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 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 cases, infertility.
One examine reveals it will probably take as much as seven years for a girl to get a prognosis of endometriosis as a result of signs might mimic different widespread situations, similar to irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory illness. And misconceptions concerning the illness, together with the 5 myths beneath, might preserve some girls from in search of assist. Speak to your well being care crew when you’re involved about painful intervals or different potential symptoms of endometriosis, similar to long-lasting ache in your decrease again or pelvis.
5 myths — and the details — about endometriosis
Fantasy 1: The signs are only a heavy interval. Ladies with endometriosis generally assume that their signs are a traditional a part of menstruation, and once they do search assist they’re generally dismissed as overreacting to regular menstrual signs. However in actual fact, 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 outdoors the uterus, it continues to answer hormonal alerts and produce chemical compounds that trigger irritation and ache.
Throughout the course of the menstrual cycle, this endometrium-like tissue thickens and ultimately bleeds. However not like endometrial tissue within the uterus, which is ready to drain by 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.
Fantasy 2: Endometriosis solely impacts the pelvic area. The commonest areas for endometriosis growths to happen are inside the pelvis, similar to on the outer floor of the uterus, the bladder, and the fallopian tubes. However endometriosis might happen anyplace within the physique. Not often, endometrium-like tissue has been discovered within the lungs, for instance.
Fantasy 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 problem 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 girls with endometriosis are in the end in a position to have a baby.
Fantasy 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 option to stop it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can scale back your danger, based on the US Workplace of Ladies’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 technique, dropping pounds in case you are obese, and getting common train.
Fantasy 5: Endometriosis all the time improves after menopause. Though endometriosis signs happen most frequently throughout menstruation, for some girls they final properly after month-to-month cycles finish. Even after a lady goes by menopause, the ovaries proceed to supply 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 deliver reduction to all. Some girls who’ve gone by menopause might go for surgical procedures to take away endometriosis implants or adhesions, and even hysterectomy and oophorectomy (eradicating the ovaries). Nonetheless, these procedures usually are 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.