We all live in a world where talking about female reproductive health issues and diseases are more or less a taboo. So, more often than not we rely on the internet to get more information. While our mothers and sisters are great sources of knowledge, information, tricks, and tips, sometimes you just need a third party to tell you things that you may not have known about before. Which is why we are here talking about the phenomenon that is Endometriosis.
While you may know someone, a friend or family member who has Endometriosis, do you actually know what it is? Let’s shed some light.
Endometriosis is a common disorder in which endometrial-like tissue grows where it isn’t meant to be i.e. it is an abnormal growth of endometrial cells.
What is this Endometrial tissue that we’re talking about? It is the tissue that grows and sheds in the uterus when a fertilized egg is not implanted during a monthly cycle, the endometrial lining breaks down and is shed during menstruation.
While they should normally be only located in the uterus, in the case of endometriosis, they grow beyond the uterine cavity. In most cases, this growth happens in and around organs in the pelvic cavity. Abnormal endometrial cells can be located on the ovaries, outer uterine walls, and the fallopian tubes.
The tissue in endometriosis acts similarly to that inside the uterus: it grows, thickens, and tries to shed with every menstrual cycle. Since the tissue has no way of leaving the body, it can cause lesions, adhesions, and nodules which trigger an inflammatory response. This can lead to pain and other complications, like infertility.
According to available research, endometriosis may affect about 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. It can be a difficult condition to diagnose early because many people don’t have symptoms. Also, confirming such a diagnosis requires a surgical procedure. Endometriosis can affect any woman from the time she starts menstruating until she enters menopause. Childbirth doesn’t give immunity to this disease. Often occurring in places that have been previously operated on.
Why Is It Worse During Menstruation?
The pain faced with Endometriosis appears long before menstruation. Becoming more or less unbearable during menstruation, and fades once your period ends. This is because wherever the endometrial tissue is located, it goes through the same phases during the cycle as the endometrial tissue in the uterus. It reacts similarly to hormonal changes and gets rejected during menstrual periods causing a lot of pain.
The most typical manifestations of endometrial pain are:
During Menstruation: It embraces the entire pelvic region (genitalia, intestines)
During Ovulation: The pain is moderate (bearable), but it gets worse as menstruation approaches.
During Urination: The pain occurs if endometriosis is already widespread.
Endometriosis is a real and very unpleasant condition to deal with. But it’s not the end of the world. Consult your doctor if you suspect it, and even if you’re diagnosed, you can still live an active life, and be happy!