5 myths about endometriosis

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Whereas endometriosis is a standard situation, affecting as many as one in each 10 American ladies, it’s complicated 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 situations, infertility.

One research reveals it may 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, equivalent to irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory illness. And misconceptions concerning the illness, together with the 5 myths under, might maintain some ladies from looking for assist. Discuss to your well being care staff when you’re involved about painful durations or different potential symptoms of endometriosis, equivalent to long-lasting ache in your decrease again or pelvis.

5 myths — and the information — about endometriosis

Fable 1: The signs are only a heavy interval. Ladies with endometriosis typically assume that their signs are a standard a part of menstruation, and once they do search assist they’re typically dismissed as overreacting to regular menstrual signs. However actually, one thing rather more severe is occurring 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 answer hormonal indicators 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 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 a substitute, 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 type an online, fusing organs collectively. This will likely 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 inside the pelvis, equivalent to on the outer floor of the uterus, the bladder, and the fallopian tubes. However endometriosis might happen anyplace within the physique. Hardly ever, 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 girl to study she has endometriosis solely after she begins investigating why she is having problem 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 in the end capable of have a toddler.

Fable 4: Endometriosis could be prevented. There’s no clearly understood trigger for endometriosis, so at this level there isn’t any recognized strategy to stop it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can cut back your danger, based on the US Workplace of Ladies’s Well being. Estrogen can gasoline the expansion of endometriosis and amplify signs. You’ll be able to cut back your estrogen ranges by selecting a lower-estrogen contraception technique, losing a few pounds if you’re obese, and getting common train.

Fable 5: Endometriosis all the time 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 supply 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 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 aren’t all the time 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.

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