What Is Endometriosis and Should You Be Concerned
Most people have never heard of endometriosis and even those that have know little about this medical condition. But like many medical conditions that can seriously affect one?s life, endometriosis can be managed and the risks minimized if a person takes the time to do their homework. Here are some facts and background about the condition known as endometriosis that should help anyone get a better grasp of the condition and how it may affect their lives.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, endometriosis is a non-cancerous condition that affects anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of all women of reproductive age. Endometriosis occurs when cells from the uterine lining, or endometrium, begin growing outside of the uterus. These cells may grow and develop in places like the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowel, or even bladder. It has been observed where cells even work their way outside of the pelvic cavity and begin growing in more distant areas of the body.
What is extremely odd and perhaps even a little sad about endometriosis is that the condition may have become far more common due to human error. Because women were worried about miscarriages, doctors prescribed a drug called diethylstilbestrol from the late 30?s up until the early 1970?s. The daughters of the women who took this drug to prevent miscarriage now have a greater chance of developing endometriosis than average women in the population who did not have mothers taking diethylstilbestrol.
Still, no one really knows what actually causes endometriosis. Some women with the condition experience no visible symptoms at all. Others, however, generally experience pelvic pain that feels similar to the pain felt during the menstrual cycle. The pelvic pain experienced because of endometriosis generally coincides with a woman?s period, but it can be constant for some with the condition. If endometriosis has spread to the bladder or bowel, a woman may experience pain or discomfort when urinating or having a bowel movement.
Unfortunately, there is no actual cure for endometriosis. At best, doctors can manage the symptoms but the condition never actually goes away. Pain killers such as codeine and anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen are basically the best options someone with endometriosis has for managing the pain.
Endometriosis does not have to be a devastating condition that permanently hampers a woman?s lifestyle. It?s symptoms can be managed and the pain made bearable with the right medications. If you have noticed irregularities with your menstrual cycle such as increased pain that may extend beyond your period or unusual spotting, consult with your gynecologist immediately.