(Dennison, Ohio) – Endometriosis. You’ve probably heard of it, but do you really know what it is?
According to MedlinePlus, Endometriosis is a problem affecting a woman’s uterus—the place where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. Endometriosis is when the kind of tissue that normally lines the uterus grows somewhere else. It can grow on the ovaries, behind the uterus, on the bowels, or on the bladder. Rarely, it grows in other parts of the body.
This “misplaced” tissue can cause pain, infertility, and very heavy periods. The pain is usually in the abdomen, lower back, or pelvic areas. Some women have no symptoms at all, and having trouble getting pregnant may be the first sign they have endometriosis.
Endometriosisassn.org offers extensive information pertaining to the symptoms, causes, treatment and coping techniques for those diagnosed with Endometriosis.
The most common endometriosis symptoms are:
- Pain before and during periods (usually worse than “normal” menstrual cramps)
- Pain during or after sexual activity
- Painful urination/bowel movements during periods
- Heavy bleeding
- Other gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea
In addition, many women with endometriosis suffer from:
- Chemical sensitivities
- Frequent yeast infections
Many women with endo also experience a range of immune disorders, including asthma, eczema, and certain autoimmune diseases. Infertility affects about 30-40% of women with endo and is a common result of the progression of the disease.
An endometriosis diagnosis is considered uncertain until proven by laparoscopy, a surgical procedure done under anesthesia. A laparoscopy usually shows the location, size, and extent of the growths. This helps the doctor and patient make better treatment choices. If you or a loved one is experiencing endometriosis-like symptoms, please visit our resources page to find a healthcare provider near you.
So what causes Endometriosis?
Unfortunately, endometriosisassn.org indicates the full picture as to what causes Endometriosis is really still unknown.
Endometriosis is a puzzling hormonal and immune disease affecting girls and women from as young as eight years old through postmenopause.
“Research spearheaded by the Endometriosis Association since 1992 has shown that environmental toxins such as dioxin and PCBs, which act like hormones in the body and damage the immune system, can cause endometriosis. Dioxins are highly toxic chemicals which come from the production and use of pesticides and herbicides; municipal, medical, and hazardous waste incineration; chemical and plastics manufacturing; and pulp and paper production. Dioxins readily concentrate in the food chain, contaminating animals and fish; thus food is the primary source of dioxin exposure for humans.”
Additional Theories of What Causes Endometriosis:
- One theory suggests that endometrial tissue is distributed from the uterus to other parts of the body through the lymph or blood systems.
- A genetic theory suggests that certain families have predisposing factors for the disease.
- Surgical transplantation has also been cited in many cases where endometriosis is found in abdominal scars, although it has also been found in such scars when accidental implantation seems unlikely.
- Another theory suggests that remnants of tissue from when the woman was an embryo may later develop into endo or that some adult tissues retain the ability they had in the embryo stage to transform under certain circumstances.
- The retrograde menstruation theory (transtubal migration theory) suggests that during menstruation some of the menstrual tissue backs up through the fallopian tubes, implants in the abdomen, and grows. Some experts believe that all women experience some menstrual tissue backup and that an immune system problem or a hormonal problem allows this tissue to grow in the women who develop endometriosis.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider as soon as possible as Endometriosis can lead to infertility and other serious health complications.
Endometriosisassn.org also offers a list of positive coping techniques if you are in fact living with or diagnosed with Endometriosis.
- Optimism: Staying hopeful while at the same time realistic about the disease; displaying a balanced outlook.
- Acceptance: Acknowledging that you are experiencing pain is a positive first step in dealing with it.
- Reaffirmation of Healthy Functioning: Placing an emphasis on staying healthy and functional rather than focusing on the fear of becoming dysfunctional. Women displaying this coping skill acted in ways they felt were health promoting, such as eating healthy, exercising, and relying on stress reduction techniques. This strategy helps women build an internal image of being in control.
- Tension release: Some may find the need to “let go” or “vent their emotions.” Having a good cry is an example of this strategy. Tension release is used to let out anger, sadness, and despair.
- Seeking out social support: Seeking out support through groups and from friends, family, doctors, and co-workers.
- Problem-solving: This strategy adopts an active “take charge” attitude toward their own medical care and treatment. These women typically become walking encyclopedias on the illness. They’re also willing to try nontraditional treatments, such as acupuncture, diet, and creative hobbies.
- Reordering of priorities and goals: Taking inventory of priorities and goals, assessing those which may need to shift, including decisions about childbearing, relationships, marriage, or career planning.
- Active participation: Becoming an active participant in one’s healthcare and medical treatments. Women who perceive themselves as more assertive adjust better to medical treatment overall.
- Selective ignoring: Women focused on the positive consequences of having the illness, a strategy characterized by attitudes such as “I have endo, and it’s a big problem, but this crisis brought me closer to my family and/or friends.”
Healthy Tip Tuesday is an exclusive partnership between Newsymom.com and Trinity Hospital Twin City Designed to keep you up-to-date with the latest and most relevant information you need to keep you and your family healthy.