Infor¬≠ma¬≠tion about endometrio¬≠sis: 6 ques¬≠tions and answers

by Britta
Endometriose, unknown disease, nicht die Regel, endometriosis, severe period pain, Information about Endometriosis, Vulvani

If the title also makes you won¬≠der what endometrio¬≠sis actu¬≠ally is and you don‚Äôt have a good answer, then you are not alone. Endometrio¬≠sis is a rather unknown dis¬≠ease, but the ‚ÄėEndo-March‚Äô is sup¬≠posed to change that. Here you can find our first arti¬≠cle about endometrio¬≠sis, includ¬≠ing an expla¬≠na¬≠tion and def¬≠i¬≠n¬≠i¬≠tion of the dis¬≠ease. In this sec¬≠ond arti¬≠cle we will pro¬≠vide you with fur¬≠ther infor¬≠ma¬≠tion about endometrio¬≠sis and answer the six most impor¬≠tant questions.

1. Who is suf­fer­ing from endometriosis?

Endometrio¬≠sis affects 1 in 10 men¬≠stru¬≠at¬≠ing per¬≠sons. The age spec¬≠trum of peo¬≠ple suf¬≠fer¬≠ing from endometrio¬≠sis is broad. Men¬≠stru¬≠at¬≠ing peo¬≠ple are mainly only affected in their fer¬≠tile age, mean¬≠ing from the first period up to menopause.

2. What causes endometriosis?

Unfor¬≠tu¬≠nately, the causes for the devel¬≠op¬≠ment of endometrio¬≠sis have not really been researched and are there¬≠fore unclear. This is to be changed by means of a peti¬≠tion in Ger¬≠many. So far, the only cer¬≠tainty is that endometrio¬≠sis is benign (not can¬≠cer). The the¬≠o¬≠ries for the devel¬≠op¬≠ment of the dis¬≠ease range from hor¬≠monal dis¬≠or¬≠ders to mal¬≠func¬≠tions of the immune sys¬≠tem and genetic pre¬≠dis¬≠po¬≠si¬≠tion. Another attempt at expla¬≠na¬≠tion sees the cause of endometrio¬≠sis in the mus¬≠cle move¬≠ment of the uterus, which causes tears  and the uter¬≠ine lin¬≠ing to be able to move outwards.

3. What are the symptoms?

The symp­toms of endometrio­sis are as var­ied and diverse as the peo­ple affected them­selves: from no symp­toms at all to pain that is unbear­able. About 65 per­cent of those affected expe­ri­ence symp­toms. Depend­ing on where the endometrio­sis spreads out­side the uterus, the symp­toms can be localised there as well. The fol­low­ing com­plaints can be an indi­ca­tion of endometrio­sis, for example:

  • Severe men¬≠strual pain
  • Men¬≠strual disorders
  • Chronic abdom¬≠i¬≠nal pain
  • Gas¬≠troin¬≠testi¬≠nal prob¬≠lems: bloat¬≠ing, pain, or bloody defecation
  • Blad¬≠der pain: pain when urinating
  • Burn¬≠ing or cramp¬≠ing pain dur¬≠ing or after sex
  • Pain in the back or knees
  • Infer¬≠til¬≠ity and childlessness
  • Nau¬≠sea

Endometrio­sis rarely comes alone. It is often accom­pa­nied by other dis­eases. In addi­tion to the phys­i­cal com­plaints, endometrio­sis often has emo­tional con­se­quences as well. It also has an influ­ence on the gen­eral health and qual­ity of life of the per­son affected. In gen­eral, the fre­quent and very painful com­plaints lead to exhaustion.

4. How is endometrio¬≠sis diagnosed? 

The road to a diag¬≠no¬≠sis is long and not really easy. It often takes sev¬≠eral years before endometrio¬≠sis is diag¬≠nosed. Often false diag¬≠noses are ini¬≠tially made. The rea¬≠sons for this are man¬≠i¬≠fold. Those affected are often not taken seri¬≠ously and the com¬≠plaints are sim¬≠ply dis¬≠missed as severe men¬≠strual pain. The symp¬≠toms alone rarely lead to a diag¬≠no¬≠sis. Only by exam¬≠in¬≠ing tis¬≠sue sam¬≠ples can a clear diag¬≠no¬≠sis be made. The ear¬≠lier endometrio¬≠sis is diag¬≠nosed and cor¬≠rectly treated, the bet¬≠ter the chances of coun¬≠ter¬≠act¬≠ing the often painful course of the disease.

5. What are the treat¬≠ment options? 

Unfor¬≠tu¬≠nately, endometrio¬≠sis is a per¬≠ma¬≠nent, chronic dis¬≠ease and so far can¬≠not be cured by ther¬≠apy. Due to a lack of research and stud¬≠ies, it is unclear to what extent the spread of endometrio¬≠sis can be con¬≠tained or reversed. It is also not pos¬≠si¬≠ble to pre¬≠dict the course of the dis¬≠ease, although it is divided into four stages. Often the severe pain does not dis¬≠ap¬≠pear until menopause, the last period in the life of a men¬≠stru¬≠at¬≠ing per¬≠son. How¬≠ever, there are dif¬≠fer¬≠ent approaches to how endometrio¬≠sis is attempted to be treated. The selected meth¬≠ods depend strongly on the indi¬≠vid¬≠ual com¬≠plaints. A com¬≠bi¬≠na¬≠tion of dif¬≠fer¬≠ent treat¬≠ment options, such as gynae¬≠col¬≠ogy, pain ther¬≠apy, psy¬≠chol¬≠ogy and holis¬≠tic med¬≠i¬≠cine as well as alter¬≠na¬≠tive med¬≠i¬≠cine can be useful.

  • Hor¬≠monal treat¬≠ments are sup¬≠posed to pre¬≠vent the growth of endometrio¬≠sis lesions
  • Endometrio¬≠sis lesions can be sur¬≠gi¬≠cally removed by means of laparoscopy, which often leads to pain relief
  • Med¬≠i¬≠c¬≠i¬≠nal pain therapy
  • Alter¬≠na¬≠tive meth¬≠ods: Acupunc¬≠ture, tra¬≠di¬≠tional Chi¬≠nese med¬≠i¬≠cine (TCM), home¬≠opa¬≠thy or herbal medicine
  • Dietary change

The aim is always to reduce or even pre­vent the growth of the endometrio­sis and to relieve pain. Treat­ments often have to be repeated because the endometrio­sis lesions return. Par­tic­u­larly in the case of chronic dis­eases, it is very impor­tant to know one’s own body very well. This is the only way to find ways to relieve the symptoms.

6. Can one still become preg­nant with endometriosis?

The good news first: Yes, many peo¬≠ple have chil¬≠dren despite hav¬≠ing endometrio¬≠sis! How¬≠ever, depend¬≠ing on the stage at which endometrio¬≠sis is diag¬≠nosed, some peo¬≠ple are already infer¬≠tile at the time of being diag¬≠nosed. Oth¬≠ers only become infer¬≠tile after diag¬≠no¬≠sis as the dis¬≠ease pro¬≠gresses. For about 30 to 50 per¬≠cent of peo¬≠ple with endometrio¬≠sis, preg¬≠nancy unfor¬≠tu¬≠nately rep¬≠re¬≠sents a major obstacle.

Per­sonal endometrio­sis stories

If you would like to learn more about the con¬≠di¬≠tion and read about endometrio¬≠sis and the indi¬≠vid¬≠ual sto¬≠ries of peo¬≠ple affected by it, I rec¬≠om¬≠mend the ‚ÄėFaces of endometrio¬≠sis‚Äô series on Lea‚Äôs blog about endometriosis.

Published at 17. March 2020
Britta Wiebe is the co-founder of Vulvani. She loves researching, writing and designing new articles or innovative educational concepts about menstruation all day long. When she is not travelling the world, she enjoys spending time with her loved ones in the beautiful city of Hamburg in Germany. Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter

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