31 March 2020

Endometriosis: When the disease controls your life

Doctor
Medical Director
Cesar Diaz-Garcia
MD PhD Assoc Prof
IVI London

 

  • Endometriosis affects 10% of women and some of them are unaware of it
  • It leaves women in agony on a daily basis: leading to absences from school and work …
  • It is a chronic disease, there is no cure, but its symptoms can be treated

We know that we are currently living in troubled times. Suddenly our priorities have changed, but even if we have to stay at home, we want to continue talking about what we know, assisted reproduction and life. So we will continue doing everything of interest while waiting to resume our activity normally. Therefore, as the month comes to an end we remember it is the month of Endometriosis.

For years this disease has been classified as “silent”, although the reality is that women who suffer from it suffer severe pain and discomfort. Some women with Endometriosis even become unable to cope with the routine of their day to day life.

For this reason, ‘women with noticeable pain during their menstruation must not take it as the norm, you should listen to your body and its discomforts and give a voice to this ‘silent’ condition,” advises Dr Cesar Diaz, director of IVI London and specialist in assisted reproduction. This is also why the disease takes on average 7 to 10 years to diagnose as the symptoms are often confused with the discomfort of a normal menstrual cycle.

Endometriosis symptoms

The main symptoms of Endometriosis are:

  • Menstruation more painful than usual (dysmenorra)
  • Pain during or after sexual intercourse (dyspareuine)
  • Pain when evacuating or urinating
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Tiredness

As we have said, Endometriosis is a more frequent disease than is believed. Between 5 and 10% of women suffer it with over 3 million women in the UK and 176 million women worldwide experiencing symptoms. Also, although it hasn’t been scientifically proven you are more likely to have the disease if you have a history of it in the family. On the other hand, contrary to popular belief, it is a benign disease with no relation to that and any sort of reproductive cancers.

Even though this disease has no cure, it is still important that it is detected as soon as possible to treat the symptoms and try to not make the disease develop any further. An early diagnosis is also essential for women wanting to get pregnant. If Endometriosis goes untreated and progresses to more severe stages it can cause difficulties in conceiving. Of the women suffering from infertility, between 30-50% are shown to suffer from this disease. Of the women with Endometriosis, half of them can experience infertility. However, for those women able to get pregnant, some notice relief from the endometriosis symptoms during pregnancy, although these symptoms tend to return after giving birth.

Endometriosis and infertility

As discussed, one of the consequences of Endometriosis is infertility. Reproductive medicine, and more specifically fertility preservation, can help these women improve their success rate and offer a solution to their fertility problems. Vitrification of oocytes is the best way to help fulfil their dream of being mothers in the future. For those who have to undergo surgery due to the disease may have their fertility compromised, or for those who simply wish to postpone motherhood. Through diagnosis and proper treatment and monitoring, both medical and psychological, these patients feel supported and have the best possible chances of pregnancy.

Talk about Endometriosis

We are living in a time when, fortunately, more and more women are publicly acknowledging that they have this disease, as reflected in different press articles issued this month. One thing IVI can do is make those voices heard. A few weeks ago, sisters Marta and Lucía Pombo accompanied us at an event dedicated to Endometriosis and during it, they shared their experience as patients of this disease.

We have many examples of women who with incredible willpower have pursued what they wanted and have trusted IVI to achieve it. Today they are the perfect demonstration that with perseverance and with the help of our doctors we are one step closer to achieving what previously seemed impossible.

  • Violeta: “Endometriosis has affected my whole life, but it has not prevented me from being a mother”
  • Yolanda: “The lack of knowledge led me to make wrong decisions; Fortunately science showed me that I could be a mother”
  • Victoria: “I’ve been fighting Endometriosis for eight years, but in the end, I still managed to have my babies”
  • Lucia: “It was clear to me that I would not let Endometriosis prevent me from fulfilling my dream of being a mother. So it didn’t”
  • 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 be a mother, but I did not give up”
  • Laura: “They told me it would be difficult to be a mother and with hope and perseverance I managed to bring two wonderful children to the world”
  • Beatriz: “I went from not being able to have children to trusting someone blindly and getting it”

Can you relate to these testimonies? Tell us about your day to day struggle with Endometriosis?

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