Saturday, March 5, 2011

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month

 March is Endometriosis Awareness Month: Pass it on!

*Sign the petition to get a stamp made to raise funds to find a cure.

What is Endometriosis?
The disease, for which there is no absolute cure, affects nearly 10 million women and girls in the United States alone and another 70 million globally. Endometriosis is a leading cause of female infertility, chronic pelvic pain, immunologic disruption, and pelvic surgery in the United States. In addition, the disease accounts for more than half of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed in the U.S annually.Endometriosis is a reproductive and immunological illness.  Mistakenly stigmatized as merely painful periods, Endometriosis is far more than just "killer cramps".  It occurs when tissue that lines the uterus is found outside the uterus -- usually in the abdomen on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ligaments that support the uterus. It can spread to other organs such as the bladder, liver and intestines.  Less commonly they are found in the lung, arm, thigh, diaphragm, and other locations.
This misplaced tissue develops into growths or lesions which respond to the menstrual cycle in the same way that the tissue of the uterine lining does:  The blood and tissue shed from endometrial growths has no way of leaving the body. This results in internal bleeding, breakdown of the blood and tissue from the lesions, and inflammation. It can cause pain, infertility, scar tissue formation, adhesions, and bowel problems.
Yet, despite being one of the most highly prevalent and costly diseases of our time, Endometriosis continues to be mistakenly treated as an insignificant, obscure ailment. Awareness is largely lacking among the lay and medical communities alike.
Is Endometriosis curable?
There is currently no absolute cure for Endometriosis, but there are several methods of treatment, which may alleviate some of the pain and symptoms associated with it. You can have surgery to cut it out. Make sure that you see a dr who specializes in the removal of endometriosis. Many drs do not go deep enough and then it comes back. A surgeon trained in Napro Technology has expert training  in the proper removal of endometriosis.

What are some symptoms of Endometriosis?
The amount of pain associated with the disease is not related to the extent or size of the implants. Some women with Endo have no symptoms, others have debilitating pain and even infertility. Some fairly common signs that may lead you to suspect Endo can be found here

How is it diagnosed?
The only way a positive diagnosis of Endo can be made currently is via surgery, either a laparoscopy or the more invasive laparotomy, where biopsies are taken from suspected sites.  It can also be visualized during surgery if the surgeon knows what to look for.  Ultrasounds, MRIs, CT Scans and other diagnostic tests are not conclusive.  The ERC does not support “medical diagnoses,” such as administering GnRH therapy prior to a surgical diagnosis.

Why does endometriosis cause infertility?
It has been found that between 30 to 40 percent of women undergoing laparoscopy as part of an infertility evaluation are found to have Endometriosis.There appears to be a number of mechanisms by which Endometriosis impacts fertility. Scarring or adhesions in the pelvis, for example, may cause infertility. The fallopian tubes and ovaries may adhere to the lining of the pelvis or to each other, restricting their movement. The scarring and adhesions that takes place with Endometrisois may mean that the ovaries and fallopian tubes are not in the right position, so the transfer of the egg to the fallopian tubes cannot take place. Similarly, Endometriosis can cause damage and/or blockage to the inside of the fallopian tube, impeding the journey of the egg down the fallopian tube to the uterus. Another factor which could cause infertility for women with Endometriosis, may be the over-production of prostaglandins. These are hormones which play and important role in the fertilization and implantation of the embryo. An excess of prostaglandins may interfere with these processes.
Some women also have an immune response that will cause infertility. This can  cause implantation failure and poor egg quality. You will need to see a reproductive immunologist to get tested and treated.

Can Endometriosis be prevented?
There is no current manner of preventing Endometriosis, and it is not a disease which is “contracted” or “caused” by anything the patient did – nor is it contagious.  It is, however, highly suspected to be genetic.
The World Endometriosis Society Produced it's first educational video

*If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis, please consider participating in the research study.
It took me 5 minutes at home.

1 comment:

  1. You also have the option of natural treatments. Looking at one's diet is a great first step.


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