The endometrium is a tissue and the blood that a woman normally sheds from her uterus monthly during her periods. But many women experience a condition where the tissue starts to grow outside the uterus and causes an inflammatory reaction resulting in scar tissues. This condition is called endometriosis and is a common issue seen among Australian women. More than 11% of them or 830,000 of the Australian female population suffer from the symptoms, often as early as their teenage years.
Although it is a known health issue, the causes and symptoms of endometriosis are elusive. As it involves multiple causal factors and symptoms, the diagnosis is challenging. It has led to numerous myths and misconceptions developing around it, causing harm to the female and the medical community as it may keep women from seeking help. This article takes a closer look at some of the myths surrounding the condition.
Myth: The Symptom of Heavy Flow is Just the Woman Having a Heavy Period
Women with issues regarding their endometrium experience symptoms of heavy flow, irregular bleeding and pain. They consider this to be a regular part of their menstruation. Or when they do seek help, their family or physicians may dismiss them for the same. But one must pay attention to these symptoms and get them checked as this pain could be occurring due to the endometrium-like tissue being outside the uterus, experiencing inflammation. Unlike the tissue-lined inside the uterus, the blood from the external tissue has nowhere to go, causing inflammation, irritation and scarring around the area, which can be painful.
Myth 2: The Symptoms Fade After Menopause
Although this condition usually occurs during menstruation, some women experience the symptoms well after completing their monthly cycles. One must note that, even when a woman undergoes menopause, the ovaries produce a small amount of estrogen, causing the endometrium to respond to the hormone and cause pain. Some women, therefore, opt to have surgeons surgically remove their endometrial implants. They even have a hysterectomy, oophorectomy or hormonal therapy to resolve the issues. But these do not guarantee the alleviation of pain.
Myth 3: The Condition Does Not Affect Pregnancy
About 50% of the women experiencing infertility have symptoms of the condition. But there are treatments available that can help women get pregnant. Up to 80% of women with mild symptoms have good chances of getting pregnant with minimal issues. Also, some women report the decrease of pain and symptoms after pregnancy due to the hormones and the drug treatments temporarily affecting it. There are high chances that they may start experiencing the symptoms again post-childbirth.
Myth 4: It Does Not Affect Young Women and Teenage Girls
A study conducted by the Global Study of Women’s Health showed that two-thirds of the women who reported the symptoms were under 30. But, many women and physicians believe that the condition is rare among girls and young women. Hence, they do not recommend tests for the same when they report heavy flow, pelvic pain, period pain and painful intercourse resulting in delayed diagnosis and treatment.
Myth 5: It is a Preventable Condition
As there is no clear known cause for endometriosis, the medical community does not have solutions for preventing it. Women can take steps to lower the estrogen level and reduce the risk, as the hormone can magnify the symptoms, but it is not definitive. Getting regular exercise and losing weight are also other ways of keeping the estrogen under check.
Those experiencing painful periods, long-lasting pain in the pelvis and lower back must consult their healthcare providers for a reliable diagnosis.