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 similar to the tissue that usually strains 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 exhibits it might probably take as much as seven years for a lady to get a prognosis of endometriosis as a result of signs might mimic different frequent circumstances, comparable to irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory illness. And misconceptions in regards to the illness, together with the 5 myths under, might maintain some ladies from searching for assist. Speak to your well being care workforce should you’re involved about painful durations or different doable symptoms of endometriosis, comparable to long-lasting ache in your decrease again or pelvis.
5 myths — and the details — 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 in reality, one thing far more critical is happening than interval cramps. One principle 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 finally bleeds. However not like endometrial tissue within the uterus, which is ready to drain by means 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 kind an internet, fusing organs collectively. This may increasingly result in ache with motion or sexual exercise.
Delusion 2: Endometriosis solely impacts the pelvic area. The commonest areas for endometriosis growths to happen are throughout the pelvis, comparable to on the outer floor of the uterus, the bladder, and the fallopian tubes. However endometriosis might 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 issue getting pregnant. Endometriosis is the main reason for infertility in the US. Having the situation additionally will increase the chance of miscarriage and different issues in being pregnant. Nonetheless, the excellent news is that the overwhelming majority of girls with endometriosis are in the end capable of have a toddler.
Delusion 4: Endometriosis could be prevented. There’s no clearly understood trigger for endometriosis, so at this level there isn’t a recognized strategy to forestall it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can scale back your danger, in line with the US Workplace of Girls’s Well being. Estrogen can gas the expansion of endometriosis and amplify signs. You possibly can scale back your estrogen ranges by selecting a lower-estrogen contraception methodology, reducing weight 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 nicely after month-to-month cycles finish. Even after a lady goes by means of menopause, the ovaries proceed to provide small quantities of estrogen. Endometriosis growths might proceed to reply to the hormone, inflicting ache. So, whereas signs of endometriosis enhance in many ladies, menopause doesn’t deliver reduction to all. Some ladies who’ve gone by means of menopause might go for surgical procedures to take away endometriosis implants or adhesions, and even hysterectomy and oophorectomy (eradicating the ovaries). Nonetheless, these procedures will not be 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.