The symptoms of endometriosis and ovarian cancer symptoms have some overlap, which is why some women with endometriosis worry about the risk of developing ovarian cancer. But before you jump to conclusions lets take a look at the symptoms of endometriosis versus ovarian cancer.
During your monthly period, your uterine wall is shed, and appears as bloody discharge. This is actually a remnant of the endometrium, a layer of muscle and blood designed to support an embryo. If the egg your body releases every month is not fertilized, hormones signal your uterus to shed the uterine lining.
For endometriosis sufferers, endometrial tissue similar to the uterus lining is found in areas outside of the uterus. This migrating endometrial tissue adheres to surrounding organs, causing inflammation and scar tissue to form, resulting in you feeling severe pain, usually at the same time as your menstrual cycle.
This rogue endometrial tissue not only effects the organs found in the pelvic cavity, but also can migrate and attach itself to the bladder, bowel, intestines and colon. In rare cases endometrial lesions have been found in the lungs, spine, and brain and on the skin.
Endometriosis, however, is not cancer.
Ovarian cancer, on the other hand, entails the formation of cysts on your ovaries. These cysts are often benign, and can be removed by surgery if they are detected early.
However, if they start moving to other parts of the body, ovarian cancer can become malignant.
Fluctuations or abnormalities in hormonal levels in your body most likely cause both endometriosis and ovarian cancer. According to studies, women with endometriosis are also more likely to develop ovarian cancer in their lifetime.
So, what are the symptoms of endometriosis?
Severe, disabling pain in the abdominal area that gets worse over time can be the first sign of endometriosis.
Other symptoms will include, but are not limited to:
abnormal or irregular menstrual cycles, including bleeding or spotting in between periods
painful bowel movements
painful sexual intercourse
heavy menstrual periods
back pain during menstruation
infertility or difficulty conceiving.
Compare these to the symptoms of ovarian cancer. Like endometriosis, women with ovarian cancer will experience pain, although this will manifest at first as a sense of heaviness in the pelvic area.
Other signs of ovarian cancer will include:
abnormal or irregular menstrual cycles
progressive but unexplainable back pain
increased weight gain around the abdomen
inexplicable weight gain or loss
loss of appetite
excessive or increased hair growth
increased fluids lining the lungs
sometimes even positive readings on pregnancy tests even if the affected woman is not pregnant.
Because the two illnesses are closely linked, the symptoms of endometriosis versus ovarian cancer can overlap. If you suspect that you have endometriosis or ovarian cancer, consult with your physician immediately. Read as much as you can, and do research on your condition, so that you are better informed on the therapy options available to you.