1) The blood that is shed from endo cells each month sears the surrounding "healthy" tissues that it comes into contact with;
2) Prostaglandins are produced by the rogue endo cells. These are chemicals that cause inflammation and thus pain;
3) Endo cells can contribute towards the formation of adhesions, which can bind organs together and pull them out of place.
Those are among the more common explanations as to how endo causes the chronic pelvic pain that many women feel.
Iny my journey, I've encountered many a health care professional, as many of the ladies in my support group have also had the displeasure of encountering, who do not believe that this pain is real. That this pain is nothing more than "period cramps" and that us women who suffer from the physical pain of endometriosis are just more "sensitive" towards what is normal for everyone woman to go through. I must say, with a hint of sarcasm here "So, the internal bruising that I get each month through the side of my torso when my period begins is normal and doesn't cause me any pain?". Uh huh, and I'll get a Lexus SUV this year for Mother's Day.
What makes the pain of this disease so mystifying to many in the medical community, at least I feel, is that there is no connection between the degree of severity of a woman's endometriosis and her pain levels. I have met many women who have had a "single spot" of endo found during their surgery and who have been more or less bedridden. And then I have encountered many other women, who fortunate for them, did not discover their severe degree of disease until they had an unrelated surgical procedure done, such as an appendectomy or a tubal ligation after they were done having children. I think that most people tend to think of pain in relation to the severity of the condition, which is a myth that desperately needs to be destroyed in this case.
I know that many out there will disagree with my next part on the concept of suffering, however what I want you to take away from it is not any of the religious background but the concept behind what is being said. I have spent quite awhile examining my own "religious" beliefs, and the best answer that I can come up with that fits for me and my views is Buddhism. Within the Buddhist writings there is a lot of mention of human suffering, which I have found helpful in getting me through some of the difficult parts of my battle.
In "The Art of Happiness" by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, he writes "But there is a difference between physical pain, which is a physiological response, and suffering, which is our mental and emotional response to the pain". He goes on to further ask "Can finding an underlying purpose and meaning behind our pain modify our attitude about it? And can a change in attitude lessen the degree to which we suffer when we get physically injured?".
I've suffered with this disease. Who wouldn't? The consistent and constant pain that many of us survive through daily. The discrimination that many of us continue to bravely face within our society. These are the things that suffering is made of! There have been times, especially during my rapid withdrawal from fentanyl (Duragesic patch) that I was seriously going to die. One of the things that has helped me to pull through is my desire to help other individuals learn more about this disease, to advocate for better treatment within the medical community and society at large, and to be able to help bring comfort to others who are living with this disease. I believe that I have found an underlying use for what I've been through; to be able to share my experiences with others in order to help them brings me a sense of relief from my own "suffering". It is the satisfaction of saying that I made a difference that makes all the difference in perspective for me and helps my mind to shift once more back from the state of suffering to the state of "living".
To His Holiness The Dalai Lama, yes I do believe that in finding some meaning and purpose in our experience can help to alleviate our state of suffering. It won't take away the physiological pain, it won't stop the disease from wrecking havoc, but it does help with our mindset and our attitude towards this experience in life in general.