As defined by the Mayo Clinic, endometriosis is a disorder of the female reproductive system that involves endometrium, which typically lines the uterus, growing in other places it normally would not. A lot of times this condition causes extreme pain but in some cases, the pain will be only mild or moderate. When discomfort is present, it more than likely is experienced during monthly periods, sex, bowel movement or urination. The sufferer may also experience excessive bleeding during her menstrual cycle, and infertility.
Scientists noticed that the following factors seem to increase the risks of having endometriosis:
If you’ve never had a baby
If your mother has endometriosis
If your menstrual cycle is shorter than 27 days and you bleed longer than eight days
If you have had a previous condition that prevents normal menstrual flow
If you have experienced damage to cells that line the pelvis due to an infection
If you are Asian or white
A devastating complication for an endometriosis sufferer is infertility. Even though you may get pregnant with this condition, it can be very difficult. As a result, doctors usually will advise those with endometriosis to have children as soon as they can because this condition tends to worsen with time. Additionally, having endometriosis does not lead to cancer or even increase the risk of developing cancer.
Once endometriosis is suspected, your doctor may perform a pelvic exam, vaginal or pelvic ultrasound and/or a laparoscopy. When a diagnosis is confirmed, treatment for the pain will be emphasized first. Initially, over-the-counter pain relievers are suggested but if these types of drugs are ineffective, hormone therapy is another option. When the hormone levels fluctuate, it may cause the endometrium to grow in places it shouldn’t. Consequently, hormone therapy tends to decrease this pain.
The two other options are conservative surgery and a hysterectomy. Conservative surgery removes the endometrium from the outside areas and allows the woman to become pregnant, leaving all reproductive organs in place. The very last option would be a hysterectomy. This would be in the case of severe endometriosis and when all other choices are tried.
Think about your options, and talk openly about this to your partner and medical team. Remember, pain management is very crucial. But most of all, your mental and emotional health needs will have to be addressed and respected.
Best in health!
Resource: The Mayo Clinic
Dita Faulkner is a freelance writer who loves advocating the truth!