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 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 may possibly take as much as seven years for a lady to get a analysis of endometriosis as a result of signs could mimic different widespread 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 girls from in search of assist. Speak to your well being care group in the event you’re involved about painful intervals or different attainable symptoms of endometriosis, similar to 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. Ladies with endometriosis typically assume that their signs are a standard a part of menstruation, and after they do search assist they’re typically dismissed as overreacting to regular menstrual signs. However the truth is, one thing way more critical is happening 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 reply to hormonal alerts and produce chemical substances that trigger irritation and ache.
In the course of 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 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 typically the event of scar tissue that may kind an online, fusing organs collectively. This may occasionally 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, 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.
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 issue getting pregnant. Endometriosis is the main explanation for infertility in the US. 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 in the end 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 isn’t any recognized solution to stop it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can scale back your danger, in accordance with the US Workplace of Ladies’s Well being. Estrogen can gas the expansion of endometriosis and amplify signs. You may scale back your estrogen ranges by selecting a lower-estrogen contraception technique, shedding pounds in case you are chubby, and getting common train.
Delusion 5: Endometriosis at all times improves after menopause. Though endometriosis signs happen most frequently throughout menstruation, for some girls they final nicely 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 reply to the hormone, inflicting ache. So, whereas signs of endometriosis enhance in many ladies, menopause doesn’t convey reduction to all. Some girls 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 are usually not at all times profitable in controlling ache. Hormonal therapies, too, look like much less efficient in girls after menopause.
For details about treating endometriosis ache, see this post from the Harvard Well being Weblog.