Whereas endometriosis is a typical 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 cases, infertility.
One research exhibits it might probably take as much as seven years for a lady to get a prognosis of endometriosis as a result of signs could mimic different frequent situations, akin to irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory illness. And misconceptions in regards to the illness, together with the 5 myths beneath, could preserve some girls from in search of assist. Speak to your well being care workforce in the event you’re involved about painful durations or different potential symptoms of endometriosis, akin to long-lasting ache in your decrease again or pelvis.
5 myths — and the info — about endometriosis
Fable 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 far 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 indicators and produce chemical compounds that trigger irritation and ache.
Throughout the course of the menstrual cycle, this endometrium-like tissue thickens and finally 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 a substitute, 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 internet, fusing organs collectively. This may occasionally 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, akin to 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.
Fable 3: Endometriosis is all the time painful. Not everybody with endometriosis experiences ache. It’s not unusual for a lady to be taught she has endometriosis solely after she begins investigating why she is having issue 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 toddler.
Fable 4: Endometriosis will be prevented. There’s no clearly understood trigger for endometriosis, so at this level there is no such thing as a recognized method to stop it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can cut back your danger, based on the US Workplace of Girls’s Well being. Estrogen can gas the expansion of endometriosis and enlarge signs. You may cut back your estrogen ranges by selecting a lower-estrogen contraception methodology, shedding weight in case you are obese, and getting common train.
Fable 5: Endometriosis all the time 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 lady goes by menopause, the ovaries proceed to provide 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 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 should not all the time 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.