while endometriosis is a common condition, affecting as many as one in every 10 american women, tis complex and often misunderstood. endometriosis occurs when tissue much like the tissue that normally lines the uterus — called the endometrium — starts to grow elsewhere in d'body. these growths may cause pain, scarring, and, in some instances, infertility.
one study shows it can take up to 7 yrs for a woman t'get a diagnosis of endometriosis cause symptoms may mimic other common conditions, s'as irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory disease. and misconceptions bout the disease, including the 5 myths belo, may keep some women from seeking help. talk to yr health care team if you’re concerned bout painful periods or other possible symptoms of endometriosis, s'as long-lasting pain in yr loer back or pelvis.
5 myths — na facts — bout endometriosis
myth 1: the symptoms are just a heavy period. women with endometriosis sometimes assume that their symptoms are a normal pt of menstruation, n'when they do seek help they are sometimes dismissed as overreacting to normal menstrual symptoms. but in fact, something much + serious is goin on than period cramps. one theory s'dat the pain occurs cause even when endometrium-like tissue is outside the uterus, it continues to respond to hormonal signals and produce chemicals that cause inflammation and pain.
during the course of the menstrual cycle, this endometrium-like tissue thickens and eventually bleeds. but unlike endometrial tissue inna uterus, which is able to drain through the vagina each mnth, blood from displaced tissue has nowhere to go. instead, it pools near the affected organs and tissues, irritating and inflaming them. the result is pain, and sometimes the development of scar tissue that can form a web, fusing organs together. this may lead to pain with movement or sxual activity.
myth 2: endometriosis 1-ly affects the pelvic region. the most common zones for endometriosis growths to occur are within the pelvis, s'as onna outer surface of the uterus, the bladder, na fallopian tubes. but endometriosis may occur anywhere in d'body. rarely, endometrium-like tissue s'been found inna lungs, for ex.
myth 3: endometriosis is always painful. not everyone with endometriosis experiences pain. it’s not uncommon for a woman to learn she has endometriosis 1-ly after she begins investigating why she is having difficulty gettin pregnant. endometriosis tis leading cause of infertility inna ∪d states. having the condition also increases the likelihood of miscarriage nother problems in pregnancy. however, the good news s'dat the vast majority of women with endometriosis are ultimately able to ‘ve a child.
myth 4: endometriosis can be prevented. there’s no clearly understood cause for endometriosis, so at this point thris no known way to prevent it. certain steps to help loer estrogen lvls in d'body can reduce yr risk, according to the us office of women’s health. estrogen can fuel the growth of endometriosis and magnify symptoms. you can reduce yr estrogen lvls by choosing a loer-estrogen birth control method, losing w8 if ur overw8, and gettin regular exercise.
myth 5: endometriosis always improves after menopause. although endometriosis symptoms occur most often during menstruation, for some women they last well after mnthly cycles end. even after a woman goes through menopause, the ovaries continue to produce lil amounts of estrogen. endometriosis growths may continue to respond to the hormone, causing pain. so, while symptoms of endometriosis improve in many women, menopause doesn’t bring relief to all. some women who ‘ve gone through menopause may opt for surgical procedures to remove endometriosis implants or adhesions, or even hysterectomy and oophorectomy (removin the ovaries). however, these procedures aint always successful in controlling pain. hormonal therapies, too, appear to be less effective in women after menopause.
for information bout treating endometriosis pain, see this post from the harvard health blog.
original content at: www.health.harvard.edu…
authors: kelly bilodeau