5 Things Only Endometriosis Sufferers Understand
Because endometriosis is typically a chronic disorder, it’s important that you look for ways to minimize the symptoms and cope with them in the best possible way
Many people have probably heard of endometriosis, but they don’t know what it is. Endometriosis is a disease in which the endometrial cells grow outside of the uterus.
This is a benign condition that affects certain women during their reproductive years.
When the endometrium begins to develop incorrectly, it can attach anywhere inside the abdominal cavity. This situation can lead to implants (small lesions), nodules (large lesions), and endometriomas (cysts on the ovaries).
A woman who has endometriosis may have cold-like symptoms, particularly during the winter months.
When you get those symptoms of fatigue and a fever you might think it’s just the weather. You could, however, wind up in the emergency room as the fever can become extremely high.
Over time the problem can become worse, as this condition could endanger your life through the rupture of your appendix or by putting pressure on your kidneys.
If you’ve never experienced the pain and discomfort of endometriosis, you probably don’t understand the complaints of those who have it. That’s why today we invite you to learn a little more about this disease.
1. Killer crampsIt is not known why endometriosis produces such pain.
The most cited theory has to do with what’s called retrograde menstruation. This occurs when each month, when you have your period, some of the blood from the uterus escapes into your pelvic cavity that surrounds the reproductive organs instead of leaving the body.
The causes that trigger retrograde menstruation are also unknown. In most cases it doesn’t appear to be genetic. What is certain, however, is that endometriosis causes severe pain.
It’s not just a serious, debilitating pain – nor is it just menstrual cramps. It is usually accompanied by:
- Back pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Spotting between periods
In order to detect endometriosis in its earliest stages, doctors try to pay special attention to these problems. If they are able to diagnose the disease in time it’s easier to preserve the fertility of the patient.
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2. Having children can be a solution
Pregnancy can reduce some of the symptoms of endometriosis.
At this time, your progesterone levels are higher and your estrogen levels decrease (which endometriosis feeds on). The discomfort can mostly or even totally disappear.
However, this is not a cure. In most women the symptoms will return nine months later. In addition to that, you’ll have the burden of caring for a baby.
This assumes of course that a women with endometriosis is able to become pregnant.
Unfortunately, between one third and one half of women with endometriosis will not be able to have children. This is because their reproductive organs have been badly damaged.
3. A hysterectomy may not seem like a bad idea
This is also not a cure. Nevertheless, because endometriosis occurs outside of the uterus, removing it could eliminate the problem.
A hysterectomy may help decrease the painful symptoms, but that’s it. Over time, cysts can continue to grow on other organs.
According to many specialists you should try to avoid having a hysterectomy, although sometimes it’s the only viable option. If your doctor suggests this for you and you don’t agree, get a second opinion and consider an alternative that is less radical.
If you have endometriosis and want to have children at some point, keep trying to become pregnant. In the end, deciding to have a hysterectomy is a decision that only you can make.
For some women it represents the best option, while others won’t even consider it.
4. Talking to your doctor might not be an option
Women who are diagnosed with endometriosis need to find someone who truly listens to them. You might not have a lot of time on your hands but you know it’s worth finding support.
If you need it, try looking for support groups, a therapist, or a gynecologist. It also never hurts to find someone who specializes in endometriosis.
5. Eating well and getting plenty of sleep are non-negotiableIf you really want to reduce your levels of pain, sleeping well and keeping a healthy diet are a daily obligation. If you’ve had surgery or are undergoing hormone therapy, this is even more of the case.
Right now, experts are saying that you have to take good care of your endometriosis in order to manage it.
Remember that you can try many different alternatives until you find something that makes you feel better:
- Physical therapy to alleviate pelvic pain
- An anti-inflammatory diet
Don’t forget that light physical activity can also help with the pain. To avoid bleeding, don’t exaggerate any of the exercises you do.
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Endometriosis is something you’ll have your whole life
There is no cure for endometriosis, but surgery can decrease some of the symptoms and medications may also help.
However, nothing is more effective than staying calm and getting plenty of rest.