Whereas endometriosis is a typical situation, affecting as many as one in each 10 American girls, it’s complicated and infrequently misunderstood. Endometriosis happens when tissue very similar to the tissue that usually strains the uterus — known as the endometrium — begins to develop elsewhere within the physique. These growths might trigger ache, scarring, and, in some situations, infertility.
One research reveals it may well take as much as seven years for a girl to get a prognosis of endometriosis as a result of signs might mimic different frequent situations, similar to irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory illness. And misconceptions in regards to the illness, together with the 5 myths beneath, might maintain some girls from searching for assist. Discuss to your well being care crew should you’re involved about painful durations or different doable symptoms of endometriosis, similar to long-lasting ache in your decrease again or pelvis.
5 myths — and the info — about endometriosis
Delusion 1: The signs are only a heavy interval. Ladies with endometriosis typically assume that their signs are a traditional a part of menstruation, and once they do search assist they’re typically dismissed as overreacting to regular menstrual signs. However in actual fact, one thing far more critical is occurring than interval cramps. One principle is that the ache happens as a result of even when endometrium-like tissue is exterior the uterus, it continues to answer hormonal alerts and produce chemical substances that trigger irritation and ache.
Through the course of the menstrual cycle, this endometrium-like tissue thickens and finally bleeds. However in contrast to endometrial tissue within the uterus, which is ready to drain via the vagina every month, blood from displaced tissue has nowhere to go. As a substitute, it swimming pools close to the affected organs and tissues, irritating and inflaming them. The result’s ache, and typically the event of scar tissue that may type an internet, fusing organs collectively. This may increasingly result in ache with motion or sexual exercise.
Delusion 2: Endometriosis solely impacts the pelvic area. The commonest areas for endometriosis growths to happen are throughout the pelvis, similar to on the outer floor of the uterus, the bladder, and the fallopian tubes. However endometriosis might happen wherever within the physique. Hardly ever, endometrium-like tissue has been discovered within the lungs, for instance.
Delusion 3: Endometriosis is all the time painful. Not everybody with endometriosis experiences ache. It’s not unusual for a girl to be taught she has endometriosis solely after she begins investigating why she is having issue getting pregnant. Endometriosis is the main reason behind infertility in america. Having the situation additionally will increase the chance of miscarriage and different issues in being pregnant. Nonetheless, the excellent news is that the overwhelming majority of ladies with endometriosis are in the end in a position to have a toddler.
Delusion 4: Endometriosis will be prevented. There’s no clearly understood trigger for endometriosis, so at this level there isn’t any identified approach to stop it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can scale back your threat, based on the US Workplace of Ladies’s Well being. Estrogen can gasoline the expansion of endometriosis and enlarge signs. You’ll be able to scale back your estrogen ranges by selecting a lower-estrogen contraception technique, shedding weight in case you are obese, and getting common train.
Delusion 5: Endometriosis all the time improves after menopause. Though endometriosis signs happen most frequently throughout menstruation, for some girls they final effectively after month-to-month cycles finish. Even after a lady goes via menopause, the ovaries proceed to provide small quantities of estrogen. Endometriosis growths might proceed to answer the hormone, inflicting ache. So, whereas signs of endometriosis enhance in many ladies, menopause doesn’t carry aid to all. Some girls who’ve gone via menopause might go for surgical procedures to take away endometriosis implants or adhesions, and even hysterectomy and oophorectomy (eradicating the ovaries). Nonetheless, these procedures are usually not all the time profitable in controlling ache. Hormonal therapies, too, seem like much less efficient in girls after menopause.
For details about treating endometriosis ache, see this post from the Harvard Well being Weblog.