By Joy Anyim
March every year is specially devoted by countries of the world to push for the awareness of Endometriosis at all levels. As a health issue that is peculiar to women, Endometriosis is said to be a major cause of infertility.
It is estimated that 40 per cent of women with infertility problem are most likely suffering from Endometriosis. Statistics has it that 176 million women across the world have this disorder while 100 thousand of them are Nigerians.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful disorder caused when tissue that normally lines inside the uterus grows outside it. It most times involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining the pelvic.
According to the founder of Endometriosis Support Group, Nigeria, Doctor Abayomi Ajayi, the commonest place Endometriosis occurs is in the abdomen. Anyone who has Endometriosis is likely to be bleeding in the abdomen.
“You are menstruating into the abdomen; the blood is not coming out. So, the abdomen gets bigger and the organs around the abdomen get matted together thereby causing pain,” he said.
Symptoms of Endometriosis:
The symptoms of Endometriosis may vary from person to person. For some women it may be mild while for others, it may be severe. Generally, the following symptoms are noticeable in women with the disorder
- Painful menstruation
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Bloating of the stomach
- Painful urination
- Excessive bleeding during menstruation
- Bleeding at other parts of the body, especially while menstruating
According to the medical expert, not all severe menstrual pain can be linked to Endometriosis. He also stated that mild Endometriosis might come with severe pains while advanced Endometriosis may be associated with mild pain.
Causes of Endometriosis:
Some of the causes of Endometriosis include: immune system disorder, transformation of peritoneal cells, surgical scar implantation, retrograde menstruation, embryonic cell transportation and Endometrial cells transport.
Persons in the underlisted categories may be at risk of having this health disorder.
- Women who consume alcohol
- Women who had never given birth
- Women who started their period at an early age
- Women with short menstrual cycles
- Women with any medical condition that prevents the normal flow of menses out of the body
- Low body mass index
- Uterine abnormalities
- Women with higher levels of Estrogen in the body
- Menopause at an old age
- Family history
How can Endometriosis be diagnosed?
The symptoms are not enough to determine a case of Endometriosis. A Laparoscopy is needed to diagnose the condition.
Laparoscopy is a surgery where a doctor looks in the abdomen with a camera and takes a sample of a suspected Endometriosis lesion.
Although the complication associated with this disorder is infertility and ovarian cancer, this disorder can be treated by a medical professional through medication or surgery.
Speaking generally on the disorder, Ajayi said victims can live a normal life when they are aware of the condition early enough and educated on how to mange it.
He said, “Endometriosis starts from when a girl first starts her period. The disorder is not just peculiar to women. Young girls have this disorder. That is why it is important to create awareness so that people don’t get to know about it just when they have fertility issues.
“It has been observed that women with this disorder have the tendency to be addicted with any drug that makes them feel better, especially pain relieving drugs. Some use codeine-based drugs.”
He also called on persons who have been diagnosed with the disorder not to suffer in silence but open up to loved ones for support.