Whereas endometriosis is a standard situation, affecting as many as one in each 10 American ladies, it’s complicated and infrequently misunderstood. Endometriosis happens when tissue very like 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 cases, infertility.
One research exhibits it might take as much as seven years for a lady to get a prognosis of endometriosis as a result of signs might mimic different frequent circumstances, corresponding to irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory illness. And misconceptions in regards to the illness, together with the 5 myths under, might maintain some ladies from looking for assist. Discuss to your well being care group in the event you’re involved about painful intervals or different attainable symptoms of endometriosis, corresponding to long-lasting ache in your decrease again or pelvis.
5 myths — and the information — about endometriosis
Fantasy 1: The signs are only a heavy interval. Ladies with endometriosis typically assume that their signs are a standard a part of menstruation, and after 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 idea 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 compounds that trigger irritation and ache.
Throughout the course of the menstrual cycle, this endometrium-like tissue thickens and ultimately bleeds. However in contrast to 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 typically the event of scar tissue that may kind an internet, fusing organs collectively. This will likely 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, corresponding 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.
Fantasy 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 behind infertility in the US. Having the situation additionally will increase the probability of miscarriage and different issues in being pregnant. Nevertheless, the excellent news is that the overwhelming majority of ladies with endometriosis are finally in a position to have a toddler.
Fantasy 4: Endometriosis might be prevented. There’s no clearly understood trigger for endometriosis, so at this level there isn’t any identified method to forestall 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 gas the expansion of endometriosis and amplify signs. You may cut 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 nicely after month-to-month cycles finish. Even after a lady 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 convey reduction to all. Some ladies 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). Nevertheless, these procedures usually are 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.