Risks and Symptoms of Endometriosis, a Silent Disease

· June 21, 2016
The symptoms of endometriosis vary and are often hard to detect. The disease has also been found to increase risk of heart attack.

Endometriosis affects one out of every 10 women and according to the Spanish Endometriosis Association, it’s a silent and debilitating problem for many. As a result, we want to inform you about the risks and symptoms of endometriosis.

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What is Endometriosis?

This disease involves the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. It affects the reproductive organs and can even reach the intestines.

Unfortunately, this disease has no cure for the moment. Additionally, it’s usually hereditary. According to a study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, it causes many heart attacks in women under 40.

Endometriosis, a Silent Disease that Affects Many Women

It may surprise you, but there are girls as young as 12 or 13 years old who have had surgery for endometriosis. Clearly, this illness can lead you on a difficult path and it deserves much more medical attention.

It wasn’t until 2013 that 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. The symptoms of endometriosis can vary immensely from woman to woman. While some women suffer from extreme pain, for others it may be asymptomatic.

As a result, associations worldwide are demanding multidisciplinary teams to try to better detect this condition.

Woman in bed leaning over in pain painful period symptoms of endometriosisPossible Symptoms of Endometriosis

Women suffering from this disease can experience very painful menstruation and severe lower back pain. Additionally, the pain radiates to the entire abdomen and may intensify prior to and during periods.

In fact, they can also experience pain during sex, bowel movements, and urination. Furthermore, about 30 to 40% of sufferers experience infertility.

However, not all women experience the same symptoms of endometriosis and some have no symptoms at all. Doctors can diagnose this disease during a routine gynecological examination or abdominal surgery for another condition.

Living with Endometriosis

We are talking about a disease that has no cure. As a result, many women with this complex disease suffer beyond words. Without a doubt, the most important treatment is one that will improve their quality of life.

In some cases, the pain can be so severe that it makes it difficult to walk. In addition, there is a lack of understanding among the general population. Moreover, this lack of understanding extends to colleagues at work, friends, and even partners, who may not understand why sex causes them so much pain.

Hormonal treatments 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. Sometimes doctors administer a treatment similar to one that’s available for prostate cancer. Another common solution is to have 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

As we mentioned previously, one of the possible side effects of having surgery for this disease is an increased risk for heart attack.

According to a study conducted at a hospital in Boston, women who have surgery to remove their uterus or ovaries are more at risk for heart attacks.

Researchers analyzed the medical records of 116,430 women over 20 years. Of those, 11,903 had endometriosis. Moreover, women forced to enter menopause early due to surgery had a higher risk of heart attacks and angina.

In addition, bear in mind that this disease can affect women much younger than 40 years old.

Symptoms of endometriosis reduce risks of heart attack by walking and doing exercise and healthy lifestyleLeading a Healthy Lifestyle is a Must

Doctors recommend that all women affected by this disease pay special attention to their lifestyle. It’s important to maintain good physical and emotional health to prevent cardiovascular problems.

In addition, 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 eat healthily and exercise regularly to prevent further problems.

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Periodic checkups, your doctor’s support, and joining an association for women who are affected by endometriosis can be a big help if you’re suffering from this disease. Lastly, it’s important that you get proper treatment so you can regain quality of life.

  • Davis, L. J., Kennedy, S. S., Moore, J., & Prentice, A. (2007). Oral contraceptives for pain associated with endometriosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (3).
  • Bulletti, C., Coccia, M. E., Battistoni, S., & Borini, A. (2010). Endometriosis and infertility. Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics27(8), 441-447.
  • Nnoaham, K. E., Hummelshoj, L., Webster, P., d’Hooghe, T., de Cicco Nardone, F., de Cicco Nardone, C., … & Study, W. E. R. F. G. (2011). Impact of endometriosis on quality of life and work productivity: a multicenter study across ten countries. Fertility and sterility96(2), 366-373.