Endometriosis. As a woman, you’ve probably heard of it before, know someone who has it, or perhaps you have the condition itself. The truth is that this painful condition affects more than 200 million women around the world, but there’s still a lack of understanding of what it is and its severity on women’s health.
This is why advocacy and research are key to helping alleviate women diagnosed with endometriosis. “Endometriosis remains underfunded and under-researched, greatly limiting our understanding of the disease and slowing much-needed innovation in diagnostic and treatment options,” according to an article from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Below we will talk about what endometriosis is and knock out some myths on the condition.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of a woman’s uterus, the endometrium, grows outside of the uterus. Symptoms of endometriosis often pop up around a woman’s period. Endometriosis happens when the hormone that typically triggers the thickening of your uterine lining will also then trigger thickening and bleeding in the tissue to grow outside of your uterus, like your ovaries or fallopian tubes.
When this happens it’s quite painful and can include some of the following common symptoms:
- Painful periods – this includes cramping and pelvic pain that starts days before your menstrual period starts and stays several days after.
- Excessive bleeding – besides having some painful cramps, you may have really heavy periods from time to time. You may also have bleeding between menstrual cycles.
- Painful bowel movements or urination – this symptom especially happens during your period.
- Painful intercourse – this is a common symptom for those who have endometriosis.
- Infertility – this is actually the symptom that provides an initial diagnosis of endometriosis for women.
Other symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, bloating or nausea — especially around your menstrual period. Depending on its severity, treatment is usually medication, surgery or both according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
It sounds like having a bad period…
As you can see, many of the common symptoms of endometriosis appear like having a “really bad period.” And while that can sometimes be the case, the fact is that 1 in 10 women of reproductive age can have endometriosis. As of right now, most women who are diagnosed are around their 30s to 40s. It also has not just a hefty physical toll on women, but a mental one as well.
Not being believed when you know something is wrong with your body can hurt your self-esteem and debilitating. It can cause doubt and make you feel crazy! We hope by writing this blog we can continue to advocate for women who don’t feel heard with this condition.
Here are a few other myth busters on the topic of endometriosis:
Myth: only older women can get endometriosis.
While women who are in their 30s to 40s are diagnosed with endometriosis, that doesn’t mean women younger can’t have it. In fact, young women do show signs of having this condition, but studies show that it can take up to 7 to 10 years to receive a diagnosis. That’s why it is so important to be upfront and frank about any issues with your reproductive health to your doctor. This is especially true with your gynecologist.
Also, consider the following facts and make sure you tell your doctor if:
- You have family members who have had it or currently have it.
- You have started your period at a young age.
- Your periods have been lasting longer than 7 days, and that’s happened more than once.
Myth: If I have endometriosis, I can’t get pregnant.
Not always true. There are many women who can have children with this condition. It just depends on how severe your condition is. Nonetheless, there are fertility treatments for those who suffer from endometriosis.
It’s that time again. For today’s Wino Gyno episode, we discuss Endometriosis & Fertility with Kate O’ Leary from the Institute for Reproductive Health. Have any questions? Let them down below our in our messages. Cheers! 🍷Special thanks to: The Wine Merchant
Posted by Mt. Auburn Obstetrics & Gynecology on Friday, March 6, 2020
As doctors we want you to feel empowered and supported! Your doctor can help with certain treatments to help you with fertility.
Myth: Heavy bleeding and/or bad cramps means you have endometriosis.
Not exactly, but it’s good that you’re noticing these factors in your body! Sometimes heavy bleeding or severe cramps could be pointing into a different kind of condition or perhaps a reaction (like a reaction to a change in medication). Now ask yourself: When you read this blog, are a lot of “alarm bells” are going off in your head and these symptoms sound familiar with what you’ve experienced?
If you’ve answered yes, definitely call up your gynecologist to get an evaluation and check-up.
We don’t want you to panic over the facts of endometriosis, but we also want to stop the cycle of “dismissal” with this condition. As doctors in this field, it is our duty and our goal to make you feel comfortable about informing us about your concerns — no matter how big or small. The sooner we can help you with diagnosing and treating a condition the faster we can help you live a happier, healthier life.
At Mt. Auburn, we are in this together. If you have any concerns or questions, give us a call or make an appointment.