Causes & Treatment

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Living with Endometriosis

Eloise Edington  |   9 Mar 2022


Are you part of the 41% in our fertility community living with endometriosis?

If so, you might be aware of the common misconceptions about endometriosis and be familiar with some of the lesser-known aspects of this condition. If not, this article will help you learn more about endometriosis.

At Fertility Help Hub, we’re constantly endeavouring to raise awareness of health conditions that can affect fertility, such as endometriosis and so we’ve called upon our friends at Laurel Fertility Care to share five things you might not know about living with endometriosis.  Laurel Fertility Care is a boutique fertility clinic, based in San Francisco Bay, offering personalised care to all patients (view their profile here and their website here).

Read on to discover five realities of living with endometriosis.

(Featured image credit: Miranda Burns Instagram)

Over to Laurel Fertility Care

Endometriosis can have a huge impact on daily life due to chronic pain, infertility, interference with relationships, work and more. Each year in March, people from around the world come together during Endometriosis Awareness Month to educate and advocate for faster diagnoses and treatment.

Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar toendometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, develops outside of the uterine cavity in other parts of the body. This tissue is most commonly found on the ovaries or fallopian tubes, but in some cases can be found on the bowels, liver, lungs or diaphragm. It can cause pain and adhesions (scar tissue) on the organs that it touches.

If you’ve been recently diagnosed, if you have family or friends who are suffering with symptoms, or if you are committed to spreading awareness, we’re here to share five things you probably didn’t know about living with endometriosis.

1 – Endometriosis is more common than you think

  • Endometriosis affects roughly 1 in 10 women and transgender individuals in America and over 176 million worldwide (Resolve)
  • Up to 35-50% of those with endometriosis experience fertility challenges as a result, and it can be found in up to 70% of unexplained infertility patients without pelvic pain symptoms
  • Within the FHH Instagram community, 41% of followers suffer from endometriosis

2 – It’s not just a bad period

Pain and infertility are two of the most common symptoms of endometriosis, but there are many other manifestations of the disease.

Other common symptoms of endometriosis include:

  • experiencing persistent severe pain
  • heavy menstruation
  • fatigue
  • bloating
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • sexual dysfunction.

Yet beyond these common symptoms, endometriosis can manifest in a wide range of other symptoms. What is typical for one woman suffering from endometriosis might not be typical  for another. According to the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, it’s important to recognize that people with endometriosis also experience psychosocial and physical symptoms such as:

  • an increased chance of depression
  • reduced social activity
  • loss of productivity
  • negative effects on intimate relationships
  • associated healthcare costs.

12 – 14 days a month of crippling pain, disruption, life-changing symptoms” – Jessica, living with endometriosis.

You feel helpless some days” – Alyssa, living with endometriosis.

3 – It can take many attempts to receive the right diagnosis of endometriosis

Unfortunately, we’ve heard from countless individuals diagnosed with endometriosis that “everyone just thought it was a painful period.” This normalization of symptoms contributes to a delay in a diagnosis for many. Irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic inflammatory disease, adenomyosis and fibroids are just a few of the most common conditions that endometriosis is mistaken for.

The process of getting a diagnosis can be long and exhausting for some, and in these cases, advocating for yourself is key. Asking questions, researching, and finding a doctor who you feel comfortable with will put you in the best position to getting answers and support for endometriosis.

Related article: 5 Misconceptions about Endometriosis – Debunked.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Miranda Burns (@miranda.burns)

Miranda Burns explains helps raise awareness of endometriosis.

“[Endometriosis] is this mysterious condition that is taking over my fallopian tubes and affecting my chances of having a baby” – Jenny, living with endometriosis.

“Having your body attack you from the inside out” – Abbey, living with endometriosis.

“A cast iron guarantee that I will lose at least one week a month to pain, bloating and feeling rubbish” – Leanne*, living with endometriosis.

“A mini dinosaur trying to claw its way out of you once a month” – Paige, living with endometriosis.

4 – Endometriosis treatments are specific to each individual

There is no “one size fits all” cure for endometriosis. Because of this, managing pain and improving one’s quality of life is usually many people’s primary goal. For some, this might mean heating pads and hot baths. For others, it could mean surgery or pelvic floor physical therapy.

Symptom management is usually the most recommended course of action if you’re trying to get pregnant, and minor surgery may be recommended to clear away the endometrial tissue from your reproductive organs. Once you’ve found your trusted specialist, they can help guide you towards the best personalized treatment plan.

5 – You can get pregnant if you have endometriosis

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine reports that up to 30% to 50% of women with endometriosis may experience infertility, but many people’s chances of becoming pregnant improve after a laparoscopic surgery.

Your fertility specialist may also recommend other fertility treatments like intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) to bypass scar tissue and abnormal growth.

The journey to achieving pregnancy can look different for each individual – this is another important reason to find a Reproductive Endocrinologist or fertility specialist that you trust!

Being diagnosed with endometriosis isn’t a fertility sentence and while it can cause fertility complications and lead to more difficulty getting pregnant, there are ways to manage endometriosis symptoms and improve quality of life. If you’re concerned you might have endometriosis, talk with your doctor and seek out a fertility specialist to help plan a course of action to help you create the family you want.

Wherever you are in the world, the team at Laurel Fertility Care are ready to speak with you – contact them here to take the next step in your fertility journey.

* Names have been changed.

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