Whereas endometriosis is a standard situation, affecting as many as one in each 10 American ladies, it’s advanced 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 could trigger ache, scarring, and, in some situations, infertility.
One research exhibits it will probably take as much as seven years for a lady to get a analysis of endometriosis as a result of signs could mimic different frequent circumstances, resembling irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory illness. And misconceptions concerning the illness, together with the 5 myths beneath, could preserve some ladies from looking for assist. Discuss to your well being care workforce should you’re involved about painful durations or different attainable symptoms of endometriosis, resembling long-lasting ache in your decrease again or pelvis.
5 myths — and the information — about endometriosis
Delusion 1: The signs are only a heavy interval. Girls with endometriosis generally assume that their signs are a standard a part of menstruation, and after they do search assist they’re generally dismissed as overreacting to regular menstrual signs. However the truth is, one thing way more critical 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 alerts 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 not like endometrial tissue within the uterus, which is ready to drain by 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.
Delusion 2: Endometriosis solely impacts the pelvic area. The commonest places for endometriosis growths to happen are inside the pelvis, resembling 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 at all times 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 reason for infertility in the USA. 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 girls with endometriosis are finally in a position to have a baby.
Delusion 4: Endometriosis could be prevented. There’s no clearly understood trigger for endometriosis, so at this level there is no such thing as a recognized method to forestall it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can cut back your threat, based on the US Workplace of Girls’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 technique, shedding pounds if you’re obese, and getting common train.
Delusion 5: Endometriosis at all times improves after menopause. Though endometriosis signs happen most frequently throughout menstruation, for some ladies they final effectively after month-to-month cycles finish. Even after a girl goes by menopause, the ovaries proceed to supply small quantities of estrogen. Endometriosis growths could proceed to answer the hormone, inflicting ache. So, whereas signs of endometriosis enhance in many ladies, menopause doesn’t deliver aid to all. Some ladies who’ve gone by 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 post from the Harvard Well being Weblog.