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Coping with Endometriosis

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As defined by the Mayo Clinic, endometriosis is a disorder of the female reproductive system that involves endometrium, which typically lines the uterus, growing in other places it normally would not. A lot of times this condition causes extreme pain but in some cases, the pain will be only mild or moderate. When discomfort is present, it more than likely is experienced during monthly periods, sex, bowel movement or urination. The sufferer may also experience excessive bleeding during her menstrual cycle, and infertility.

Scientists noticed that the following factors seem to increase the risks of having endometriosis:

If you’ve never had a baby
If your mother has endometriosis
If your menstrual cycle is shorter than 27 days and you bleed longer than eight days
If you have had a previous condition that prevents normal menstrual flow
If you have experienced damage to cells that line the pelvis due to an infection
If you are Asian or white

A devastating complication for an endometriosis sufferer is infertility. Even though you may get pregnant with this condition, it can be very difficult. As a result, doctors usually will advise those with endometriosis to have children as soon as they can because this condition tends to worsen with time. Additionally, having endometriosis does not lead to cancer or even increase the risk of developing cancer.

Once endometriosis is suspected, your doctor may perform a pelvic exam, vaginal or pelvic ultrasound and/or a laparoscopy. When a diagnosis is confirmed, treatment for the pain will be emphasized first. Initially, over-the-counter pain relievers are suggested but if these types of drugs are ineffective, hormone therapy is another option. When the hormone levels fluctuate, it may cause the endometrium to grow in places it shouldn’t. Consequently, hormone therapy tends to decrease this pain.

The two other options are conservative surgery and a hysterectomy. Conservative surgery removes the endometrium from the outside areas and allows the woman to become pregnant, leaving all reproductive organs in place. The very last option would be a hysterectomy. This would be in the case of severe endometriosis and when all other choices are tried.

Think about your options, and talk openly about this to your partner and medical team. Remember, pain management is very crucial. But most of all, your mental and emotional health needs will have to be addressed and respected.

Best in health!

Resource: The Mayo Clinic

Dita Faulkner is a freelance writer who loves advocating the truth!

Add a Comment8 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

wow..really want to thank all of the women who have commented on this article. I am 17 years old and have just been diagnosed with endometriosis and this completely freaked me out until I read all the comments that made me realise the author of this article totally misrepresented the disease. Why in god's name would you mention cancer when it is inconclusive?? The only thing you have achieved by writing this article is made me and probably more more anxious than i already am. So I really want to thank all of you who commented to make me realise not to take this article seriously.

May 8, 2011 - 10:17am

I agree with what the others have said. Your article really does not help those of us fighting for awareness and research in any way. To minimalise our disease in such a way is disrespectful to millions of women worldwide.

There are a lot of websites with endo message boards. There are also many many facebook groups where you could have obtained information directly from those of us who suffer with endometriosis. Your article could have been much more informative and helped so much more.

Think about doing a more representative follow up article. This time though do much more research and get correct information.

February 17, 2011 - 12:15pm
EmpowHER Guest

This 'article' is concerning at best. Where on earth did the writer acquire their research? Somewhere back in the 1980's? This article has taken our knowledge about endometriosis back about 30 years. It was a nice try but a quick google search would reveal more information.

An organisation that promotes empowerment to women should research this area in depth before publishing such myths and mis-information. You have not "improved health" nor have you "changed any lives" with this article.

Might I suggest that you properly research the tragic disease endometriosis and what actually happens to women with this chronic disease and promote awareness for International Endometriosis Awareness Week in March.

And please please research your facts before printing. It is extremely harmful to have this information out there.

February 16, 2011 - 9:15pm
EmpowHER Guest

This article makes me very, very sad to read. I have been suffering from Endometriosis for 10 years now and have not received any relief. I have had 5 laparoscopies, 1 appendectomy (they removed it in case it burst and I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between it bursting and general endo pain), 3 rounds of lupron, continuous birth control for 12 years and I am only 24 years old.

Pregnancy is not a cure all, and many women's pain will come back after they give birth. To simply say that a woman should get pregnant as soon as she is able is RIDICULOUS. Your ignorance with this disease is shining bright, and you need a reality check.

Next time do more research..perhaps field research. Go online and find a message board (dailystrength.org has a great one) for women suffering from Endometriosis and actually ask them questions. You'll find that this disease isn't as black and white as your ignorance is making it out to be.

The fact that your editor allowed this piece of rubbish to be published is beyond me. Do some real research with your next piece and know that what you write will impact the women who read the articles. We are writing these comments to help save lives and to help educate any women who read this and may actually want to trust what you have to say.

Do some field work. Get an editor. Try again.

Melissa Stewart
10 yr Endo sufferer
24 yrs old

February 16, 2011 - 6:39pm

I appreciate your effort to raise awareness of Endometriosis. However, it's apparent that you do not live with it on a day to day basis, and I'm concerned as to where you obtained much of your information. I'm a little surprised that anyone who hasn't lived with this disease, would be allowed to write about it and actually be published. You are drastically incorrect in many areas and it concerns me greatly that these falsehoods about this disease are being put out for all to refer to as "accurate and reliable."

One of the main things that I believe you need to correct is that the research regarding the link between Endo and cancer is still very inconclusive. Also, I'm not sure where you read that if you're Asian or Caucasian, you're at a greater risk, but this is widely incorrect. Another item that really should be corrected is that there is no way, other than a surgery, to be diagnosed with this disease - no pelvic exam or pelvic ultrasound, because Endo doesn't show up in any of these.

With regards to your comments about hormone therapy... this is a very hot topic for many of us who suffer with Endo everyday. Hormone therapy is one fry short of a happy meal when it comes to being thought of as a "treatment" by any of us. While doctors feel that some forms of hormone therapy are "leading edge" in the world of Endo, I encourage you to ask any women who has actually had to go through these "treatments" and ask them what their life is like now. I would be shocked if you found more than 10% that stated it helped in anyway, if anything they are in worse pain and have even more health problems to deal with because of it.

Again, I appreciate you're effort - but I truly wish you would have done you're homework before writing this article. It does Endometriosis and those of us who are fighting so hard to get correct information out there a huge disservice.

Amber Sorensen
Pleasant Grove, UT
13 year Endometriosis Sufferer
FINALLY diagnosed in 2003

February 16, 2011 - 6:25pm
EmpowHER Guest

This was a good try, however your article falls short in many areas.

There are an estimated 70 million women world wild that suffer with this disease, no one demographic or race is more prone to it then another. To trivialize the disease by simply saying it can be managed through surgery & hormone therapy which can help manage pain, fails to enlighten your reader that with hormone therapy comes an even bigger can of worms, side effects, and long term complications. Hormone therapy is not yet an exact science, and so women who agree to this in desperation can often find themselves in a much worse case after having gone through them trial and error. With surgery, there is the added risk of adhesions & scar tissue which provides Endometriois implants more opportunity to hide themselves.

One of the biggest hurtles when writing accurately about Endometriosis is that there has been very little research done, much of it is inconclusive and still the medical community is surrounded by question marks as to how Endometriosis develops and how best to manage it since as of now there is no cure.

Every woman's experience with the disease is different, and the amount of the disease has no impact or connection to the amount of pain or symptoms a woman can experience. Which complicates the research and science of observation further.

When the author was doing their research I suspect that they found a lot of information even from medical institutions that contradicted it's self. This is not the author's fault, however there are foundations, associations, and institutions who are dedicated to supporting both the medical community and those with the disease, they are on the forefront in raising funds and awareness so that further research can be done, and so that eventually one day the research is conclusive, the disease is understood, and there is a cure for all 70 Million women. I suggest that in the future the author take advantage of these expert groups and use them instead as their primary research resource.

That being said thank you for raising awareness and broaching the topic, however in the future please do not give definitive answers where there are none - the cancer study is not yet conculsive as an example, and giving this information out just makes living with the disease and questions it raises from friends and family all the more difficult to deal with.

Laurie Haughton
Ottawa, ON Canada
diagnosed with Endometriosis 2005

February 16, 2011 - 5:51pm
EmpowHER Guest

Yeah, they only call it cancer when it actually kills you. Nice try with this article trying to trick sick women to have children. What they don't tell you is that even if you have a baby you can still have endometriosis and it can get worse. Then? You have a baby and chronic pain... sounds awesome! Bad article. Presented in a very breedery way.

February 15, 2011 - 4:28am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Very True! getting prego.. is NOT a solution!

February 16, 2011 - 10:00pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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