Thursday, April 30, 2009

What is Endometriosis?

When it comes to young women and their periods, Endometriosis is a very scary word. The last thing a young girl wants to face besides cramps is the possibility of a life time of debilitating pain. Endometriosis, often called "Endo," affects over 5 million women in North America alone. While Endo is one of the most common gynecological diseases, it is also a disease that is fairly new. There is not much known about Endometriosis, as what causes it and how it works are still mysteries to doctors and patients alike. The symptoms are general to regular pre-menstrual and menstrual issues: cramps, heavy bleeding, etc, though often these symptoms are on a much larger scale. Many don't understand exactly what Endometriosis is, as many feel the disease is nothing more than a really painful period. On the contrary, Endo is a disease that can cause health problem after health problem, and surgery after surgery with no relief. In a nut shell, Endometriosis is when the tissue of a woman's uterus (aptly called the endometrium) grows in areas around the pelvis outside of the uterus. For instance, the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowels, bladder and appendix, as well as inside and outside of the uterus itself are the organs that usually fall pray to Endometriosis adhesions. Endo has also been known to spread to one's lungs, which causes the lung to collapse once a month during menstruation. The scary thought is that with the limited knowledge the world has on this disease, the education is limited. Doctors keep their patients in the dark, offering a harsh drug called Lupron as a quick fix for pain, or using pregnancy as a cure. One treatment is as unsuccessful as the next. The only defining way to know if one has Endo is through a minimally invasive surgical procedure called a laparoscopy. Endometriosis cannot in anyway be seen on an ultrasound, nor can it be seen on an MRI or CAT scan. Any doctor who diagnoses a patient without a "lap" cannot be trusted, in my very humble opinion. On that topic, if a doctor pushes you to become pregnant or insists on Lupron, leave the office and find another physician. Pregnancy is NOT a cure, and while on average 40% of women with Endometriosis suffer from infertility, they also usually conceive with some medical help and hormone treatments. 

I made this blog with a purpose, as most bloggers do... I want to be heard, or rather... I want Endo suffers to be heard. I'll go through every aspect of what Endometriosis is about, from surgeries, to diets, to Endo in pop-culture, and of course, my own experience. I've been given this disease for a reason, and hopefully one day I'll make a difference :)