What is Endometriosis? Have you heard of it or perhaps experienced prolonged abdominal pain? This article will make you more aware of what endometriosis is and get good advice against the pain.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissues resembling the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grow elsewhere in the body. For example, on the ovary, intestines, bladder, vulva, in the tissue between the vagina and the rectum, in cesarean sections, etc. This tissue is affected by the same hormones as the lining of the uterus does and can therefore bleed when menstruating. In some cases, it comes out of phase with one’s cycle and bleeds at times other than during menstruation. The tissue can vary greatly in size and it can develop to contain old blood which becomes dark brown as it cannot get out of the body like the menstrual cycle itself. This is called a chocolate cyst.
Some people do not notice that they have endometriosis as they have no symptoms. While others have very bad symptoms that affect their daily life. The symptoms may be different depending on where the endometriosis is located. Examples of symptoms are very severe menstrual pain, severe pain during ovulation, pain during sex, heaviness in the abdomen, fatigue, sleep disorders, difficulty getting pregnant, etc. If you have endometriosis of the intestine or bladder, it can also cause pain when you go to the toilet.
Heredity and prevalence
Endometriosis can develop at different times in the life of people who menstruate when they are of childbearing age. According to statistics, 1 in 10 with uterus has endometriosis. There is an increased risk of having endometriosis if someone in your immediate family has it. Endometriosis can be a really difficult condition to have. Of course because of the pain, but also because it is something that others cannot see. Therefore sometimes others have difficulty understanding how bad a person with endometriosis may be feeling, and why some with endometriosis for example may have to call in sick during their period. Show extra care for people with endometriosis!
Endometriosis can currently only be diagnosed with 100% certainty if a binocular examination is performed. As this is an invasive operation, there are some who have examinations done with ultrasound instead, which may give an indication of endometriosis, but cannot with certainty diagnose it. In other countries, research is currently being done into taking blood samples that can be used for diagnosis. One can only hope that this will succeed as it would make a big difference for many people. In some cases, you will be offered treatment to remove the endometriosis or possibly simply empty the cysts by surgery in the form of binocular surgery. Others are offered treatment for symptoms with hormonal contraception or other hormone pills. However, symptoms will often return if you stop these again. In many cases, one can also improve symptoms with certain dietary and lifestyle changes.
Endometriosis can be painful when having penetrative sex. You can try Ohnut's buffer ring which reduces pain during sex. Ohnut is nicely soft, and is designed to feel like skin. This makes the rings discreet and lovely to wear. The rings give the feeling of a full penetration, and make sure that sex is not about pain but pleasure.
Remember to listen to your body and what you feel like.
Also read about dyspareunia, or our guide to slow sex.