According to the World Endometriosis Research Foundation, 176 million women, from ages 15 to 49, around the globe, suffer from this disease.
That’s right, 1 in 10 women of reproductive age is affected by this gynaecological disease which can lead to infertility. And sadly, 58% of women had visited their GP 10 or more times before receiving a diagnosis. Why?
The general lack of awareness, as well as the “normalisation” of symptoms, often result in significant delay from when a woman first experience symptoms until she is eventually diagnosed and treated. Often dismissed as “just a bad period” a vast number of women never get diagnosed, and continue to live in agony.
Despite the intense discomfort, many women do not realize that they have endometriosis until they try to get pregnant; and because this disease tends to get progressively worse over time, approximately 30 – 40% of women who have endometriosis, experience fertility challenges.
Endometriosis can be mild or so severe that it takes over your life. Former Spice Girl Emma Bunton, Dolly Parton, Susan Sarandon and Whoopi Goldberg, are but a few celebrities suffering from endometriosis. The iconic Marilyn Monroe is thought to have become addicted to painkillers she took for endometriosis, which resulted in her death.
So, here’s what actually happens when you have endometriosis: It is a condition in which tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus is found outside the uterus, this tissue responds to the menstrual cycle each month and also bleeds. This can cause pain, inflammation and the formation of scar tissue because there is no way for this blood to leave the body (which can cause agony). The only definitive way to diagnose endometriosis is by a laparoscopy – a small operation that involves inserting a camera into the pelvis via the bellybutton.
Doctors are not entirely sure what the cause of this disease is, but what they do know is that oestrogen plays a role in making the uterine lining thicker. Studies also show that genetics may be a factor; you may have a higher risk of the disease if you have a close family member with endometriosis.
The symptoms include painful periods, painful ovulation, pain during or after sexual intercourse, heavy bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and infertility. In addition to these physical symptoms, endometriosis takes a toll on women’s personal and professional lives.
So, what is the prognosis? For women suffering from endometriosis the struggle is real. And although there is no cure for this disease, surgery and medication can relieve the pain in most cases.
The first step to getting there is recognising that your pain is not normal and seeking intervention. If you’re experiencing debilitating symptoms, speak to your gynaecologist sooner rather than later.
The earlier this disease is detected and treated, the better the results.
Source: theguardian.com, cosmopolitan.co.uk, bustle.com, endometriosis.org, marieclaire.co.uk, healthgrades.com, womanshealthmag.com, eggchill.com, tumblr.com, webmd.com, womenshealth.gov, cosmopolitan.com, health-e.org.za
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.