6 Of The Most Common Myths About Endometriosis
It’s estimated that a whopping 200 million women around the world are impacted by endometriosis — this is a staggering statistic! While so many women live with this disease, there’s still a lot of misinformation and a lack of awareness of exactly how it impacts a woman’s body.
First off, what exactly is endometriosis?
Endometriosis happens when the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) starts to grow outside of the uterus. In most cases, it starts to grow in your Fallopian tubes, ovaries and the tissue lining of your uterus.
According to UCLA Health, the displaced endometrial tissue goes on to act as it normally would, thickening and breaking down. But because it has been displaced, it doesn’t have a way to exit the body and it starts to cause health complications.
Some of the most common symptoms of the condition include excruciating period pains, pain during and after sex, excessive bleeding and abnormal pain when urinating or when experiencing bowel movements. In certain cases, it’s first diagnosed when someone is looking for infertility treatment – so infertility is also seen as a symptom.
Myth vs Fact
The myths surrounding endometriosis create a lot of fear around the condition, and can also hinder diagnosis because people sometimes see some of the symptoms as ‘normal’ and never seek medical attention for them. We unpack what some of these are here:
Myth: Severe period pain is normal – that’s just how it is
No, extremely painful period pains are not something to just accept as your lot. If your period pains are always painful to the point where they interrupt your daily life, then you need to have the root of your pain investigated by a medical professional.
Myth: Endometriosis only affects adult women
Teenagers and women in their twenties are not too young to be diagnosed with endometriosis. As soon as you start your period, you can get endometriosis. One study found that women with the condition were only diagnosed seven years after the symptoms were present in them. This can also be due to the fact that it’s not easy to diagnose, but it’s a reminder that the symptoms should never be taken for granted at any age.
Myth: Endometriosis guarantees infertility
Too many women believe that if they have endometriosis, they won’t be able to conceive and this is a total myth. It’s true that it does affect fertility, but most women can and will get pregnant. The pregnancy will be considered a high-risk one. This is because it’s more likely to present with complications. Another myth is that getting pregnant means that endometriosis is ‘cured’ – this is not true.
Myth: Endometriosis can be cured
Endometriosis is categorised as a chronic condition, meaning there is no cure. While this is true, the condition and its symptoms can be managed with effective treatment such as medication, hormone therapy and surgery.
Myth: The severity of your symptoms show how advanced/severe your endometriosis is
Just because you’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis and present with all the symptoms does not mean that you have a severe case. In fact, some people with a severe case of the condition don’t present with any symptoms at all.
Myth: Removing your uterus will cure endometriosis
Some women believe that having a hysterectomy will cure endometriosis or completely alleviate the symptoms and this is not entirely true. Multiple surgeries may be needed and there’s still a chance that the symptoms may remain.
Previous research has pointed to the fact that having a hysterectomy without also having an oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries) produced less desirable results. One study found that 61% of women who removed their uterus without also removing their ovaries continued to feel endometriosis pain. This is why it’s important to have this conversation in length with your gynaecologist to fully understand the implications.