What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is one of the most common chronic hormonal disorders affecting women in reproductive age, affecting up to 10% of women.
Endometriosis has been described as an autoimmune condition where endometrial tissue typically grows on the outside of the uterus instead of on the inside. The tissue is most commonly found around the organs in the pelvis, but can grow anywhere on the body, turning into growths and lesions in the intestines, bladder, rectum, even as far up as the nose!
Endometrial tissue typically responds to the changes in our hormones across each phase of our cycle, as it would if it was in our uterus. Endometriosis sufferers usually have excess estrogen in relation to progesterone, which drives the ongoing hormonal imbalance.
The primary symptoms are pelvic pain and infertility, as well as painful periods, painful sex and painful urination.
There are four stages of severity to endometriosis; ranging from stage one: minimal endometriosis to stage four: severe endometriosis. The level of severity depends on the number, size and location of adhesions and endometrial tissue.
Diagnosis is usually done through a surgical laparoscopy.
Getting a diagnosis
Did you know that it can take up to 7.5 years and sometimes even 10 years to get a full endometriosis diagnosis?
It’s so important for women to feel confident about advocating for themselves in medical situations and empowered to ask the right questions so that we get the answers and diagnosis we deserve.
Pain is not normal and is a sign that something is wrong. If you’re experiencing pain, never let someone tell you that it’s all in your head! You know your body best!
Endometriosis pain can be severe and it can be systemic, with inflamed endometrial tissue appearing outside of the uterus.
If a doctor tries to minimise your pain, then get a second, third or fourth opinion. Do what it takes to get a medical professional that will listen to you, take what you say seriously and help you find the answers you need and deserve.
Do your research. Knowledge is power and will help you advocate for better health outcomes.
Keep track of how you feel and your pain levels, so you’re armed with evidence that will help you fight your corner.
Most of all, be relentless in your pursuit of good health.
Do you want help improving endometriosis pain? My short e-book, ‘Six Ways To Fix Your Period Pain‘ will give you practical tips to change your period for the better.