Ovarian Endometriosis at 20x Magnification
Some cases of endometriosis are asymptomatic and are only discovered when other problems arise. In others, pain associated with the condition can be severe. For some patients pelvic pain is chronic, while others may only experience pain during sexual intercourse, menstruation, bowel movements, or urination. Endometriosis tends to cause pain because of the nature of endometrial tissue, which produces chemical secretions as part of the reproductive cycle in order that it can thicken during parts of the month and then break down into blood and tissue components before being shed from the body. Even when it is located outside of the uterus, endometrial tissue attempts to maintain its normal activities and, consequently, the chemicals it secretes can irritate adjacent tissues, resulting in pain. Similarly, since in many cases misplaced endometrial materials have no way to vacate the body, fluid may accumulate into cysts or nodules may form in the area of endometriosis. When endometriosis affects certain parts of the body, such as the rectum or the urinary tract, irregular bleeding may become noticeable.