Today marks the start of Endometriosis Awareness Week, a scheme from Endometriosis UK to try and raise awareness of the condition.
Endometriosis is thought to affect 1 in 10 women in the UK, blighting them with crippling period pain, abnormal bleeding and irregular periods amongst other things.
As some of the symptoms are common in other hormonal disorders, getting a diagnosis can often be difficult, so it is important to raise awareness of this problem that affects over 2 million women in the UK alone.
Here’s a little more information about the most common symptoms, how you can get a diagnosis and treatments for endometriosis.
What is it?
Endometriosis happens when the lining of the womb becomes displaced and grows on other organs outside the womb, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes and even the bowels or lungs in some cases.
Every month, the linings of the womb thicken and shed the body as blood through your menstrual cycle if you don’t become pregnant, and the same occurs on the other organs affected by endometriosis.
As there is no way for the blood to escape from the other organs you may experience pain, swelling and scarring that can cause fertility problems. Women with endometrium tissue on the bowels may experience abnormal bleeding.
What are the symptoms?
There are many symptoms of endometriosis and you may experience lots, a few, or none at all. The severity of your symptoms does not necessarily reflect the severity of your endometriosis.
- Chronic Pelvic Pain
- Irregular bleeding or heavy periods
- Pain during sex
- Painful bowel movements
- Swelling of the lower abdomen
How is it diagnosed?
Diagnosis is normally made by the nature of your symptoms and can be confirmed by a laparascopy, a procedure done under general anaesthetic, where a camera is inserted into the pelvis through the belly button to look around the organs for signs of endometriosis.
Is there a cure?
There’s no cure for endometriosis but it is manageable, with women often treated using the contraceptive pill to regulate the cycle and hormones, while surgery is also an option. Hysterectomies can be considered in severe cases. Diet is also thought to have an impact on the symptoms of endometriosis, with many women finding that the anti-candida diet is effective in easing theirs. Check back tomorrow for more information on how to ease endometriosis through diet.
For more information and support visit the Endometriosis UK website.