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 strains the uterus — referred to as the endometrium — begins to develop elsewhere within the physique. These growths could trigger ache, scarring, and, in some cases, infertility.
One research exhibits it will probably take as much as seven years for a lady to get a prognosis of endometriosis as a result of signs could 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, could preserve some ladies from looking for assist. Discuss to your well being care crew when you’re involved about painful intervals or different potential symptoms of endometriosis, equivalent 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 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 reality, one thing way more severe is occurring than interval cramps. One principle is that the ache happens as a result of even when endometrium-like tissue is outdoors the uterus, it continues to answer hormonal indicators and produce chemical compounds 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 typically the event of scar tissue that may kind an online, fusing organs collectively. This may occasionally result in ache with motion or sexual exercise.
Fantasy 2: Endometriosis solely impacts the pelvic area. The commonest places 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 could happen wherever 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 lady to study she has endometriosis solely after she begins investigating why she is having issue getting pregnant. Endometriosis is the main reason behind infertility in the US. 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 ladies with endometriosis are in the end capable of have a baby.
Fantasy 4: Endometriosis might be prevented. There’s no clearly understood trigger for endometriosis, so at this level there is no such thing as a recognized strategy to forestall it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can scale back your danger, in line with the US Workplace of Ladies’s Well being. Estrogen can gas the expansion of endometriosis and enlarge signs. You may scale back your estrogen ranges by selecting a lower-estrogen contraception technique, reducing weight if you’re obese, and getting common train.
Fantasy 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 lady goes by menopause, the ovaries proceed to provide small quantities of estrogen. Endometriosis growths could proceed to answer the hormone, inflicting ache. So, whereas signs of endometriosis enhance in many ladies, menopause doesn’t deliver aid 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). 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.