Whereas endometriosis is a standard situation, affecting as many as one in each 10 American girls, it’s advanced and infrequently misunderstood. Endometriosis happens when tissue very similar to the tissue that usually traces the uterus — referred to as the endometrium — begins to develop elsewhere within the physique. These growths might trigger ache, scarring, and, in some cases, infertility.
One research exhibits it will possibly take as much as seven years for a girl to get a analysis of endometriosis as a result of signs might mimic different widespread situations, akin to irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory illness. And misconceptions concerning the illness, together with the 5 myths under, might maintain some girls from looking for assist. Speak to your well being care group in case you’re involved about painful intervals or different potential signs of endometriosis, akin to long-lasting ache in your decrease again or pelvis.
5 myths — and the details — about endometriosis
Fable 1: The signs are only a heavy interval. Girls with endometriosis generally assume that their signs are a traditional a part of menstruation, and once they do search assist they’re generally dismissed as overreacting to regular menstrual signs. However in actual fact, one thing far more severe is occurring than interval cramps. One principle is that the ache happens as a result of even when endometrium-like tissue is exterior the uterus, it continues to answer 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 in contrast to 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 generally the event of scar tissue that may kind an internet, fusing organs collectively. This will likely result in ache with motion or sexual exercise.
Fable 2: Endometriosis solely impacts the pelvic area. The commonest places for endometriosis growths to happen are inside the pelvis, akin to on the outer floor of the uterus, the bladder, and the fallopian tubes. However endometriosis might happen wherever 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 be taught she has endometriosis solely after she begins investigating why she is having problem getting pregnant. Endometriosis is the main explanation for infertility in the USA. Having the situation additionally will increase the chance of miscarriage and different issues in being pregnant. Nevertheless, the excellent news is that the overwhelming majority of ladies with endometriosis are in the end capable of have a baby.
Fable 4: Endometriosis might be prevented. There’s no clearly understood trigger for endometriosis, so at this level there is no such thing as a recognized technique to forestall it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can scale back your threat, in line with the US Workplace of Girls’s Well being. Estrogen can gasoline the expansion of endometriosis and amplify signs. You possibly can scale back your estrogen ranges by selecting a lower-estrogen contraception technique, dropping pounds 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 girls they final effectively after month-to-month cycles finish. Even after a girl goes by way of menopause, the ovaries proceed to provide small quantities of estrogen. Endometriosis growths might proceed to answer the hormone, inflicting ache. So, whereas signs of endometriosis enhance in many ladies, menopause doesn’t carry reduction to all. Some girls who’ve gone by way of menopause might go for surgical procedures to take away endometriosis implants or adhesions, and even hysterectomy and oophorectomy (eradicating the ovaries). Nevertheless, these procedures are usually not at all times profitable in controlling ache. Hormonal therapies, too, seem like much less efficient in girls after menopause.
For details about treating endometriosis ache, see this submit from the Harvard Well being Weblog.