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11 Things Every Woman Needs to Know About Endometriosis

11 Things Every Woman Needs to Know About Endometriosis

From breast cancer to vaginal infections, women have a host of diseases to watch out for. Endometriosis is just one in the long list of many that affects more women than you imagined.

Endometriosis. A disorder of the uterus that can cause immense pain. As if we women don't have enough pain. But it's good to be aware of the disorder to prevent it, or at least treat it before it's too late. So here are some questions that you might have about the disease. 

1. What is endometriosis?

It is a disease that occurs when tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus starts to grow outside your uterus. That includes parts like your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and even your pelvis. 

2. How does it happen? 

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According to Medical News Today, this disorder which occurs during your menstrual cycle, causes displaced endometrial tissue to thicken, breaks down, and bleed. However, since there is nowhere for the tissue to go, it gets trapped. 

3. What happens to the trapped tissue? 

As a result of it having no place to exit the body, the surrounding tissue can become irritated. This can lead to eventual scar tissue formation and abnormal bands of fibrous tissue, which can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other, says Mayo Clinic. So not only do you have to deal with period cramps, you get to deal with this pain too. 

4. How many women are affected by this?

Endometriosis.org states that the disease affects an estimated 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years (ie. usually between the ages of 15 to 49), which is approximately 176 million women in the world. It can even start as early as a girl's first period. 

5. How will I know if I have endometriosis?

For many women, there are no symptoms that make themselves known. It is also why this disease is one of the three most misdiagnosed conditions for women. However, for those that do experience the symptoms, they include: 

- Painful periods

- Pain during intercourse

- Pain during urination or bowel movements

- Excessive bleeding

- Fatigue

- Bloating

- Nausea

6. What happens if I have this condition?

For one thing, your fertility can take a hit. It can also increase your risk of suffering from ovarian cancer. 

7. What are the stages of endometriosis?

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According to Medicine Net, the disorder can be classified into 4 stages based on certain factors like location, extent, presence of scar tissue and severity of the same:

I - minimal and II - mild wherein there is mild scarring and it's only on the superficial level.

III - moderate and IV - severe wherein cysts are formed and there is more severe scarring. 

Infertility is most common during stage IV endometriosis. 

8. What are the risk factors?

Mayo Clinic cites these as factors that can increase your chances of suffering from the condition:

- Never giving birth

- Starting your period at an early age

- Going through menopause at an older age

- Short menstrual cycles

- Heavy menstrual periods that last longer than seven days

- Genetics (if your female relatives are diagnosed with it)

-  Any medical condition that prevents the normal passage of menstrual flow out of the body

9. How can endometriosis be diagnosed?

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When you visit the doctor, they will use these methods to find out whether you have endometriosis:

- Pelvic exam - During the exam, your doctor will manually feel areas inside your pelvis for any abnormalities. 

- Ultrasound - Using high-frequency sound waves, they will create images of the inside of your body to check for cysts or scars.

- MRI - They will use this device to create detailed images of your organs and tissues. 

- Laparoscopy - In this method, your doctor will recommend a surgeon who will create a tiny incision near your navel. Then a slender viewing instrument (laparoscope) will be inserted to look for signs of endometrial tissues outside the uterus. 

10. Can it be treated?

Thankfully, endometriosis can be treated (you can breathe a sigh of relief). The methods include using pain medications, hormone therapy, surgery, and fertility treatment. However, all treatments will have to be prescribed by your doctor. 

11. Can endometriosis be prevented?

Due to the fact that there is no cause that can be pinpointed, there are no known ways to prevent the disease yet. Research is yet to find a cause. 

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354656

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354661

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/149109.php

https://www.medicinenet.com/endometriosis/article.htm

https://www.webmd.com/women/endometriosis/ss/slideshow-endometriosis-overview

https://www.webmd.com/women/endometriosis/understanding-endometriosis-symptoms

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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