Endometriosis is a medical condition that occurs in women and affects the reproductive system, causing tissue that usually lines the inside of the uterus to grow outside the uterus. The two main symptoms of endometriosis are pain and infertility, and the tissue associated with the condition are usually referred to as endometriosis patches, implants, nodules, or lesions. The disease is often found on or under the ovaries, on the fallopian tubes, behind the uterus, on the tissues that hold the uterus in place, on the bowels or bladder, and in some rare cases on the lungs or in other parts of the body.
There is currently no cure for endometriosis, but there are treatments that ease the symptoms. The causes for the development of endometriosis are not fully understood, but there are theories about it.
How common is endo?
six and 10% of women who are of reproductive age suffer from endometriosis — the equivalent to five million women in the US alone. Hence the popular slogan, 1 in 10. (via www.endometriosisnews.com)
Is there a cure?
No, however there are several options for symptom management, it is often a long journey of trial and error to see what works for each woman.
What are common symptoms of endo?
In addition to pain and infertility, the symptoms of the disease include painful, even debilitating, menstrual cramps that can get worse over time, pain during or after sex, pain in the intestine or lower abdomen, painful bowel movements or painful urination during menstrual periods, heavy menstrual periods, premenstrual spotting or bleeding between periods, painful bladder syndrome, digestive or gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, tiredness, and lack of energy. (via www.endometriosisnews.com)
How can I be diagnosed?
Currently the only way to get an accurate endometriosis diagnosis is via laparoscopic surgery. It is usually called an exploratory surgery, if they see endometriosis, they will then excise it or remove it via ablation. `
Scans such as an ultrasound and MRI are often done as it will occasionally show up on there, but it also lets a doctor know if there are cysts or adenomyosis they need to be aware of also when performing surgery.
What kind of surgery is best for endo?
The gold standard is excision surgery. This removes the lesions entirely opposed to just burning them off. Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease so often times ablation just exacerbates the disease.
More info on this here: https://www.obgproject.com/2017/06/11/laparoscopic-excision-vs-ablation-treating-endometriosis-associated-pain/
*Before trying any drug for endometriosis please research it extensively as the most commonly prescribed drug has many negative side effects and they’re often irreversible.
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Below are websites that were integral in helping me advocate for myself when realizing how debilitating this disease can become. I still refer to these and try and educate myself as much as I possibly can. They are discovering stuff almost daily about this disease. Your best course of action is to stay on top of what is happening and then advocate for yourself. Knowledge really is power when it comes to this disease! You are your own best resource and advocate!