Endometriosis is a painful condition that millions of women around the world suffer. However, because this gynecological condition is difficult to diagnose and there’s very little research being done, women are left with limited choices to ease the chronic pain. The cause of the disorder is still unknown. Right now, there is no known cure for this disorder.

Facts and information about the disorder should be widespread. Medical translation can help reach more researchers, medical practitioners, organizations and women who suffer from the condition around the world.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition where the cells that are similar to the uterus lining (endometrium) grow in other body parts such as inside the tummy, in or around the bowel or the bladder, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

The debilitating condition mainly occurs in girls and women who are of reproductive age, from age 15 to 49. It is less common in menopausal women.

Endometriosis is often misdiagnosed because the symptoms are similar to other internal disorders such as infertility, bladder and bowel problems, disabling fatigue and painful monthly periods. At times the condition does not exhibit any symptom.

In endometriosis the cells react like those in the womb each month. The cells build up and then break down and bleed. In the womb, the cells break down and expressed from the body as a woman’s monthly period. However, the broken cells of the endometriosis have no way to leave the body. As the blood cannot be released, it can cause pain and inflammation. Scar tissue formation can occur.

The condition causes debilitating and chronic pain, leading to heavy or painful periods. It can affect girls and women of childbearing age, regardless of ethnicity. In the United Kingdom, about two million women are suffering from this condition.

Facts about endometriosis

According to the latest facts and figures from the website of Endometriosis-UK, 1 in 10 women of reproductive age in the country suffers from the condition, which roughly converts to about 2 million women. In the UK, it is the second most common gynecological condition. Around the world, the current estimate is that about 176 million are afflicted with endometriosis.

The prevalence of endometriosis in infertile women ranges from 30% to 50%.

Due to the fact that very little is still known about this medical condition, it takes an average of 7.5 years from the start of the symptoms before a woman could get a correct diagnosis.

The medical condition costs the UK government £8.2 billion annually in cost of treatment, healthcare and loss of work.

Common symptoms of endometriosis

Women with endometriosis can exhibit any or all of the symptoms listed below. However, it is also possible for women not to notice that something is wrong because of non-occurrence of known symptoms.

  • Pain during a woman’s monthly period that cannot be relieved by painkillers
  • Heavy periods, where a woman has to use plenty of pads or tampons, or use them together
  • Pelvic pain that can occur all the time or just when you are about to have your period
  • Discomfort or pain when going to the toilet
  • Blood in your bowel or bleeding from your bottom
  • Chronic feeling of tiredness
  • Pain during and after sex
  • Pain during ovulation and during internal examination

Effects of endometriosis

Aside from the pain, endometriosis also affects the life of a woman in several way, such as:

  • Feeling of isolation or depression
  • Problems with a couple’s personal and sexual relationship
  • Difficulty in conception
  • Difficulty in fulfilling social and work commitments
  • Back and leg pain
  • Allergies
  • Yeast infections
  • Sensitivity to chemicals

Getting a diagnosis

It may take some time before a patient can be correctly diagnosed with endometriosis. The symptoms of this gynecological condition are almost the same as other conditions that are more common. When visiting your GP is it crucial that you give your doctor as much information as you can.

Laparoscopy is the only determinate method to diagnose endometriosis. It is an operation where a laparoscope (camera) is inserted into the patient’s pelvis by doing a small incision close to the navel.

When the camera’s inside, the surgeon will look at the pelvic organs to determine if endometriosis is present. The surgeon will either remove or treat the condition.

Internal examinations, blood tests and scans are not conclusive ways to determine if a woman has endometriosis, although these methods cannot tell you that you do not have it either.

Possible treatments

There is no cure for endometriosis right now. However, your GP can give you some treatment options such as pain relief, hormone treatment or surgery. These are options aimed at improving the quality of life of women suffering from endometriosis by reducing the severity of the symptoms.

The new National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) guidance states that even when MRI, pelvic, abdominal or ultrasound checks are normal, doctors should not rule out endometriosis. Right now, women have to wait 7.5 years to get the diagnosis right. However, the length of time before the condition is correctly diagnosed makes endometriosis more difficult to treat.

The guidelines call on the NHS to listen to women suffering from this condition. Doctors are encouraged to consider endometriosis even if the patient only reports one symptom. While there are no specific diagnostic tools yet, the new guidelines will help healthcare providers in the early detection of endometriosis so that the gap between symptom and diagnosis will be minimal and timely treatment could be administered.

Women exhibiting any or all of the symptoms of endometriosis should visit their GP immediately. They have to keep in mind that is it a contagious or infectious. Further, the condition is not cancer.

Author bio:

Bernadine Racoma is a senior content writer at Day Translations, a human translation services company. After her long stint as an international civil servant, she has aggressively pursued her interest in writing and research. She has notable fondness for things related to technology, health travel, lifestyle, social media, and current affairs. She is also an advocate and mother to 7 successful children.

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