With silent endometriosis, individuals do not manifest any recognizable endometriosis signs or symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose. If you have unexplained infertility, pelvic pain, or frequent miscarriages, your doctor may recommend testing for endometriosis. Some cases of endometriosis can also be indicative of other underlying health conditions and autoimmune disorders.
Here is more information about how silent endometriosis can be a sign of other health issues:
What Is Silent Endometriosis?
Endometriosis occurs when the tissue uterine tissue lining grows outside of it and causes inflammation. This can cause pain during menstruation, sexual intercourse, and bowel movements. Women with endometriosis may also experience fatigue, nausea, and abdominal cramping. In the case of silent endometriosis, a woman does not present with the typical symptoms. Around 20-25% of women with endometriosis are asymptomatic. The presence of endometriosis may be discovered incidentally for these women when undergoing diagnostic tests for other gynecological issues, such as infertility or pelvic pain.
How to Detect Silent Endometriosis
Research suggests that unexplained infertility may be linked to asymptomatic endometriosis. If you are unable to get pregnant for a long time and cannot pinpoint the exact cause, ask your doctor to check for endometriosis. Your doctor can complete tests that may detect the presence of endometriosis, even if you aren’t presenting other symptoms.
Health Conditions Associated With Endometriosis
Silent endometriosis may be linked with various health conditions like autoimmune diseases, allergies, and chronic pain. Many of these correlating conditions involve the immune system targeting the body’s tissues. Here is more information on conditions associated with endometriosis:
Asthma and Allergies
Asthma is diagnosed when a patient experiences persistent coughing, wheezing, and breathing problems. An allergic reaction occurs in the nose, causing sneezing and congestion. About 61% of women with endometriosis have allergies, and 12% have asthma. If the woman has endometriosis and chronic fatigue, the probability of allergies can increase up to 88%.
The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism. Women with endometriosis may be seven times more likely to have hypothyroidism. This is when the thyroid gland is underactive. When hypothyroidism is an autoimmune illness, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland leading to inflammation.
Women with endometriosis may also be more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. This is an autoimmune disease where the body’s defense system mistakes healthy cells for bacteria. With rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the synovium causing inflammation. The joint tissue becomes painful and limits movement. Some women with rheumatoid arthritis can also experience fatigue and fever.
The chances of experiencing fibromyalgia and fatigue for women with endometriosis are two times higher than those without. Fibromyalgia results in recurrent pain in the joints, muscles, and tendons. It can cause anxiety, headaches, sleeping problems, and painful menstrual periods. These symptoms may be confused with those of endometriosis. In most cases, people with fibromyalgia and endometriosis can experience chronic fatigue.
Women with endometriosis may be more likely to develop lupus than those without it. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can cause joint pain, fatigue, and skin rashes. The body’s immune system destroys healthy tissues. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most prevalent form of lupus. It can cause sun sensitivity, skin rashes, joint inflammation, and hair loss.
Infertility and Silent Endometriosis
Various tests can be used to confirm an endometriosis diagnosis. In vitro fertilization (IVF) can be used to help those with asymptomatic endometriosis conceive if that is their goal. It involves retrieving eggs from the woman’s ovaries and fertilizing them outside the womb. The resulting embryos are then transferred into the woman’s uterus. IVF can often result in successful pregnancies for women with unexplained infertility.
Learn More About Silent Endometriosis
Early detection of silent endometriosis can make managing it easier. It can also improve fertility results among couples who have been unable to conceive. Endometriosis can be associated with autoimmune and chronic conditions such as lupus, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue. Contact a health professional to learn more about endometriosis and infertility.