Thursday, September 22, 2011

What exactly is Endometriosis??


You hear it in conversation with some girlfriends. You see it discussed when talking about menstrual cramps and what not. But, honestly, you have no idea what the heck it is. Endometriwhat?

Yes, my readers, time to learn a bit about endometriosis - rather common condition that affects 12 to 30 percent of all menstruating woman. Chances are you know someone that has it, or perhaps you have it yourself. Endometriosis is when the lining of the uterus (what you shed every month during your period) ends up in other places in your body (other than your uterus). It can show up on your ovaries, bladder, or your colon for example. And as you can imagine, when you have tissue surfacing in places it shouldn't be, it can be PAINFUL. Heck yeah ladies, we are talking severe inflammation of the tissues, and even bleeding (just like your uterine lining would). Endometriosis can also cause cysts in the ovaries. Good times.

So, how would you know if you have endometriosis? Some scenarios: You are a young lady, you would have miserable horrible periods for years and want-to-crawl-in-a-hole-and-lay-in-the-fetal-position cramps, as well as constipation and lots of peeing during your period - you are pretty much living in chronic pain. You are trying to make babies for over six months, your partner checks out ok, and after doing a pelvic sonogram, your doctor says you have a mass on your ovaries. Or, you are a woman that has had awful cramps, painful sex, weird on and off bleeding during your period, and back and lower ab pain.

Your lady parts doc would probably do full physical and medical history to make sure nothing else could be the culprit, and then do a pelvic sonogram to see what is going on. If it looks like endometriosis is likely, they will start you out with some strong anti-inflammatory pills, and suggest you go on hormonal birth control, which seems to help most women. Some ladies don't seem to respond to this treatment, so they need to take it up a notch and have a laparoscopy done to see exactly what is going on in the pelvis, and have any endometriosis removed that the doctor sees. Removing the endometriosis usually helps in improving fertility and lowering the pain.

 And finally, what causes this? There seems to be some genetic component - you are more like to get endometriosis if you have a first degree relative that has it. Endometriosis is also fueled by estrogen, so if you are diagnosed, try to avoid dairy or animals that have been fed hormones, or soy (a natural occuring estrogen).

Now you are up to speed on what the E word is. Share your knowledge! Or better yet, tell your friends to check out the blog :).

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