If you have endometriosis or think you do, chances are you’ve come across many myths about this condition. In this blog, we debunk the myths and explore what you need to know.
If you’ve been suffering from painful menstrual cramps and pelvic pain for a while, you may have endometriosis. And if you have this condition or think you might, chances are you’ve come across many myths about it.
Amy Bruner, MD, has heard many of the myths about endometriosis over her 20 years of clinical experience as a gynecologist. So to set the record straight, read on to learn what you should know about endometriosis and what you should ignore.
What you need to know about endometriosis
Pelvic pain and menstrual cramps are the main symptoms of endometriosis
Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that normally lines the uterus is found outside of the uterus, such as on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or pelvis. There are many symptoms of this condition, but the main ones are extreme pelvic pain and menstrual cramps. Other symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain and lower back pain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Excessive menstrual bleeding
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain during bowel movements or urination
It is possible for women to have few symptoms with this condition. Some women only find out there’s a problem when they’re unable to conceive.
Pregnancy may relieve some symptoms of endometriosis
There’s no known cure for endometriosis, but some women notice a significant reduction in their symptoms during pregnancy. This is thought to be due to hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy. The benefits usually last throughout pregnancy and for a few months afterward until hormones return to their normal levels.
Endometriosis can be managed with various treatments
There is no cure at this time, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer from pain and other symptoms for the foreseeable future. There are options to manage your endometriosis and reduce symptoms, including:
- Pain medication, particularly nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen
- Hormonal contraceptives
- Hormonal therapy
- Surgery to remove endometrial tissue
Myths about endometriosis
Endometriosis is caused by an infection
Don’t confuse endometritis with endometriosis. Endometritis is an infection of the endometrium, which is caused by bacteria that is transmitted sexually or introduced by tampons or other means. This condition is entirely different from endometriosis.
As mentioned earlier, endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that normally lines the uterus is found outside the uterus, such as on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or pelvis. The exact causes of endometriosis are unknown, but an infection is certainly not to blame. It’s thought that hormones, immune system disorders, or retrograde menstruation are the real culprits.
All women with endometriosis are infertile
While infertility is a key complication of endometriosis, only half of women with the condition have difficulty getting pregnant. That means there’s a 50% chance you won’t have any issues conceiving naturally.
Many women with mild to moderate endometriosis are able to conceive and carry a child to term without problems. You should note, though, that if you’re planning on having children, you should start sooner rather than later, because endometriosis can worsen over time.
Only women in their 30s and 40s get endometriosis
Unfortunately, a woman can have the condition and experience symptoms from their very first period, which can come as early as age 12. A recent study found that 60% of women seeking medical help for endometriosis are under age 30. Any woman can struggle with this condition from the time they begin menstruation until menopause.