Whereas endometriosis is a typical situation, affecting as many as one in each 10 American ladies, it’s advanced and sometimes misunderstood. Endometriosis happens when tissue very like the tissue that usually traces 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 examine exhibits it could actually take as much as seven years for a girl to get a prognosis of endometriosis as a result of signs could mimic different frequent circumstances, similar to irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory illness. And misconceptions in regards to the illness, together with the 5 myths beneath, could hold some ladies from in search of assist. Speak to your well being care workforce in the event you’re involved about painful intervals or different doable signs of endometriosis, similar 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 typically assume that their signs are a standard a part of menstruation, and once they do search assist they’re typically dismissed as overreacting to regular menstrual signs. However actually, one thing way more severe 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 alerts and produce chemical compounds that trigger irritation and ache.
In the course of 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 by way of 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 type an online, fusing organs collectively. This will likely 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 throughout the pelvis, similar to on the outer floor of the uterus, the bladder, and the fallopian tubes. However endometriosis could happen anyplace within the physique. Hardly ever, 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 reason behind infertility in america. Having the situation additionally will increase the probability of miscarriage and different issues in being pregnant. Nonetheless, the excellent news is that the overwhelming majority of ladies with endometriosis are finally capable of have a toddler.
Fable 4: Endometriosis could be prevented. There’s no clearly understood trigger for endometriosis, so at this level there is no such thing as a identified option to stop it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can cut back your threat, in accordance with the US Workplace of Ladies’s Well being. Estrogen can gasoline the expansion of endometriosis and amplify signs. You may cut back your estrogen ranges by selecting a lower-estrogen contraception methodology, shedding weight 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 ladies they final properly 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 could proceed to reply to the hormone, inflicting ache. So, whereas signs of endometriosis enhance in many ladies, menopause doesn’t convey aid to all. Some ladies who’ve gone by way of menopause could go for surgical procedures to take away endometriosis implants or adhesions, and even hysterectomy and oophorectomy (eradicating the ovaries). Nonetheless, these procedures should not at all times profitable in controlling ache. Hormonal therapies, too, seem like much less efficient in ladies after menopause.
For details about treating endometriosis ache, see this publish from the Harvard Well being Weblog.