Endomnetriosis can contribute to the problem of infertility. Yet, even before a woman tries to conceive, she may suffer with monthly periods which are heavy and excruciating. But if she does not see a doctor who may suspect endometriosis she may get the advice, “Take some ibuprofen and you’ll be fine.”
Endometriosis is a disorder in which the endometrium, tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, grows outside the uterus. The displaced tissue commonly implants on the ovaries and fallopian tubes, but sometimes on the bowel, bladder, rectum, or even beyond. This can cause disabling pain, organ dysfunction, and infertility. An estimated 1 in 10 women, 176 million worldwide, suffer from endometriosis. Yet the disease remains an enigma, and surveys show diagnosis is typically delayed by an average of seven years, largely because awareness is lacking.
There is not much awareness about endometriosis enen thought it can disrupt one’s life. But that may be changing. That may finally be changing. Recently, “endo” has been the subject of a surge in activism, fueled in no small part by the frustration and candor of women. There have been many high-profile, outspoken endo sufferers, including Susan Sarandon, Hillary Clinton, even Marilyn Monroe. But the new generation of activists wants change, not just support. Padma Lakshmi, cookbook author and host of TV’s Top Chef, cofounded the Endometriosis Foundation of America seven years ago to push surgical training and research as well as advocacy. Last month, the documentary Endo What? – billed as “More than a film. A movement” – premiered in New York City, a triumph for lawyer-turned-filmmaker Shannon Cohn, whose own diagnosis took more than a decade. This month, endo patients held a protest outside the Washington headquarters of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to “address the endometriosis care crisis.”
But what can you do? If you have the symptoms of endometriosis, ask your doctor to search for the condition which might require at least an ultrasound and possibly a laparoscopy to make the diagnosis. If it is diagnosed early, surgery to remove the implants followed up with hormonal therapy can go a long way toward making your fertility treatment, if needed, much less intense.
For more information on endometriosis awareness read the full article on the subject in The Inquirer.