Whereas endometriosis is a typical 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 strains 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 examine reveals it might 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, corresponding to irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory illness. And misconceptions in regards to the illness, together with the 5 myths under, could maintain some girls from looking for assist. Discuss to your well being care crew should you’re involved about painful durations or different potential symptoms of endometriosis, corresponding 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 traditional a part of menstruation, and once they do search assist they’re generally dismissed as overreacting to regular menstrual signs. However in reality, one thing rather more critical is happening 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.
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 via 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 type an internet, fusing organs collectively. This will likely 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, corresponding 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 study she has endometriosis solely after she begins investigating why she is having problem getting pregnant. Endometriosis is the main explanation 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 in a position to have a toddler.
Delusion 4: Endometriosis will be prevented. There’s no clearly understood trigger for endometriosis, so at this level there isn’t a identified approach to forestall it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can scale back your threat, in line with the US Workplace of Ladies’s Well being. Estrogen can gas the expansion of endometriosis and amplify signs. You possibly can scale back your estrogen ranges by selecting a lower-estrogen contraception technique, shedding weight 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 girls they final properly after month-to-month cycles finish. Even after a lady goes via menopause, the ovaries proceed to provide 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 aid to all. Some girls who’ve gone via menopause could 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.