Despite affecting 190 million women and girls across the world, endometriosis symptoms and treatments are hard to pin down. Here’s everything you need to know about the condition and how talkhealth is helping women with it.
Last year, the World Health Organisation published a report all about endometriosis. As well as laying out the key causes, symptoms and treatment for the condition, it also highlighted the limitations of care available to people with it. On top of a delay in diagnosis, the lack of resources within primary care to screen for the condition and a decreased awareness of the debilitating effects of endometriosis were key issues with care for the condition these days.
At talkhealth, we are dedicated to raising awareness of chronic conditions like endometriosis and we pride ourselves in educating you, our members, on them.
That’s why this Endometriosis Awareness Month we want to shed light on the condition and spotlight ways that we are helping you.
So, what is endometriosis?
According to the NHS, endometriosis is a condition where tissue that is similar to the lining of your womb grows in other parts of your body.
People with the condition can experience the growth of endometrium in areas including the ovaries and the fallopian tubes. Others can experience endometriosis of the bladder and bowel. Because tissue is growing where it isn’t meant to be, the condition causes an inflammatory response that leads to the growth of scar tissue.
As a result, women and girls can experience pain in their tummy or back, very bad pain on their period and issues pooing and weeing. In the worst cases, women can become infertile.
What are the treatments for endometriosis?
Everyone’s experience of endometriosis is different. Whilst some women experience very severe pain, others can find it hard to carry out daily tasks. In less severe cases, the condition can be managed with painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen.
If someone is living with severe symptoms, they will be prescribed contraception which can help dramatically. In the worst case, people might be sent for surgery to remove some of the tissue (which can reduce the risk of infertility), or they might need a hysterectomy.
Given that the condition has the power to completely change your life, and that it is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK, it still takes around 8 years to get a diagnosis.
Whether you are on the journey to diagnosis or have received the news already, here is how talkhealth can help:
Since 2017, we have been running an annual online clinic all about gynaecology. We like to keep this one as general as possible so that you can ask all of your questions about endometriosis. In our most recent clinic, which ran last week, Dr Naomi Sutton answered one of your questions – here’s what we learnt:
“The symptoms of endometriosis include heavy, painful periods and painful sex which may be caused by fibroids or ovarian cysts. These can usually be seen on ultrasounds. The contraceptive pill is often recommended to treat the condition and the progestogen-only pill, implant or hormonal coil can all help reduce symptoms too. The hormonal coil is a very popular choice due to its low level of hormone and low reported side effects.”
A couple of years ago, we ran a clinic with the charity Wellbeing of Women specifically about the condition. If you need to refresh your memory or you missed the clinic completely, you can see it here.
We know how useful patient stories are for loads of our members. Not only do they chart a realistic experience, but the accounts can also help you to feel less alone with your condition. Heather, who is the Surgical Program Director of the Center for Endometriosis Care has been living with the condition for more than 35 years.
Read all about her story, here.