Whereas endometriosis is a standard situation, affecting as many as one in each 10 American girls, it’s advanced and sometimes misunderstood. Endometriosis happens when tissue very like the tissue that usually traces the uterus — known as the endometrium — begins to develop elsewhere within the physique. These growths might trigger ache, scarring, and, in some cases, infertility.
One examine reveals it may possibly take as much as seven years for a girl to get a prognosis of endometriosis as a result of signs might mimic different frequent circumstances, equivalent 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 in search of assist. Speak to your well being care crew in the event you’re involved about painful durations or different potential symptoms of endometriosis, equivalent 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. 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 truth, one thing far 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 kind an online, fusing organs collectively. This will 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, equivalent to on the outer floor of the uterus, the bladder, and the fallopian tubes. However endometriosis might happen wherever within the physique. Not often, 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 the USA. 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 finally in a position to have a toddler.
Delusion 4: Endometriosis might be prevented. There’s no clearly understood trigger for endometriosis, so at this level there isn’t any recognized solution to forestall it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can scale back your danger, in accordance with the US Workplace of Girls’s Well being. Estrogen can gas the expansion of endometriosis and amplify signs. You’ll be able to scale back your estrogen ranges by selecting a lower-estrogen contraception methodology, shedding weight if you’re 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 girl goes by way of menopause, the ovaries proceed to supply 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 girls 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). Nonetheless, these procedures will not be 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.