What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition that affects an estimated 1 in 10 women of reproductive age worldwide. It occurs when the lining usually found in the uterus (the material expelled during a period) develops in other areas of a woman’s abdomen. This lining also ‘bleeds,' but without access to an exit point this bleeding can lead to pain and inflammation.
What causes endometriosis?
The cause of endometriosis is not yet known. Some research suggests that endometriosis might be genetically inherited, but among sexually mature women, there is no consistent criteria for suffering endometriosis.
Choosing to have a baby later in life does not cause endometriosis.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
Signs that you might have endometriosis include:
- Abdominal pain
- Pain during or after sex
- Fatigue, headaches and nausea
- Painful periods and ovulation
- Abnormal bleeding, and bleeding outside of your period.
The severity of an instance of endometriosis does not necessarily correlate with the symptoms.
What are the lasting effects of endometriosis?
Endometriosis can be responsible for a range of complications within women. Some women living with endometriosis, diagnosed or not, might be at risk of complications with conception. This can occur when the passages of the fallopian tubes are obstructed or blocked by excess tissue.
Pregnancy is often mistaken as a cure for endometriosis. This is because while pregnant, women do not menstruate and therefore the symptoms might lessen or disappear.
As there is no cure for endometriosis, the experience becomes one of management over solution.
What can I do if I suspect I have or am diagnosed with endometriosis?
If your doctor or health professional is evasive of diagnosing endometriosis in contrast to your instinct or suspicions, it is important you find a new doctor or a second opinion. The average length of time between the first symptoms of endometriosis and its diagnosis is 8.5 years – far too long for anyone to suffer in silence.
Many treatments for endometriosis are available that either lessen the severity of the symptoms or increase the chances of pregnancy. Surgery is another option that might be considered after others are exhausted.
A diagnosis of endometriosis is not a diagnosis of infertility, and unassisted conception can still be a possibility. Options for assisted pregnancy continue to increase in variety and accessibility, so consider these if you are looking to conceive while living with endometriosis.
*The above should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of trained medical professionals.
Endometriosis is one of the most common issues affecting women around the world. It is a painful and debilitating disease which can often go undiagnosed for long stretches of time, which is why it’s important to recognise the symptoms of endometriosis.