LIVING WELL WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS: WHAT YOU CAN DO
Endometriosis is a reproductive disease affecting approximately 176 million women and girls worldwide. With the potential to cause severe pelvic pain, infertility and a myriad of physical, sexual, emotional, academic, quality of life and career issues, endometriosis has also proven it is more than just “killer cramps.”
Qualitative studies indicate that a large number of women with endometriosis remain under-diagnosed, ineffectively treated and isolated as a result of the disease. In contrast to this stark picture painted of the disease, however, the profound endometriosis symptoms are actually quite treatable. With early diagnosis and timely intervention, there is help – and hope!
What Is Endometriosis?
During the normal menses or period, the female body naturally sheds the endometrium (the clinical term for the lining of the uterus). In women and girls with endometriosis, however, some of this menstrual fluid leaks back into the body and begins to implant in the surrounding areas. This aberrant tissue still responds to hormonal commands and grows, menstruates and sheds. Unlike normal endometrium, however, these implants have no way of exiting the body and subsequently give rise to the disease.
What Are Some Signs of Endometriosis?
Hallmark symptoms indicating that endometriosis should be considered as a possible diagnosis include:
- Painful menstruation; particularly severe cramping that lasts longer than 2 days
- Intermittent pelvic pain at any time in the cycle
- Painful intercourse
- Infertility and pregnancy loss
- Gastrointestinal and urinary tract difficulties
- Rectal pain
- Immune and allergy-related disorders