Whereas endometriosis is a typical situation, affecting as many as one in each 10 American ladies, it’s complicated and infrequently misunderstood. Endometriosis happens when tissue very similar to the tissue that usually traces the uterus — referred to as the endometrium — begins to develop elsewhere within the physique. These growths might trigger ache, scarring, and, in some situations, infertility.
One research exhibits it will probably take as much as seven years for a lady to get a analysis of endometriosis as a result of signs might mimic different widespread circumstances, reminiscent of irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory illness. And misconceptions in regards to the illness, together with the 5 myths beneath, might maintain some ladies from looking for assist. Discuss to your well being care staff if you happen to’re involved about painful intervals or different doable symptoms of endometriosis, reminiscent of long-lasting ache in your decrease again or pelvis.
5 myths — and the info — about endometriosis
Fable 1: The signs are only a heavy interval. Girls with endometriosis generally assume that their signs are a traditional a part of menstruation, and after they do search assist they’re generally dismissed as overreacting to regular menstrual signs. However in reality, one thing rather more critical is occurring than interval cramps. One concept is that the ache happens as a result of even when endometrium-like tissue is exterior the uterus, it continues to reply to hormonal indicators and produce chemical substances that trigger irritation and ache.
In the course of the course of the menstrual cycle, this endometrium-like tissue thickens and finally bleeds. However not like endometrial tissue within the uterus, which is ready to drain by way of the vagina every month, blood from displaced tissue has nowhere to go. As an alternative, it swimming pools close to the affected organs and tissues, irritating and inflaming them. The result’s ache, and generally the event of scar tissue that may type an internet, fusing organs collectively. This may increasingly result in ache with motion or sexual exercise.
Fable 2: Endometriosis solely impacts the pelvic area. The commonest areas for endometriosis growths to happen are inside the pelvis, reminiscent of on the outer floor of the uterus, the bladder, and the fallopian tubes. However endometriosis might happen anyplace within the physique. Hardly ever, endometrium-like tissue has been discovered within the lungs, for instance.
Fable 3: Endometriosis is all the time painful. Not everybody with endometriosis experiences ache. It’s not unusual for a lady to study she has endometriosis solely after she begins investigating why she is having problem getting pregnant. Endometriosis is the main explanation for infertility in america. Having the situation additionally will increase the chance of miscarriage and different issues in being pregnant. Nevertheless, the excellent news is that the overwhelming majority of girls with endometriosis are finally in a position to have a toddler.
Fable 4: Endometriosis will be prevented. There’s no clearly understood trigger for endometriosis, so at this level there is no such thing as a recognized technique to forestall it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can cut back your threat, in keeping with the US Workplace of Girls’s Well being. Estrogen can gas the expansion of endometriosis and enlarge signs. You’ll be able to cut back your estrogen ranges by selecting a lower-estrogen contraception methodology, losing a few pounds in case you are obese, and getting common train.
Fable 5: Endometriosis all the time improves after menopause. Though endometriosis signs happen most frequently throughout menstruation, for some ladies they final effectively after month-to-month cycles finish. Even after a girl goes by way of menopause, the ovaries proceed to provide small quantities of estrogen. Endometriosis growths might proceed to reply to the hormone, inflicting ache. So, whereas signs of endometriosis enhance in many ladies, menopause doesn’t carry aid to all. Some ladies who’ve gone by way of menopause might go for surgical procedures to take away endometriosis implants or adhesions, and even hysterectomy and oophorectomy (eradicating the ovaries). Nevertheless, these procedures are usually not all the time profitable in controlling ache. Hormonal therapies, too, look like much less efficient in ladies after menopause.
For details about treating endometriosis ache, see this post from the Harvard Well being Weblog.