Four things you may not know about endometriosis
I wrote the following post for the Tsuno blog in 2015. As their blog is now offline, I have reposted it here to ensure it is still accessible. Happy reading! - Kate
If you haven’t heard of endometriosis there is a good chance that you may not know anyone with a uterus.
Endometriosis is a disease experienced by 1.5-15% of women in Australia and around the world. Symptoms include intense pelvic pain (when you have your period only or at other times as well), heavy periods, painful sexual intercourse, bowel and bladder problems, plus many more. Endometriosis can be officially diagnosed through laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery only. There is no cure for endometriosis. While there are many treatment options none typically provide long-term relief from symptoms and each are associated with significant side effects.
Sounds fun, huh?
One of the first things many people do when diagnosed with an illness is Google it to death. If anyone has done this for endometriosis you’ve most likely come across the same old things again and again. Hopefully this post will offer you something a little different!
1. Endometriosis isn’t all about the uterus
In your Google travels you have probably seen that endometriosis is mostly described as being a disease caused by tissue that normally lines the uterus escaping into the pelvis. This is actually completely normal for women. Approximately 75% of women have been found to have such tissue partying in their pelvis and most do not have endometriosis. Thus, it may be that endometriosis is actually more about how the body processes this tissue; some people’s bodies may get rid of this tissue while others may not be able to. Time (and more research) will tell!
2. Endometriosis can be diagnosed in any woman (or man)
Endometriosis has been observed in girls and women of all ages, races and demographic backgrounds. It has also been observed in men (but this is quite rare).
3. Endometriosis does not equal infertility
Women with endometriosis appear to be more likely to have difficulty conceiving BUT (and this is a big but!) we don’t know how much more likely they are or why this might be. What we do know is that difficultly conceiving is actually quite common with about 9% of all couples (i.e. includes those without endometriosis) experiencing this. We also know that many women with endometriosis have unplanned pregnancies so it’s important to use contraception if you do not wish to become pregnant.
4. Endometriosis cannot be treated with pregnancy
You may have heard a doctor (or other health professional) recommend that you get pregnant because it might help your endometriosis. This recommendation is not based on scientific evidence. Some women feel better after pregnancy, some feel worse, and some notice no difference.
Is there anything else that you would like to know about endometriosis? Or that you wish others knew?
Image via Death to the Stock Photo.