What Is Endometriosis? Are You Secretly Suffering?
It’s the women’s health condition which has only got true recognition in the past few years, but what is endometriosis?
Image Source/ Woman&Home
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis – also known as endo – is where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other areas of the body.
It’s a long-term condition which currently has no cure but there are treatment options available.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
Women with endometriosis suffer from a range of symptoms including:
- pelvic pain
- pain in your back
- period pain which stops you from leading a normal life
- pain during or after sexual intercourse
- feeling nauseous
- pain when urinating during your menstrual cycle
- pain during bowel movements on your period
- heavy periods – using lots of pads or tampons or even bleeding through clothes
How do you diagnose endometriosis?
The condition is difficult to diagnose as the symptoms vary in each person and they may also be symptoms of other conditions.
Your doctor should examine your vagina and tummy as well as ask about your symptoms.
If they believe you do have endo, they might recommend some treatments to help ease your symptoms. However, if nothing changes, you might be referred to a gynaecologist for further tests like an ultrasound or laparoscopy – where a thin tube is inserted into your tummy through a small cut; they do this to try and see any endometrial tissue.
Unfortunately, this is the only way to confirm if someone has endo or not.
Further problems caused by the condition
Unfortunately, endo can have some detrimental long term effects on women.
The main problem women face is difficulty getting pregnant. It is unsure as to why this is but many doctors have assumed it is due to damage to the lining of the uterus, the fallopian tubes or even ovaries themselves.
Not all women with endo struggle with fertility but most need treatment such as medication, surgery to remove endometrial tissue or IVF (in vitro fertilisation).
Ovarian cysts are another common problem caused by endometriosis. They are fluid-filled cysts that can become large and painful when not treated. Sometimes they can even lead to ovarian cancer so it’s important to get them treated sooner rather than later.
You can also get ‘adhesions’ from endo. This is where endometrial cells join organs together which can be ‘fixed’ with surgery, but like all operations, there are risk factors involved.
Image Source/ Endometriosis New Zealand
What treatment is out there?
As previously mentioned, there is no cure for the condition but there is some endometriosis treatment to help women living with the condition.
Many doctors recommend taking painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen; taking some form of birth control pills or patches and then surgery. Sometimes symptoms can improve by themselves so you doctor may want to just do nothing for a few months to see what happens.