For years Endometriosis has been a ‘silent’ disease despite the effects it has on a woman going far from unnoticed when it comes to the level of pain and discomfort sufferers have to go through.
“A woman with significant pain during her period should know that it is not a normal consequence of her cycle; she must listen to her symptoms and discomfort and give voice to this condition that is anything but silent. Early diagnosis of endometriosis can help to improve the quality of life of the patients and also to minimize the impact of the disease on fertility”, said Dr Cesar Diaz-Garcia, Director of IVI London and fertility surgeon.
Diagnosing Endometriosis takes on average 7.5 years from when it first appears as symptoms are commonly confused as normal menstrual cycle side effects. But let’s not fool ourselves:
The most common symptoms of endometriosis are:
- Dysmenorrhea (more painful menstruation than usual)
- Dyspareunia (pain during or after sexual intercourse)
- Painful bowel movements or painful urination
- Chronic pelvic pain (outside of menstruation).
At present there is no cure for the disease, therefore it is essential to diagnose as soon as possible to reduce the effects and stop it from evolving into more serious phases. The most frequent treatments used are pain killers, hormonal treatment (which tends to be the contraceptive pill), and in very severe cases, surgery.
It is always painful: Although most of the time it causes severe pain, there are some cases where it pain-free and asymptomatic.
It is linked to ovarian cancer: Endometriosis is a benign disease; the condition can be associated with benign cysts in the ovaries. Although in some rare cases it can be quite severe the disease is not linked to cancerous cysts.
Pregnancy cures Endometriosis: As mentioned, there is no cure for Endometriosis and it cannot be prevented however some women experience a relief in symptoms during pregnancy, but in most cases, the symptoms return afterwards.
It is a rare disease: This condition affects between 5% and 10% of the female population. It is estimated that in the UK there are 3 million carriers and more than 170 million worldwide. 1 in 10 women of reproductive age in the world may suffer from it, so in no way can its incidence be considered infrequent.
It can cause infertility: When it goes untreated, Endometriosis can evolve, making pregnancy difficult. Out of all couples with infertility, 30-50% of women may have endometriosis. And out of all women with Endometriosis, 50% may suffer from infertility. Hence the importance of an early diagnosis.
It is hereditary: It has not been proven, but it appears that there is a greater possibility of having Endometriosis when there are cases in the family.
Endometriosis is not incompatible with maternity: 10 reasons not to lose hope
Violet: “Endometriosis has conditioned my whole life, but it has not prevented me from becoming a mother”
Yolanda: “Lack of knowledge led me to make the wrong decisions; fortunately, science showed me that I could become a mother”
Veronica: “I always thought: I don’t know when I will get pregnant, but every day is one day less to get there”
Victoria: “I’ve spent eight years fighting Endometriosis, but in the end, I managed to have my babies”
Lucy: “I was sure that Endometriosis would not prevent me from achieving my dream of becoming a mother. And I was right”
Paula: “After 6 years of suffering, I am finally sure that I will get pregnant”
Susana: “Endometriosis showed its face just when I wanted to become a mother, but I didn’t give up”
Vanessa: “After 6 years, and despite my Endometriosis, I have finally achieved my dream of becoming a mother”
Laura: “I was told me that it would be difficult for me to become a mother, but with hope and perseverance I managed to bring two wonderful children into the world”
Beatriz: “I went from not being able to have children to trusting in someone blindly and achieving it”
These women are an example of what can be done. If you have been diagnosed with Endometriosis, it is important not to lose hope. There are treatments available to help you. It is not the end of the fertility journey for you. For more information about Endometriosis and fertility visit IVI London.