I recently met someone who has endometriosis. If this had been 6 years ago—before my studies in osteopathy—I would have perplexedly gazed into the horizon and thought: What the heck is endometriosis? Is it a parasite? A pathology? Maybe even a super-power?
Thanks to a course I took 4 years ago—hooray!—I know what endometriosis is. Since that course 4 years ago, I have only met two people with endometriosis even though I know it is somewhat prevalent among women.
After discovering that this person—let us call her Joan—had endometriosis, the flood gates opened; I could not withhold from reading about it all over again to re-discover every nook and cranny there is to know about it.
That’s it for this post!
[Insert reader’s thoughts in the parentheses]
Wait, aren’t you going to tell me what it is? The class you took, was it a class on super-powers or something?!
I want to know if this is a super-power or not!]
I’m glad that you ask. Of course I’m going to tell you! However, please take a moment to commend me on the dad joke I just pulled. It was just that funny.
Sadly for you—and more importantly those with endometriosis—I must inform you that this is not a super-power. Furthermore, if you’re a male, even if it was a super-power, it would be one reserved for women. Why, you ask?
Do you have a uterus?
I didn’t think so, and that is why!
Briefly put, endometriosis is a health issue regarding the endometrium, which is the inner lining of the uterus.
Image note: I find all women are Wonder Woman for dealing with an ever-changing internal equilibrium once a month. You go girl(s)!
To you I share a short summary I put together after spending about half an hour reading on endometriosis:
- To understand endometriosis you must first know what the endometrium is. The endometrium is a tissue present in women; it is the inner most tissue of the uterus. About once a month, a part of the endometrium is expelled via menstruations at the end of the menstrual cycle if no fertilization occurred.
- Endometriosis is defined as the presence of endometrial cells outside of the uterus. These could be nearby (such as the ovaries or the fallopian tubes) or at a distance (such as in the lungs or in an arm).
- 5% to 10% of woman old enough to bear children are affected by endometriosis and it is most often diagnosed from 25 to 40 years old. In many cases there is no pain associated with endometriosis and it does not affect fertility. However, there are still 30% to 40% of women diagnosed with endometriosis who are infertile.
- The symptoms of endometriosis often occur in synergy with the menstrual cycle. Regardless of their location, endometrial cells will react to the change of hormone levels at the end of the menstrual cycle and will “bleed”. Normally, this bleeding is evacuated through menstruations; however, when the endometrial cells are located somewhere else than the uterus, there is no escape route for the cells that shed.
- The most frequent symptoms of endometriosis are low abdominal pains similar to menstrual cramps which increase during menstruation, sexual activity and urination. It is often difficult to differentiate them from typical menstrual cramps.
- Several alternative approaches exist that may help women affected by endometriosis, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, yoga, meditation, osteopathy, and dietary changes.
Joan told me to add one more point—which comes from experience—:
“I would add that once the endometriosis becomes advanced, the pains no longer follow the menstrual cycle and appear sporadically without an identifiable cause.” (Joana, 2017. Retrieved from the prestigious scientific database known as Facebook Messenger).
I hope I managed to help you learn something new with this post!
Do you know anyone who has endometriosis? If so, did you know what it was before they told you? Or did you learn about it thanks to them?
Footnote: I still wish this was a super-power.
References: passport santé; Facebook Messenger, the prestigious scientific database.