On Wednesday, March 14, on the National Mall and in 53 cities around the world, women who suffer from Endometriosis and the people who love them spoke out about this condition in a first-ever, international, million women march.
Their purpose? To end the silence about this disorder and to increase awareness, research funding and treatment.
From Abu Dhabi to Stockholm to New Delhi, women made a stand for their health.
In the United States, women and their physicians, including leaders of the American Medical Association (AMA), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), to name but a few, joined together to educate our country about this often painful condition.
Although I can’t make it to Washington, I want to do my part. So let me do my share to shed a little light on this somewhat mysterious disorder that affects an estimated 1 in 8 women, yet too often remains poorly understood and under-diagnosed.
What is Endometriosis exactly? Here’s a great definition adapted from the Mayo Clinic
- Endometriosis (pronounced “en-doe-me-tree-O-sis”) is a disorder in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus (the endometrium) grows outside your uterus (endometrial implant).
- This displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would; it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle.
- However, because this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped.
- When endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas may form.
- Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions. This abnormal tissue binds organs together.
- Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, bowel or the tissue lining your pelvis.
- More rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond your pelvic region.
- Endometriosis can cause pain — sometimes severe — especially during your period.
- Fertility problems also may develop.
- Fortunately, effective treatments are available.
- Unfortunately, according to the organizers of the Endometriosis World Wide March, Endometriosis often goes undiagnosed for 6-10 years from the initial onset of symptoms.
- This happens because the pain may be mistaken for normal menstrual cramping, and it can mimic other diseases.
- Preteens and teenagers have particularly high rates of misdiagnosis.
At South Lake ObGyn, we don’t want our patients to suffer from this debilitating disorder or to go undiagnosed. If you experience severe menstrual cramping, or even a noticeable increase in cramps, please come in for a visit and discuss your symptoms with us. Whether it’s Endometriosis or not, we will do all we can to help.
We’re here to listen as well as to speak out.