Whereas endometriosis is a standard situation, affecting as many as one in each 10 American girls, it’s complicated and infrequently misunderstood. Endometriosis happens when tissue very like the tissue that usually traces the uterus — known as the endometrium — begins to develop elsewhere within the physique. These growths might trigger ache, scarring, and, in some situations, infertility.
One research reveals it could take as much as seven years for a girl to get a prognosis of endometriosis as a result of signs might mimic different widespread situations, corresponding to irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory illness. And misconceptions concerning the illness, together with the 5 myths under, might maintain some girls from in search of assist. Speak to your well being care crew should you’re involved about painful intervals or different potential symptoms of endometriosis, corresponding to long-lasting ache in your decrease again or pelvis.
5 myths — and the information — about endometriosis
Fable 1: The signs are only a heavy interval. Ladies with endometriosis generally assume that their signs are a traditional a part of menstruation, and after they do search assist they’re generally dismissed as overreacting to regular menstrual signs. However actually, one thing far more severe is occurring 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 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 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 generally the event of scar tissue that may type an online, fusing organs collectively. This may increasingly result in ache with motion or sexual exercise.
Fable 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 might happen anyplace within the physique. Not often, endometrium-like tissue has been discovered within the lungs, for instance.
Fable 3: Endometriosis is at all times painful. Not everybody with endometriosis experiences ache. It’s not unusual for a girl to study she has endometriosis solely after she begins investigating why she is having issue getting pregnant. Endometriosis is the main explanation for 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 finally capable of have a baby.
Fable 4: Endometriosis will be prevented. There’s no clearly understood trigger for endometriosis, so at this level there isn’t a recognized solution to stop it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can cut back your danger, in keeping with the US Workplace of Ladies’s Well being. Estrogen can gasoline the expansion of endometriosis and amplify signs. You possibly can cut back your estrogen ranges by selecting a lower-estrogen contraception methodology, losing a few pounds in case you are chubby, and getting common train.
Fable 5: Endometriosis at all times 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 girl goes by way of menopause, the ovaries proceed to provide small quantities of estrogen. Endometriosis growths might proceed to answer the hormone, inflicting ache. So, whereas signs of endometriosis enhance in many ladies, menopause doesn’t convey aid to all. Some girls 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 will not be at all times 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.