ENDOMETRIOSIS: BEYOND SYMPTOMS AND ASSUMPTIONS
Good day bloggers.
The month of March is observed all over the world as an endometriosis awareness month. While reading many recent journals for updates, and guidelines, we were getting updated about numbers, the gravity of endometriosis and the challenges ahead of us.
While being in clinical practice where every patient is unique and the symptoms appear to be as diverse as non-menstrual abdominal or pelvic pain, Infertility, Painful sex, or bowel-related symptoms, Bladder pain along with Lower back pain, Bloating, and consistent fatigue.
Endometriosis may be at the root of all of these symptoms, sometime in silent form or may be intense in the future and as the disease may present in different ways in different individuals. Unbearable pain is a constant complaint in the above cases.
Very difficult to diagnose based on a few scans and tests along with silence to bear with situations makes it hard for all. We are here to put the concerns of endometriosis beyond assumptions.
Let us find out more about endometriosis.
What is endometriosis?
ENDOMETRIOSIS is a condition where endometrial tissues and adhesions are found outside of the uterus and these cells respond to hormonal changes as if, they are within a uterus. such cells may be found in the bladder, pelvic region and bowel and other organs too. Such lesions of endometriosis get attached to other organs too. Such conditions then can cause intense pain as well as inflammation.
Endometriosis is not a period disease.
Unlike during regular periods, the pain of endometriosis isn’t caused by contractions of the uterus, but instead, comes from uterus tissue growing elsewhere in the pelvic cavity. This inflammation often results in a lot of pain. The intense pain from endometriosis can occur regularly, even in the absence of a menstrual cycle. Menstrual pain can be managed with over-the-counter pain killers whereas endometriosis pain is severe and may not be managed with over-the-counter painkillers alone. Period pain is labelled as dysmenorrhea and goes away after the periods.
It is a spectrum disease with a variety of subtypes and symptoms like pain, inflammation, infertility, development of endometriomas (“chocolate cysts”), fibrosis, formation of adhesions (fibrous bands of dense tissue), Gastrointestinal and other organ dysfunction, and much more, are common with endometriosis.
Detection of endometriosis takes time:
The real reason behind this lengthy detection is symptoms which are many and every patient may have different complaints. The silence kept over the symptoms often causes a delay in seeing an expert. To understand endometriosis, let us know about symptoms which cannot be ignored and can help to seek the help of an expert.
Symptoms often reported but not limited to are,
Pelvic Pain in the abdomen, Painful intercourse and sexual activity, Leg pain, lower back pain etc. Most of the time, symptoms appear to be on the surface and are mild. As time passes, lesions go deeper and chronic symptoms become noticeable. Does it mean, every symptom is of endometriosis? No. Rather, put it like this. We need to know, what is normal and what not so normal or causing concern is. Watch out for the symptom intensity, duration, frequency, medication response, and symptoms’ reoccurrence. Make a note of it and keep it handy as it can form the basis of the right history taking.
So, when should you go to the doctor?
If the pain is severe and comes days before the period and persists after the period, then it could be endometriosis. See a gynaecologist and get tested. Another indication is if the pain doesn’t go away after taking painkillers or other analgesic pills, or over the period, intensity, duration & episodes increase with time.
Endometriosis is certainly not in your head, and we hear your silence.
Let’s understand that pain has intensity and every individual has a different tolerance capacity. That is why we at Pearl Women’s hospital understand your pain and developed a protocol to address your concerns. We understand pain as an obstacle that affects your daily routine and needs prompt treatment.
Endometriosis slowly and steadily takes over the body, intensity increases over time. You may be scaling new highs on the personal as well as professional front while being with endometriosis. Gold standard Laparoscopic examination may confirm the diagnosis and we understand, not all illnesses are visible and still be powerful to affect lives.
Let the silence be deleted and let’s practically know more about endometriosis.
Endometriosis is rare, what is your take?
Endometriosis is not rare as there is 10% of women suffer from it, which means 1 out of 10 women suffer from it.
Endometriosis is now a commonly diagnosed condition in gynaecology and you are not alone. The cases like PCOS and uterine fibroids are widely seen and spoken about but with endometriosis, the case is different. As there is no defined biomarker or blood test which can reveal endometriosis, its severity and progression. It simply does not mean, there is no progress in understanding disease in depth. There are multidisciplinary approaches to reducing effective symptoms.
After detection and with a surgical approach, can endometriosis be cured?
Currently, there is no cure for endometriosis, there are treatments available to reduce the symptoms and their intensity. The key whole surgery is still major surgery. There are multiple options available to control symptoms like medications, IUDs, surgeries, Pelvic floor physiotherapy, Prescription pain killers, supplements etc.
Your treatment plan will be tailor-made as per your conditions and may not be identical to others,
Be gentle to yourself. It ok, if you are not performing at your best sometimes.
Let’s understand some facts in a nutshell
As of now, Endometriosis has no cure but effective treatments are available which offer relief.
Endometriosis is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disease.
Treatment for endometriosis is not the same or one size fits all approach.
Pregnancy is not a cure for endometriosis
Birth control can offer temporary relief.
The right diagnosis at right time is the key which helps in the faster and more effective treatment
The silence over endometriosis is a matter of concern
A lot needs to be done and the least we can do is, seek the guidance of the right doctor.