or constipation during a menstrual period
- Fatigue or low energy
- Heavy or irregular periods
- Pain with urination or bowel movements during a menstrual period
- Spotting or bleeding between menstrual periods
The severity of your pain may not be a reliable indicator of the extent of your condition. You could have mild endometriosis with severe pain, or you could have advanced endometriosis with little or no pain.
Hormonal options for suppressing endometriosis can include:
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) medications: This medication is actually used to stop the hormones that cause your menstrual cycle. This basically puts your reproductive system on hold as a way to relieve your pain.
Danazol (Danocrine®): This is another form of hormonal medication that stops the production of the hormones that cause you to have a period. While taking this medication for endometriosis symptoms, you may have the occasional menstrual period, or they might stop entirely.
With all of these medications, it’s important to note that your symptoms can come back if you stop taking the medication.