It’s Women’s Months and we’re creating awareness around women’s health as well as sharing valuable information and insight around multiple topics, including endometriosis.
About 10% of all women have or are affected by endometriosis. But what is it exactly? And what are the signs and symptoms to look out for?
What is endometriosis? According to the World Health Organisation, it is a chronic disease associated with severe, life-impacting pain during periods, sexual intercourse, bowel movements and / or urination, chronic pelvic pain, abdominal bloating, nausea and fatigue. These vary from person to person.
It occurs when the tissue that is similar to the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, grows outside of the uterus.
There is currently no known cure, but treatment is aimed at controlling and alleviating systems.
If you’re experiencing any of the below symptoms, consult with your medical doctor to find out more.
- Pelvic Pain
This ranges from mild to severe and can feel like: cramping, stabbing or aching pain in the lower abdomen, back and pelvic region.
This is painful menstruation in the form of intense cramps which may worsen over time. The pain is debilitating and may interfere with daily activities.
This refers to genital pain during or after intercourse. It can be felt in the vulva, vagina, uterus or pelvis.
- Chronic Pelvic Pain
This pain may occur at any time during the cycle and can be continuous or intermittent.
- Painful Bowel Movements or Urination
Endometriosis can affect the bowels or bladder and can cause pain during bowel movements, which worsens during menstruation.
This means heavy bleeding during your period. How to tell what’s abnormal? Look out for: if you soak through a pad or tampon in an hour; if you need to use a tampon and a pad; if you bleed for longer than a week; or if you need to change your tampon at night.
- Difficulty Getting Pregnant
Because women experience a variety of these symptoms, ranging from mild to severe pain, it’s challenging to accurately diagnose endometriosis. However, diagnosis and appropriate management can significantly improve quality of life and preserve fertility.