If you haven’t heard of Endometriosis before, you NEED to know about this – everybody needs to know about this.
This is not just a woman’s issue. Men need to know about this too if they have girls and women in their lives that they care about. Your mother, sister, partner, friend or colleague could have this condition, and chances are, it is actually very likely that at least one person you know has it. If someone important to you has Endometriosis, it is an issue that will affect you too.
So, what is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a common condition where the tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found growing outside of the uterus, where it shouldn’t be. It can cause inflammation, cysts or nodules to form anywhere within the pelvic region; on the ovaries, bowel, bladder, uterus and more. As you can imagine, this can cause chronic pain for the person that has it and they may not even know that this is caused by Endometriosis.
Symptoms (taken from nzendo.org.nz)
- pain with periods (dysmenorrhoea). Often the most common symptom
- bowel problems like bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, pain with bowel movements, painful wind (sometimes diagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
- sub-fertility or infertility
- tiredness and low energy
- pain in other places such as the lower back
- pain at other times e.g. with ovulation or intermittently throughout the month
- premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This might make you feel moody, emotional or irritable
- abnormal menstrual bleeding
- bladder troubles like interstitial cystitis (IC)
Discomfort with periods is often normal, distress is never normal.
Pain during sexual intercourse or afterwards can be common. Internal examination and / or cervical smear can also be painful.
Do any of these symptoms sound like you or somebody that you know?
Off the top of my head, I can think of about 5 people that I know that has Endometriosis, and there are probably more that I don’t know about. I have heard and read so many stories about women that have said they have suffered through years of this condition whilst being undiagnosed or even misdiagnosed by doctors.
It is such a common condition, it affects over 176 million women worldwide, and yet so little is known about it. And there is no known cure. Even after multiple operations to get the cysts and/or nodules removed, it can still come back.
If you suspect that you or someone you know may have Endometriosis, please get it checked out. Even if doctors think it’s something else, or that you’re ‘too young’ or ‘too old’ to have it, keep looking for a doctor or gynaecologist who knows about Endometriosis and can help you. This disease is too awful to have to handle on your own or to suffer in silence.
Awareness is always the first step, so make sure to spread the word!