It is Endometriosis awareness month and here are a few things you need to know about endometriosis.
Happy new month! March is Endometriosis Awareness month around the world but it is quite sad to note that not many women know about this pain-crippling disease.
Endometriosis is a women’s health problem and particularly Black women. In fact, endometriosis is cited as the single most common cause of chronic pelvic pain in women by Essence Magazine. In 2017 Endometriosis was said to affect an estimated 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years between the ages of 15 to 49 which is approximately 176 million women in the world.
How does Endometriosis occur?
Endometriosis occurs when this tissue grows outside of the uterus on other organs or structures in the body. Once in the pelvis, the endometrial tissue causes inflammation and scarring as it attaches to pelvic organs (fallopian tubes, ovaries, bowel, and bladder). This scarring and inflammation are what causes the painful symptoms many with endometriosis experience.
The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown but the primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, often associated with your menstrual period. Although many women experience cramping during their menstrual period, women with endometriosis typically describe menstrual pain that’s far worse than usual. They also tend to report that the pain increases over time.
Signs and Symptoms
Common signs and symptoms of endometriosis according to Mayo Clinic may include:
Painful periods (dysmenorrhea).
Pelvic pain and cramping may begin before your period and extend several days into your period.
You may also have lower back and abdominal pain.
Pain during intercourse.
Pain during bowel movements or urination.
You may experience occasional heavy periods (menorrhagia) or bleeding between periods (menometrorrhagia).
Endometriosis is first diagnosed in some women who are seeking treatment for infertility.
Other symptoms include experiencing fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, especially during menstrual periods.
Endometriosis is sometimes mistaken for other conditions that can cause pelvic pain, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or ovarian cysts. It may be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that causes bouts of diarrhea, constipation and abdominal cramping. IBS can accompany endometriosis, which can complicate the diagnosis.
Former Kenyan media personality Njambi Koikai has been vocal about her struggles with endometriosis that was first brushed off as normal period pain when she was a teen then advised that the pain during her menstrual cycle would end once she bore children. She was later misdiagnosed and had to seek treatment in the USA for her advanced Thoracic endometriosis.