Whereas endometriosis is a standard situation, affecting as many as one in each 10 American ladies, it’s complicated and sometimes misunderstood. Endometriosis happens when tissue very similar to the tissue that usually traces the uterus — known as the endometrium — begins to develop elsewhere within the physique. These growths could trigger ache, scarring, and, in some situations, infertility.
One research exhibits it will possibly take as much as seven years for a lady to get a prognosis of endometriosis as a result of signs could mimic different widespread circumstances, akin to irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory illness. And misconceptions concerning the illness, together with the 5 myths beneath, could preserve some ladies from searching for assist. Discuss to your well being care workforce in the event you’re involved about painful durations or different doable symptoms of endometriosis, akin 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 generally assume that their signs are a standard 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 way more critical is happening 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 reply to 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 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 a substitute, 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 online, fusing organs collectively. This will result in ache with motion or sexual exercise.
Delusion 2: Endometriosis solely impacts the pelvic area. The most typical places for endometriosis growths to happen are inside the pelvis, akin to on the outer floor of the uterus, the bladder, and the fallopian tubes. However endometriosis could 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 lady to be taught she has endometriosis solely after she begins investigating why she is having issue getting pregnant. Endometriosis is the main reason for 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 girls with endometriosis are in the end capable of have a baby.
Delusion 4: Endometriosis may be prevented. There’s no clearly understood trigger for endometriosis, so at this level there is no such thing as a recognized approach to stop it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can cut back your threat, in keeping with the US Workplace of Ladies’s Well being. Estrogen can gasoline the expansion of endometriosis and amplify signs. You’ll be able to cut back your estrogen ranges by selecting a lower-estrogen contraception technique, dropping pounds in case you are chubby, and getting common train.
Delusion 5: Endometriosis all the time improves after menopause. Though endometriosis signs happen most frequently throughout menstruation, for some ladies they final nicely after month-to-month cycles finish. Even after a girl goes by menopause, the ovaries proceed to supply small quantities of estrogen. Endometriosis growths could proceed to reply to the hormone, inflicting ache. So, whereas signs of endometriosis enhance in many ladies, menopause doesn’t deliver reduction to all. Some ladies who’ve gone by menopause could 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, look like much less efficient in ladies after menopause.
For details about treating endometriosis ache, see this post from the Harvard Well being Weblog.