You may not have heard of endometriosis, but it is a condition that many women in India suffer from. Endometriosis is a condition when the endometrial tissue (which grows inside the uterus) is found outside it. It can get trapped in the abdomen or the pelvic area.
Endometriosis is hard to diagnose because some women don’t have any symptoms, some have mild symptoms and some have very severe symptoms. Usually,the diagnosis of endometriosis is done when the symptoms get severe. Many women are never even diagnosed.
Dr Madhvi Karol, based in Delhi ,explains, “It is mainly deposition of normal endometrial tissues in abnormal places like the vagina, ovaries or anywhere outside the uterus. Rarely, it can be deposited in the intestines, breast or even in scar tissues. It happens to women between the ages of 25-35 and can be associated with infertility.”
Endometriosis can be extremely painful for some women. Sometimes Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can also progress into endometriosis. Therefore, it is best to get a check-up done by your gynaecologist so that you can diagnose it early.
Here are a few things all women should know about endometriosis:
It is common
Endometriosis, although not well known, it is quite common. In fact, celebrities like Katrina Kaif, Celina Jaitley, Dolly Parton, Lena Dunham have all battled endometriosis at some point in their lives. There is not much information and awareness out there about endometriosis like there is about polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Symptoms can be painful
Symptoms can include you being exhausted all the time, severe cramps during your period, heavy flows, painful sexual intercourse and pain in your thighs, abdomen, hips and back. Some women need to take time off from work when they are on their period because it is hard to function with so much pain.
Diagnosis can be hard
Endometriosis is hard to diagnose, and therefore it can be mistaken for other diseases. Lena Dunham, wrote a post about her struggles with endometriosis where she said that when taken to the hospital for the pain, it was mistaken for food poisoning, “During the worst of it, my father brought me to the ER, where they prodded my appendix and suggested it might be food poisoning and that we should go home and wait it out. My mother placed a pillow under my lower back, and I moaned in the guest room, where no one could hear me.”
There is no ‘cure’
Endometriosis doesn’t actually have a cure. There is only treatment. The symptoms can be managed with medicines such as pain killers. However, if it is severe, you can talk to your doctor about laparoscopy, which is a surgery used to remove mild endometriosis.
Dr Madhvi adds, “The treatment for endometriosis is mainly medical and conservative. Oral contraceptives and hormones are helpful in some cases. Sometimes, surgery is required if medical treatment fails, but recurrence is still high post surgery. However, when a woman reaches menopause, her symptoms are relieved.”
Doctors don’t know why it happens
There is no ‘reason’ why endometriosis affects some women. It is something that just happens. There is a lot of research going on about this topic, and doctors are hoping to find better treatments for the diseases.
Pic credits: Body and Soul