Do you find yourself in severe pain during your menstrual cycle? Are your cramps so painful that it interrupts your normal daily activities? Is your menstruation heavy or irregular? Has infertility been an issue that you are struggling with?
If the answer is “yes” to all of the questions, you may be suffering from endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a chronic (meaning it doesn’t ever go away) condition found in women when the uterine or endometrial lining, that should only be found in the uterus begins to grow in other areas of the body outside of the uterus. These tissues that grow outside of the uterus can be endometrial implants, lesions (nodules), and adhesions (scar tissue bands that bind two organs together). The tissues that grow outside of the uterus can commonly be found on the ovaries, pelvic side wall, fallopian tubes, c section and laparoscopic scars, bladder, bowel, intestines, colon, and appendix. In rare cases, lesions have been found in the lungs and trachea.
Over one hundred million women suffer from this disease. Studies show that approximately 10% of all women in the world suffer from endometriosis.
There are 4 stages of endometriosis: Minimal (stage 1) no consequential implants and no minimal adhesions; Mild (stage 2) superficial implants with a diameter measuring less than 5 cm with no consequential adhesions; Moderate (stage 3) multiple deep implants with small cysts on either or both ovaries with light adhesions; Severe (stage 4) multiple deep implants, large cysts on either or both ovaries, with thick adhesions.
Symptoms of endometriosis include: extremely painful periods with cramping pain during menstruation and other times of the cycle, infertility, constipation, diarrhoea, lower back pain, fatigue, nausea, headaches, heavy and irregular bleeding, pain during intercourse, and pain while urinating or passing a bowel movement.
Although endometriosis is very common, it can be difficult to diagnose. My personal diagnosis took over 10 years which is not uncommon. So how is endometriosis diagnosed? The only way to officially diagnose endometriosis is by biopsy via laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is an invasive, surgical procedure when a fiber optic camera is inserted through the abdominal wall and a sample of tissue, or biopsy, is taken for testing. Although there are other non-invasive, or non-surgical procedures available to diagnose the condition, such as ultrasound, MRI scans, and gynaecological exams, the only way to have an absolute and accurate diagnosis is with a laparoscopy.
The cause of endometriosis remains unknown and unfortunately does not have a cure. There are many ways to manage the condition though which I discuss in my other blogs. The main thing is to not worry about the condition, but to educate yourself and empower yourself to take control of the illness as much as you possibly can. The NHS website give a great overview of the condition.
Much Love and Health,