Endometriosis affects one out of every 10 women and according to the Spanish Association for those who are affected by this disease, it’s a silent and debilitating problem for many.
Endometriosis is a disease that involves the benign growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, often reaching the ovaries, the pelvis, the fallopian tubes, and even abdominal organs like the intestines.
It’s a clinical problem that has no cure for the time being. It’s usually hereditary and in addition to that, according to a study published by the Brigham Women’s Hospital, it could be the cause of many heart attacks today in women who are younger than 40 years old.
We’ll give you all the information you need in today’s article.
Endometriosis, a silent disease that affects many women
It might sound surprising to you, but there are girls as young as 12 or 13 years old who have had surgery for endometriosis, which tells you what a difficult path this illness can be and how long overdue it is for the medical attention it deserves.
It wasn’t until 2013 when the first guide was developed to inform and educate the public about endometriosis.
It’s important to understand that endometriosis is a very “particular” disease. While some women suffer from immense amounts of pain, for others it may be asymptomatic.
We recommend you read 5 things that affect ovarian health
Perhaps that’s why associations worldwide are demanding the establishment of multidisciplinary teams (involving urologists, digestive health experts, and psychologists) to try to better detect this condition from within their respective fields.
Now let’s find out what the most common symptoms are.
Symptoms of endometriosis
- Very painful menstruation.
- Severe lower back pain that radiates to the abdomen. It may become more intense prior to and during your period.
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse.
- Difficulty or pain during bowel movements or even urination.
- It’s common to find that between 30 to 40% of sufferers experience infertility.
We should mention again that not all women experience the same symptoms. Some hardly notice a thing. The disease is usually diagnosed during a routine gynecological examination, or during abdominal surgery like a cesarean section or an appendectomy.
Living with endometriosis
We are facing a disease that has no cure. For all those women who have had to live with this complex disease, without a doubt the most important treatment is that which can help them regain a good quality of life.
In some cases the pain can be so severe that it makes it difficult to even walk. They are confronted by a lack of understanding among the general population, colleagues at work, and even their partners, who may not understand why sexual intercourse causes them so much pain.
Also see Bone pain: tips and tricks
Hormonal treatments for endometriosis are an option, but they have side effects: many women can experience depression and more.
- Some of the painful symptoms may be treated with medications, and a treatment similar to one that’s available for prostate cancer is sometimes administered.
- Another common solution is to undergo surgery to remove the damaged tissue, but in most cases it simply regrows and the pain reappears.
Endometriosis increases the risk of a heart attack
We said this in the beginning. According to a study conducted at a hospital in Boston, women who are affected by endometriosis and have undergone surgery to remove their uterus or ovaries are at a greater risk of suffering from a heart attack.
- The researchers analyzed the medical records of 116,430 women over 20 years. Of those, 11,903 had endometriosis.
- They found that women who had been forced to enter menopause early due to surgery had a higher risk of developing clogged arteries, heart attacks, or angina.
Bear in mind that endometriosis can affect women much younger than 40 years old.
The need to lead a healthy lifestyle
Doctors recommend that all women who are affected by endometriosis take good care of their physical and emotional health to prevent cardiovascular problems.
- Keep in mind that the pain and lack of general awareness among the population can lead to feelings of loneliness and frustration that eventually result in depression. If you allow your immune system to suffer like this you increase your risk of heart disease.
- Entering into early menopause puts you at the same risk level as a woman who reaches menopause naturally.
Regardless of whether you’re 30 or 55, you need to take good care of your diet and lead an active lifestyle to prevent any problems from striking.
See also Hot flashes caused by menopause
Periodic checkups, your doctor’s support, and joining an association for women who are affected by endometriosis can be an enormous help if you’re facing this complex disease.