What is endometriosis? the google description above doesn’t give much detail but that is essential what endometriosis is. What is it for the 1 in 10 women that have endometriosis? Its a painful autoimmune disease that causes bloating, aching, debilitating menstrual pain, countless surgeries, and multiple prescriptions of birth control.
Lets go a little more into the technical definition of endometriosis before diving into the physical, day to day meaning of endometriosis.
Endometriosis is when the tissues lining the uterus grows outside the uterus on other organs. The tissue is often found in the lower abdomen, or pelvis, but it can be found anywhere in the body. this abnormal tissue growth can cause lower abdominal pain, painful periods, pain with sexual intercourse, or difficulty getting pregnant. Many women go undiagnosed for endometriosis. diagnosis for endometriosis is difficult to get because the only way to determine whether you have endo or not is through laparoscopy(a surgery where a doctor looks in the abdomen with a camera usually through the belly button). Many young girls get diagnosed because of complaints of painful periods and pelvic pain. why does endometriosis cause such painful periods? the tissue that lines the uterus is the tissue that you shed each month on your period, the tissue inside the uterus has a place to exit the body(bleeding on your period). With endometriosis this same tissue grows on your other organs inside the body but this tissue has nowhere to exit the body. each month the tissue thickens, breaks down and bleeds but becomes trapped. this causes the surrounding tissue to become inflamed, and develop scar tissue and adhesion’s (abnormal bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other). As you could imagine this can be very painful.
Misconceptions About Endometriosis
Endo is only in the pelvis
While endo mainly grows on the uterus and ovaries it is not restricted to that area. Endometriosis can be found almost anywhere in the body, Endo has been found everywhere but the spleen. When we think of endo we think of the pelvic area, we think of reproductive area, but this isn’t always the case.
Getting a hysterectomy will cure endometriosis
This is an important misconception for women to educate themselves with because this is a huge decision. Hysterectomies are not a cure for endometriosis. When you have endo tissue is found outside of the uterus meaning that often times the uterus itself is a normal and healthy organ. Removing the uterus will likely have little to no impact on your pain if other causes are not addressed as well. Hysterectomies can also negatively affect your health; it can lead to higher risk of developing coronary heart disease, increase risk of higher blood pressure, increased risk of obesity, and increased risk of dementia.
Its normal to have severe period pain to the point that it limits your life
It is not normal to have extremely painful periods, if you call into work often because of your period, are bed ridden during your period, or throw up due to cramps and pain during your period then it is not normal, and you may have endometriosis.
Women with endometriosis only experience pain on their periods
A lot of women also experience pain during or after sex, some before and after their period, and some experience pain throughout the month either ongoing or off and on. Women with small growths may have severe pan while women with large growths may have little pain or vice versa.
Teens don’t suffer from endometriosis
It takes a long time to get diagnosed with endo, most women don’t get diagnosed until their late 20s or later. This doesn’t mean they didn’t have the disease when they were a teen, many women suffer symptoms as soon as they start menstruation. With the use of laparoscope more women are able to get diagnosed but many women still go undiagnosed partly because of lack of knowledge about the disease.
If you have endometriosis you are infernal
Many women with endometriosis have children, an estimated 60%-70% of women with endometriosis are fertile. Fertility problems may increase with the severity of endo and with age. If endo is causing problems with getting pregnant laparoscopy surgery can help improve chances of getting pregnant.
Pregnancy cures endometriosis
Some women report not have symptoms post pregnancy, but the majority of women report endometriosis symptoms returning post pregnancy. Pregnancy will trigger a temporary reduction in symptoms similar to hormonal drug treatments, but it does not cure the endometriosis.
If you have any questions or concerns about the above information contact you gynecologist.
Why Does Endometriosis Cause Pain and Health Problems
although endometriosis growths are benign, meaning they are not cancerous, they still cause health problems.
the endometrial tissue can continue to grow causing problems such as;
- blocking your fallopian tubes when growths cover or grow into your ovaries. trapped blood in the ovaries can cause cysts
- inflammation (swelling)
- forming scar tissue and adhesion (type of tissue that can bind your organs together). this tissue may cause pelvic pain and make it more difficult to get pregnant
- problems in your intestines and bladder
you can prevent and even shrink growth through diet.
What is the endometriosis diet, what can and cant you eat on this diet?
Endometriosis diet coming soon!