Little is known about endometriosis and sadly for many women, the disease isn’t taken very seriously by medical professionals. With the average woman waiting more than eight years for an accurate diagnosis, This disease that is often dismissed by primary care doctors as painful periods or just a normal part of being a woman.
However, the debilitating pain suffered by women who have the condition affects every part of their lives. Women have the right to be taken seriously when they present their symptoms to their doctor. In order to facilitate the conversation, more women and young girls need to be educated about the disease so they can recognize the symptoms as they occur.
Left untreated, the growth of uterine tissue outside of the uterus can wreak havoc. As the tissue attached to other organs, it can lead to fertility problems and incredible pain. The pain intensifies and spreads, not only affecting a woman when she has her period, but all month long.
Diagnosing endometriosis is incredibly difficult, hampered somewhat by doctors’ reluctance to take women’s symptoms seriously. Oftentimes the endometriosis cannot be seen on a scan and the only way to diagnose the disease is through a laparoscopy performed by an experienced surgeon. A procedure that may put many women off reporting symptoms in the first place.
The primary symptoms of endometriosis are pain and infertility.
Pain is the most common symptoms of endometriosis. In addition to generalized abdominal pain, patients may also experience:
- Painful, even debilitating, menstrual cramps
- Pain during or after intercourse
- Pain in the intestine or lower abdomen
- Painful bowel movements or painful urination during menstruation
Infertility is also a very common symptom of endometriosis, and it is estimated that about 50 percent of all cases of problems with fertility are due to endometriosis. This is because endometrial lesions, depending on location, may block the ovaries or fallopian tubes and prevent the release of an egg into the uterus. The inflammation that is caused by endometrial lesions can also change the environment of the uterus, making fertilization more difficult because fewer sperm cells survive to potentially fertilize an egg.
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