Today, I decided to talk to you about a subject that is close to my heart, a subject that concerns me in particular. Until then, I had not found the courage to write this article and talk about it. But the last few days have been very tiring and it’s hard to live with all this, every day.
Today I’m going to talk to you about endometriosis.
Still unknown, this disease would affect one in seven women of reproductive age. Misdiagnosis is very common, as doctors do not know how to help or advise a woman complaining of aggravated menstrual pain, especially since the latter are trivialized.
Endometriosis, what is it ?
The endometrium is the lining of the uterus. At the end of the menstrual cycle, if there is no fertilization, part of the endometrium (which is constantly renewed) is evacuated with menstruation. Endometriosis is therefore characterized by the formation, outside the uterus, of tissues formed by endometrial cells. So endometrium begins to form elsewhere in the body. Every month, at the time of menstruation, haemorrhages occur at the level of endometriosis lesions. Since these bleeding cannot be eliminated by the body, they stagnate in various forms (cysts, nodules, etc.).
But unlike the menstruation evacuated from the body, blood from the “lost” tissue has no way out. The tissues close to the lesions are thus swollen and painful, irritated by bleeding.
All this causes very violent, one-time or permanent pain. These pains are disabling on a daily basis.
The causes of endometriosis
Currently, no one can explain why some women have endometriosis. It is possible that a malfunction of the immune system and certain genetic factors are involved.
The most accepted hypothesis involves the notion of retrograde flow. During menstruation, blood and superficial layers of the endometrium are normally expelled outwards by muscle contractions. Occasionally, blood flow may reverse (hence the designation of retrograde flow) and blood containing endometrial cells may be directed to the pelvic cavity via the fallopian tubes (see diagram). This reflux would occur occasionally in most women, but it would only be accompanied by endometrial cell rooting in some women.
The site @ Health Passport
These are still very little known, very little understood. This usually leads to misdiagnosis, especially because menstrual pain is trivialized. Also, when the disease is finally diagnosed, it is diagnosed years later.
I had my first period at 11 (2008). The pain appeared about 3 years later: cramps, transit problems, nausea and vomiting, low back pain, migraines, extreme fatigue, inability to get up/walk/talk. And yet, I was only diagnosed this year, in 2019 !
Imagine a life on pause as soon as you have your period. Imagine these pains, with no cure. Imagine that you are not understood, or asked to just “make an effort”. Imagine…
“The main cause of endometriosis is a reflux of blood through the uterine tubes in the abdomen. To this would be added a lack of immunity that would mean that “some women’s bodies cannot get rid of these cells that are not in their place,” Professor Fernandez said. Also pointed, the implantation of endometrial tissue by contamination following a gynecological intervention (especially a caesarean section).
The vast majority (80%) of endometriosis occurs exclusively in the reproductive tract, namely the ovaries, fallopian tubes and peritoneum around them.”
There are different types of endometriosis, I’ll let you read this article.
Symptoms of endometriosis
In addition to the symptoms I cited above, there are also abundant menstrual periods, bleeding between menstrual periods, bleeding during intercourse, pain during intercourse…
Concerning bleeding (outside cycles, during sexual intercourse), these can be very abundant. I was so embarrassed the first time it happened to me ! I didn’t understand, especially since I didn’t have any particular pain. My partner was in panic mode but fortunately, he was very understanding.
Oh yes, I also mentioned extreme fatigue ! But really extreme… the kind of fatigue, energy loss that prevents you from even taking a shower or eating.
This is disabling on a daily basis. How do you move forward in your projects, take your classes, be comfortable with your body when it goes through all these phases?
For me, the pain is at its peak during ovulation and menstruation. During these times, I become a shadow of myself.
The impact of endometriosis
Sometimes endometriosis is asymptomatic. The disease is discovered during a fertility check due to the difficulty of conceiving a child… In 30-40% of women with endometriosis, infertility is associated. Endometriosis would thus be one of the most frequent causes of infertility.
In addition, this disease affects the sexual life of the woman who suffers from it. Indeed, one of the symptoms of this is the pain during sexual intercourse. These pains are not automatic, they can be present 2 times out of 5 for example. The downside is that one cannot foresee it, a moment of pleasure can very quickly become unbearable. The most important thing is to talk about it with your partner, they have to be understanding and patient.
The possible treatments
Let us remember that endometriosis differs from simple menstrual pain, which can be calmed quite easily.
The pain caused by this disease is a little more tenacious. My allies: Ibuprofen, Trialgic (magic) and a water bottle on the lower belly. It doesn’t make them disappear, but they’re more bearable.
There are also medical treatments: hormonal treatments (pills, sterile) ; surgical treatments (for example, removal of the uterus). You can read all about it on Google.
Written by Laura Hamka