From 3rd March to 9th March 2017, is being observed as Endometriosis Awareness Week. The Worldwide Endometriosis March was the first global campaign started with the march and rally demonstrations at various cities across the world educating about the causes of endometriosis, which has an average diagnostic delay of almost 10 years. The first Endo March was done in March 2014.
This year, on 25th March 2017, fourth Worldwide Endometriosis March is being conducted across the UK in Manchester, London, Glasgow and Cardiff. 46 other countries are also participating in the ‘EndoMarch’.
This event is an opportunity for those women, who have suffered the endometriosis condition and are now recovered and able to live a normal life. They can have their collective voices heard, which will raise an awareness of the condition and impact on patients. This is an opportunity to empower women with the knowledge and confidence for seeking the medical help when they encounter with the endometriosis symptoms.
The average time of diagnosis of endometriosis is 7.5 years. Endomarch aims to raise the awareness among the general public as well as health professionals to achieve earlier diagnosis so that women should not have to suffer for 7.5 years or more even before the diagnosis of the endometriosis and should get the early access to the treatment.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful disorder, in which the tissue lining the internal wall of the uterus starts growing outside the uterus like on fallopian tubes, ovaries and tissues lining the pelvis. With the growing stages, displaced endometrial tissue continues to grow and it thickens, breaks down, bleeds with each of the menstrual cycle.
Endometriosis may involve pain before or after period, or painful periods, or abnormal or heavy bleeding may be an indication towards the presence of fibroids. Endometriosis treatment is available as a hormonal therapy or as a surgical procedure.
Causes of Endometriosis:
Retrigrade menstruation: This condition could be one of the causes of endometriosis in which the menstrual blood backs up into fallopian tubes and pelvis instead of getting expelled normally.
Endometrial cell transport: The lymphatic system may lead to transfer of endometrial cells to different parts of body.
Genetics: there is a possibility that endometriosis may have an inherited component. If any of the girl’s family member has suffered from endometriosis, then the risk for that girl of developing endometriosis will increase by 5-7 times.
The most common symptoms of endometriosis are painful or heavy periods, pelvis or lower back pain, lower abdomen pain and bleeding in between the periods. Other symptoms include longer lasting periods more than 7 days, bowel and urinary problems including pain, constipation, diarrhea, bloating and intermenstrual spotting or bleeding.
Myths about endometriosis?
Myth I: Endometriosis cannot affect teenagers.
Before the advent of laparoscopy, endometriosis used to be diagnosed with open surgery. This was reserved for older women whose pains would not go away. Now with laparoscopy being mainstream, more and more young women are being diagnosed. In fact, we now know that teens whose period pains are not helped with oral contraceptive pills and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, have a 70 percent chance of having endometriosis.
Myth II: Severe pains in periods is normal.
This may be the biggest problem associated with endometriosis. It’s the reason that historically there’s a seven-year delay in diagnosing the condition. Most women are cultured into accepting pains with their periods. While mild and even moderate pains are considered OK, severe pains should never be taken as normal. If your pains interfere with your attendance at school, work, or your social life, seek medical advice.
Myth III: Endometriosis is only a physical problem.
While it starts out as a physical condition, the psychological distress it has on patients cannot be emphasised enough. It affects women in the prime of their lives, often impacting their education, ability to maintain relationships, and a healthy social life. Depression and anxiety are not uncommon among women struggling with the disease.
Don’t ignore the strong pelvic pain, heavy bleeding and irregular periods. These can be symptoms of endometriosis. Consult London Gynaecologist Dr. Sarah Hussain for expert advice on your gynaecological health concerns.