Endometriosis affects around one in ten women in the UK. The fact that this condition is so common would make you think that getting a diagnosis is quick and simple, but this is not the case. In fact, it actually takes around eight years on average for someone to be diagnosed with endometriosis, and it can even sometimes be longer. This means thousands of women are suffering for eight years without any support or help. There are a few reasons as to why diagnosis takes so long, and part of it is because the symptoms of endometriosis overlap significantly with menstrual pain. This means when a woman goes to the doctor complaining of pain, doctors dismiss it as general menstrual cramps. Hopefully, this treatment of endometriosis will change in the next few years, but it is difficult to say. If you want to learn more about the condition, keep on reading to find out everything you need to know about endometriosis.
What Are The Symptoms
As mentioned, a lot of the symptoms of endometriosis do overlap with menstrual cramps, which is why the condition takes a while to be diagnosed. In addition to this, the symptoms caused by endometriosis can sometimes be worse or only occur during menstruation, so it is difficult to decipher which is which. People who have periods are very good at knowing what pain is related to their period and what pain is clearly something else. Not being listened to by doctors can make it incredibly frustrating, as you know when something is wrong with your body. So, let’s get into some of the symptoms:
Heavier bleeding during periods
Bleeding outside of the menstrual cycle
Pain during sex
Pain after sex
Pelvic pain/lower back pain/ tummy pain
Bowel issues- diarrhoea, constipation
Nausea and vomiting
Failure to conceive
So, as you can see, a lot of these symptoms are very similar to the symptoms people experience during periods. However, if you start to notice that a few of these symptoms are new in your menstrual cycle, then it could be a good idea to go get it checked out by a doctor. Additionally, if you have always suffered from these sorts of issues, then you absolutely need to get it checked out. A little pain during your menstrual cycle is normal, but you should never be crippling over in pain. If you can, make an appointment with your doctor and keep on pushing to get some answers.
What Is The Cause Of Endometriosis
Endometriosis happens when tissue forms in areas of the body like the pelvis, bowels and ovaries. The tissue that forms ends up damaging the area, which causes the individual serious pain. During a menstrual cycle, the pelvis, bowels, and ovaries are affected a lot, which is why during a period, your endometriosis pain can worsen. The reason why this excess tissue form is still relatively unknown is largely due to the fact that there hasn’t been enough research into the topic. It is believed that genetics, imbalance of hormones, and a weak immune system, can all be factors in developing endometriosis. Endometriosis is not something that will go away on its own. If it is left untreated, endometriosis can lead to some serious medical issues. One major issue for many people is that it can cause infertility which is why getting it treated is so important. Another thing that can happen if you do not get treatment is cysts can form within the ovaries and block the fallopian tubes. Not only this, but endometriosis can affect the bowels and pelvis too, so you may also struggle with bladder and intestinal issues. It is clear that endometriosis can have serious consequences on a woman’s life, This is why it is important that doctors diagnoses quickly, so they can receive appropriate treatment.
Diagnosis And Treatment
We know by now that getting an endometriosis diagnosis can take up to eight years, meaning that many women suffer in silence for almost a decade. While this lack of diagnosis is sometimes the fault of an incompetent doctor, it would be unfair to place all of the blame on them. Often, when symptoms overlap with other ‘normal’ things like a menstrual cycle, it can be very difficult to split the two apart and establish which is an abnormal experience.
Your genetic history and previous medical history can both be factors that can help with diagnosing endometriosis. If you have been diagnosed, then your doctor may recommend taking some ibuprofen as a way to manage the pain and reduce the inflammation. Hormone treatment is another way to help with endometriosis, so you may be prescribed some form of contraception. The only way surgery will be considered, will be if the endometriosis is very severe. During the surgery, they will try to remove the endometrial tissue as much as they can. This is not a cure, but it can help a lot
of people who are suffering in pain from endometriosis.