Tuesday, May 31, 2011

On a more serious note...

I don’t normally blog about very serious topics, but it has been a year since I was diagnosed with stage 3-4 Endometriosis, and so I decided to try and create some awareness about it as before I was diagnosed, I had never even heard of Endometriosis and knowledge on this condition could help many women, as it did me. Sorry it’s a bit gory, but its necessary to understand the severity of Endometriosis.
When a woman has endometriosis, the endometrial stroma and glands (which should be located only inside the uterus) are also found outside the uterus. Endometriosis lesions can be found anywhere in the pelvic cavity, including all the reproductive organs as well as on the bladder, bowel, intestines, colon, or appendix.
The main symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain. The pain often correlates to the menstrual cycle, but a woman with endometriosis may also experience pain that doesn’t correlate. For many women, the pain of endometriosis is so severe and debilitating that it impacts their lives in significant ways. Endometriosis can also cause scar tissue and adhesions to develop that can distort a womans internal anatomy. In advanced stages, internal organs may fuse together, causing a condition known as a "frozen pelvis."
It is estimated that 30-40% of women with endometriosis are infertile.
The cause of endometriosis remains unknown. Although several theories have been promoted, none explains all cases of endometriosis. We do know, however, that this disease process is not brought on by anything a woman does or doesn’t do.  
The symptoms of endometriosis vary greatly from woman to woman, but may include one or more of the following:
  • Pain with menstruation (more than mild cramps)
  • Painful sexual intercourse, especially with deep penetration
  • Painful urination 
  • Back pain before and during menstruation
  • Leg pain before and during menstruation
  • Abdominal swelling and bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting, especially when associated with the menstrual cycle
  • Fatigue
  • Heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding
  • Infertility
  • Shoulder pain during menstruation 
Endometriosis symptoms are often worse before and during menstruation. However, many women with endometriosis experience pain at other times also. Some women experience endometriosis pain that is not related to their menstrual cycle.

Additionally, some women with endometriosis don't have any symptoms and may not know they have endometriosis until a problem, such as infertility, is discovered. The extent of endometriosis has no correlation to the amount of pain a woman will experience.
There are a few different types of treatment for Endometriosis which include some medicines, the contraceptive Pill, or surgery. After exhausting all the treatments, I had to have surgery to remove the Endometriosis, which covered a large portion of my ovaries and bladder.
If you or someone you care about has endometriosis, it is important to research the disease as much as possible. Many myths and misconceptions about endometriosis still persist, even in medical literature. For many women, management of this disease may be a long-term process. Therefore, it is important to educate yourself, take the time to find a good doctor, and join a support group. 

When I think about what I went through, I realise how important it is to spread awareness about Endometriosis to men and women, as so many women have it and don’t do anything to fix it because they are uneducated on the disease. Although it is a scary thing, if found early enough, it can be handled correctly and have less of an impact on your life and fertility.  
If we all help spread awareness about this disease we can help save so many women from the threat of infertility and really make a difference in so many people’s lives.

1 comment:

Hugo "Ginmau" Froes said...

Hey Cous, sorry to hear, had no idea and thanks for the info, it was very eye opening.