Endometriosis- The Whole Scoop

Being a doula, I have women who come to me from all walks of life who have taken all sorts of roads to get pregnant. A common issue some of my mothers have had to deal with before, in between, and after pregnancies has been Endometriosis. To raise awareness, I wanted to put some info up on the blog with some resources for women who may be going through the thick of it! Lots of helpful resources!

About Endometriosis

Endometriosis affects approximately 176 Million women worldwide.

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found elsewhere in the body.

It is generally accepted in the medical community that an estimated 10% of all women during their reproductive years (from the onset of menstruation to menopause) are affected by endometriosis. This equates to approximately 176 million women throughout the world, who have to deal with the symptoms of endometriosis during their childbearing years.

Here’s a great video summary to learn more:

https://vimeo.com/20910143

 

 

A dear friend wrote this to share with you all about her endometriosis story. She is an amazing working mom of 2 beautiful children- THIS is what endometriosis looks like!  

 I was among many girls when my cycle started with the complications of irregularity. I could never predict when my period would start, super inconvenient, so I asked my OB if there was something I could do. Of course, birth control was the option. It regulated, so I was happily on hormones from about 14 to 18. When I turned 16 I started having other complications, I went 3 months with gallstones and pains no one could explain (how many 16 year olds have gallstones?). By the time my doctors found the stones, my gallbladder had collapsed and I needed surgery to remove it ASAP. After the surgery, that pain ended, but others started, which I wrote off for a bit.. but inevitably back to the doctors I went. This time to GI, with a family history of Crohns, IC, IBS, and Diverticulitis.. my chances were high that my gut was not up to par. 17 years old and into an EGD and colonoscopy I went.. and a CT.. and labs.. and MRI... and XRays.. and ultrasounds.. and more specialists and more tests. Everything came back "normal" aside from IBS. I stopped the hormones thinking maybe they could be affecting me negatively now? I had complications with my first pregnancy and the pain was getting worse during my second pregnancy. I told my provider something wasn't right, but really, what is "right" while expecting? They considered it braxton hicks. The pain months after birth felt like I was having contractions again, so back to GI I went. They said I was severely "backed up" - Daily. Miralax. Why was I backed up??


Then I heard of something called Endometriosis, hmm, my symptoms strangely mirror those of endometriosis? So I asked my OB at my next follow up about it, she decided to put me on hormones again to see if it would help. It didn't. Pelvic floor therapy. It hurt worse. And then she wanted to try a different hormone for 3 more months before discussing endometriosis.


I needed a second opinion, I could not handle the pain anymore. I was referred to one incredible physician, where I left my consult in tears. Tears of relief, happiness, hope, comfort, and finally answers. He told me I had endometriosis, an ultrasound was performed to check my uterus, where they found adenomyosis, and a pelvic exam was done to find that I had hernias. Surgery was my answer.


This was my silent diagnosis, the one that I sought out for years, but was constantly told "You're young, nothing is wrong with you."

"It's "normal"."

"There is nothing more that we can do."


Everything was linked to this diagnosis, the one that I received after 7 years! This is my story with endometriosis. -Sarah C. 

 

 

Some More About Endo:

 

Common locations of endometriosis are as follows:

Endometriosis lesions can be found anywhere in the pelvic cavity:

  • on the ovaries

  • the fallopian tubes

  • on the pelvic side-wall (peritoneum)

  • the uterosacral ligaments,

  • the cul-de-sac,

  • the Pouch of Douglas

  • the rectal-vaginal septum

  • cesarean section scars

  • laparoscopy/laparotomy scars

  • on the bladder

  • on the bowel

  • on the intestines, colon, appendix, and rectum.

In extremely rare cases, endometriosis has also been found inside the vagina, inside the bladder, on the skin, in the lungs, spine, and even the brain.

Symptoms of Endometriosis:

The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain. This pain can be ABSOLUTELY debilitating for many women to the point it impacts their lives in very significant ways.

The pain often correlates to the menstrual cycle, but a woman with endometriosis may also experience pain that doesn’t correlate to her cycle – this is what makes this condition so unpredictable and frustrating.

Other common symptoms of Endometriosis are infertility and very heavy menstrual cycles.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Endometriosis can be extremely hard to diagnose- which is extremely frustrating to many women. Women can go many years without a definitive diagnosis which usually requires a surgeon knowledgeable in the disease and exploratory surgery.

The most common treatments for endometriosis are excision surgery, pain medications, and hormonal treatments.

To find a doctor that specializes in Endometriosis Treatment near you, check out these links:

http://endometriosis.org/resources/articles/how-to-find-a-specialist/

https://www.reproductivefacts.org/resources/find-a-health-professional/

For more information and resources- visit these websites:

https://www.endofound.org

https://resolve.org

https://www.endocenter.org

https://www.reproductivefacts.org/?vs=1&_ga=2.217694998.1867718090.1547262661-1619785650.1547262661

http://endometriosis.org/resources/articles/myths/