What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition that affects 6-10% of menstruating women. It occurs when the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, grows elsewhere in the pelvic cavity (or outside of the uterus) and/or within other organs, like the ovaries or fallopian tubes.
Because the endometrium in these areas isn’t expelled during menstruation, it can lead to the development of cysts, lesions and other changes in the body tissue.
Symptoms of endometriosis can include, pain during menstruation, fertility issues, nausea, painful intercourse and low-grade fevers. Pelvic pain can also often occur in a pattern unrelated to the menstrual cycles.
Common Endometriosis Myths
Let’s take a look at some of the most common myths surrounding endometriosis and how they might affect you both as a woman and as a potential mother:
1) Fiction: Endometriosis means you can never conceive
Fact: Although endometriosis can affect your fertility, it doesn’t necessarily mean that falling pregnant will be completely impossible.
Many women with endometriosis will still be able to conceive naturally, while others may experience improved fertility following treatment and/or surgery. Other women with endometriosis have also experienced success with in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
If you are trying to conceive, the best way to deal with endometriosis is to speak to a doctor or gynaecologist immediately.
2) Fiction: Endometriosis will harm my baby
Fact: There is no definitive evidence to suggest that endometriosis will harm your baby during pregnancy. It is perfectly possible that a mother with endometriosis will experience a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby.
3) Fiction: The cause of endometriosis is a complete mystery
Fact: While there is no definitive evidence around what causes endometriosis, many doctors believe it is caused by a range of factors, such as:
- High levels of Estrogen
- A certain genetic makeup; family history is a known risk factor, and women who have a mother/sister/aunt with the condition are more likely to be sufferers themselves
- Retrograde menstruation
- Individual problems with blood, lymph and immune systems
4) Fiction: Intense period pain is normal
Fact: As almost all women experience menstrual pain and cramping, many endometriosis sufferers believe their symptoms are normal. However, it is not normal for period pain to be so severe and debilitating that it interferes with or prevents participation in daily life, such as attending school or work, socialising or even going for a walk.
If pain during your menstruation is severe, it is possible that you have endometriosis. You should see your doctor or gynaecologist as soon as possible.
5) Fiction: Endometriosis will disappear after pregnancy
Fact: Many women experience a reprieve from the effects of endometriosis while pregnant, as during this time the normal hormonal cycle is paused. However, once the baby is born and the menstrual cycle returns, the errant endometrial cells will usually resume their usual response to the hormones.
6) Fiction: Endometriosis is untreatable
Fact: There are many treatment options for endometriosis. Keyhole surgery is often necessary for diagnosis and treatment, and is a common solution for women who are trying to fall pregnant. Hormonal treatments can also help by inhibiting the growth of errant endometrial cells and preventing reoccurrence after surgery.
A leading gynaecologist in the Castle Hill area, Dr. Matthew Wilson is experienced in treating women and to-be mothers with endometriosis.
To book an appointment today, contact Dr Wilson on 02 9680 9669 or [email protected].