5 myths about endometriosis – Harvard Health

Whereas endometriosis is a typical situation, affecting as many as one in each 10 American ladies, it’s complicated and sometimes misunderstood. Endometriosis happens when tissue very similar to the tissue that usually strains the uterus — referred to as the endometrium — begins to develop elsewhere within the physique. These growths could trigger ache, scarring, and, in some situations, infertility.

One research reveals it will probably take as much as seven years for a girl to get a analysis of endometriosis as a result of signs could mimic different frequent circumstances, resembling irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory illness. And misconceptions in regards to the illness, together with the 5 myths under, could hold some ladies from searching for assist. Discuss to your well being care crew in the event you’re involved about painful intervals or different doable signs of endometriosis, resembling long-lasting ache in your decrease again or pelvis.

5 myths — and the information — about endometriosis

Delusion 1: The signs are only a heavy interval. Girls with endometriosis typically assume that their signs are a traditional a part of menstruation, and after they do search assist they’re typically dismissed as overreacting to regular menstrual signs. However in truth, one thing far more critical is occurring than interval cramps. One principle is that the ache happens as a result of even when endometrium-like tissue is exterior the uterus, it continues to answer hormonal indicators and produce chemical compounds that trigger irritation and ache.

Throughout the course of the menstrual cycle, this endometrium-like tissue thickens and ultimately bleeds. However in contrast to endometrial tissue within the uterus, which is ready to drain by way of the vagina every month, blood from displaced tissue has nowhere to go. As a substitute, it swimming pools close to the affected organs and tissues, irritating and inflaming them. The result’s ache, and typically the event of scar tissue that may type an online, fusing organs collectively. This may occasionally result in ache with motion or sexual exercise.

Delusion 2: Endometriosis solely impacts the pelvic area. The commonest areas for endometriosis growths to happen are throughout the pelvis, resembling on the outer floor of the uterus, the bladder, and the fallopian tubes. However endometriosis could happen wherever within the physique. Not often, endometrium-like tissue has been discovered within the lungs, for instance.

Delusion 3: Endometriosis is at all times painful. Not everybody with endometriosis experiences ache. It’s not unusual for a girl to study she has endometriosis solely after she begins investigating why she is having problem getting pregnant. Endometriosis is the main reason for infertility in the US. Having the situation additionally will increase the probability of miscarriage and different issues in being pregnant. Nevertheless, the excellent news is that the overwhelming majority of girls with endometriosis are finally in a position to have a toddler.

Delusion 4: Endometriosis could be prevented. There’s no clearly understood trigger for endometriosis, so at this level there isn’t any recognized technique to stop it. Sure steps to assist decrease estrogen ranges within the physique can scale back your danger, in keeping with the US Workplace of Girls’s Well being. Estrogen can gasoline the expansion of endometriosis and amplify signs. You possibly can scale back your estrogen ranges by selecting a lower-estrogen contraception technique, shedding pounds in case you are chubby, and getting common train.

Delusion 5: Endometriosis at all times improves after menopause. Though endometriosis signs happen most frequently throughout menstruation, for some ladies they final effectively after month-to-month cycles finish. Even after a girl goes by way of menopause, the ovaries proceed to provide small quantities of estrogen. Endometriosis growths could proceed to answer the hormone, inflicting ache. So, whereas signs of endometriosis enhance in many ladies, menopause doesn’t convey aid to all. Some ladies who’ve gone by way of menopause could go for surgical procedures to take away endometriosis implants or adhesions, and even hysterectomy and oophorectomy (eradicating the ovaries). Nevertheless, these procedures will not be at all times profitable in controlling ache. Hormonal therapies, too, seem like much less efficient in ladies after menopause.

For details about treating endometriosis ache, see this submit from the Harvard Well being Weblog.

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