As if girls didn’t already have it hard enough—insert Endometriosis.
Endometriosis is an extremely common gynecological disorder that 1 in 10 women (or anyone with a female-assigned reproductive system) face. According to Healthline, this disorder occurs when endometrial tissue grows outside the uterine walls like in the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, bladder, and in rare cases, the tissue grows outside the pelvic area. This disorder can cause extreme pain in the pelvic region, menstruation and even cause fertility problems.
The cause of this condition is still yet to be exactly determined by health professionals, but some of the leading issues thought to trigger this disorder are retrograde menstruation, genetic factors, immune system issues, hormones and surgery according to the Office of Women’s Health.
Endometriosis can cause an array of issues that are similar to that of stomach issues or bowel syndromes or even ovarian cysts, making some cases difficult to diagnose at first. Many women undergo an ultrasound after these issues arise, but the only way doctors can fully diagnose someone with endometriosis is through a laparoscopy, which is deemed by many as a minimally invasive procedure where the anesthetic is needed.
Regularly going to your gynecologist and listening to what your body is telling you is extremely important. Being honest about your menstrual cycle and pain levels only helps you in the long run and can prevent you from holding off an early diagnosis.
Endometriosis has four different stages and upon coming to a diagnosis, your doctor will let you know what stage that you’re in. According to Dr. Seckin, a gynecologist who specializes in endometriosis surgery in New York City states that the stages are not based on pain but on fertility levels instead. Stage I is considered the mild stage, stage II is minimal, stage III is moderate and stage IV is considered severe.
Symptoms of endometriosis could include extremely painful menstrual cramps, long-term pain in the pelvic region, intestinal pain, and pain during or after sex. Some other common symptoms are bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods, digestive problems, fatigue and in some extreme cases infertility.
Of course, people experience some of these symptoms from time to time, that is why it may be a good idea to keep track of how often they occur and talk to your gynecologist about it.
Unfortunately, there is no one cure for endometriosis as of now but there are some ways to help minimize the pain and other symptoms. Different over-the-counter medications and birth control have been said to help many of the symptoms revolving around endometriosis. For severe symptoms, many people opt for surgery to remove the built-up endometrial tissue when all other options aren’t providing relief or fertility becomes an issue.
Taking Extra Care
From classes to work and relationships, endometriosis can affect your everyday life. Endometriosis is a chronic and painful condition, so if you’re experiencing major symptoms don’t be afraid to take some time to care for yourself. If you need to take a few days off, then do it as your physical health is especially important. Although endometriosis isn’t an illness that is necessarily visible, it’s just as important in recognizing that it isn’t just “normal period pain.” Exercising, eating right and following extra steps to make sure you’re feeling well is vital in caring for yourself.
If you have endometriosis, it’s important to remind yourself that you’re not alone. Many celebrities such as Halsey, Whoopi Goldberg, Chrissy Teigen and Julianne Hough have all spoken out about their experience with endometriosis.
Chrissy Teigen shared her journey with endometriosis after she had surgery to help ease some of the pain.
In 2018, Halsey gave a speech during the Endometriosis Foundation of America’s Blossom Ball where she accepted The Blossom Award. She gave an honest and heartfelt speech about her personal experience with endometriosis and the leading cause of her diagnosis.
This condition ranges from woman to woman, so your symptoms and experience may be different than someone else’s, but it’s important to recognize that they are equally just as important.