Unfortunately, the complex nature of endometriosis has led to creation of several myths and misconceptions, in an effort to explain it. Research shows that the condition affects an estimated 176 million women throughout the world. But still, only a small number of women understand what exactly it is.
What Is Endometriosis?
Simply put, endometriosis is characterized as a condition where the glandular tissue supposed to line the uterine cavity appears elsewhere in the body. In most cases, the tissue forms around the fallopian tubes, ovaries, pelvis or bowel. However, in rare cases the uterine glands will be found in the wrong parts of the body like lungs, kidneys or bladder. The result of this is that every month the tissue responds to hormonal changes and since it is not in the right position, various problems arise, such as painful intercourse, inflammation, scar tissue and, most commonly, painful periods.
Myths and Misconceptions
1) Painful periods are normal: Painful and irregular periods are indeed the most common symptom of endometriosis, and it is therefore important to understand that any kind of period pain that keeps you from going about your daily activities is not normal at all. Diagnosing endometriosis can be difficult as many women are indeed cultured to accept that period and pain go hand in hand. While mild to moderate pain can be expected because of the muscle cramping, make a point to seek medical advice whenever you find the pains disrupting your normal life.
2) Hormonal treatments and pregnancy can cure endometriosis: A recent study showed that pregnancy and hormonal treatments only suppress the symptoms of the condition, but do not offer permanent relief. Hormonal treatments are only used to manage the condition, and the only effective and permanent solution for getting rid of endometriosis is surgery.
3) Endometriosis does not affect teenagers and young women: Surveys show that it is a very common belief even among doctors that endometriosis will only affect older women. This false belief came about before the introduction of laparoscopy when the condition could only be diagnosed via laparotomy, which was often done as a last resort to women past the childbearing age. But studies have proved that although age is a risk factor the condition can manifest in both the young and old.
4) Endometriosis makes you infertile: This statement is not really true. While endometriosis is likely to affect the fertility of a woman, having the condition will not necessarily render you infertile. More than 50% of those suffering from it still manage to have children without any intervention.
While this article highlights only a few of the myths and misconceptions around the condition, you are likely to still come across other ideas about endometriosis that may not be true. Whatever information you get, always ensure it is backed by genuine evidence, and if in doubt on what to believe, consult a reliable expert on the subject.