Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash
Serious as a heart attack!
A condition that affects 10% of women with cramping that can be as painful as a heart attack, happening month after month and remains undiagnosed for seven and a half years on average. Sounds absolutely crazy doesn't it? But that is what this article says about endometriosis.
So what exactly is this elusive condition?
But here is the really weird part; the displaced endometrial tissue also thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle, just like the lining inside the uterus, but unlike the lining inside the uterus, it has no way to exit the body and is trapped. Yes, it does sound like something out of science fiction, but it is absolutely true. On the bright side, although endometrial implants can be problematic in many ways, they are usually non-cancerous.
Many of the symptoms of endometriosis are common conditions and it is often confused with irritable bowel syndrome, or pelvic inflammatory disease or ovarian cysts. Laparoscopy, a minor surgical procedure, which may require general anesthesia, is the only reliable way to diagnose all types of endometriosis, but imaging using trans-vaginal ultrasound has improved significantly since 2009 and should be considered first, to improve the success of a laparoscopy.
Long term effects of endometriosis
Apart from being painful and uncomfortable, endometriosis can create long term problems like reduced fertility and result in an increased risk of pregnancy complications including an ectopic pregnancy. It can also cause ovarian cysts and result in adhesions that cause organs to stick to each other.
Although endometric implants are not cancerous, and having endometriosis does not increase the risk of endometrial cancer, surprisingly, women with endometriosis are at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Endometriosis cannot really be cured, but seeking early treatment helps reduce the long term risks and can go a long way towards improving the quality of life. There are three categories of treatment available, namely: pain relief, hormonal and surgical. Each of these categories covers several options and the suitable treatment must be discussed with a health care provider taking in to consideration the severity of the condition and risks involved in the treatment.
If any of you have endometriosis, please share your experiences. How did you get diagnosed and do you have any tips for dealing with it? Thank you.
I am thrilled to be participating of the A to Z blogging challenge 2018.