Endometriosis: Painful female suffering often remains undetected
Abdominal pain is a key symptom of menstrual complaints. If the pain is excessive, endometriosis may be present. If the suffering is recognized too late, infertility could result. Fatal, especially for young women who still want to have children.
One of the most common women's problems
Endometriosis is one of the most common but also the most difficult to diagnose women's diseases among health experts. “It is estimated that about 7-15% of all women of sexually mature age have endometriosis. That is about 2-6 million women in Germany. More than 30,000 women develop endometriosis annually, ”the Endometriosis Association Germany writes on its website. Other estimates assume 40,000 new cases a year. On the nationwide day of endometriosis on September 29, attention should be drawn to the disease, which is still too unknown.
Common cause of infertility
Endometriosis is a chronic but benign disease that can affect women from the start of their menstrual period up to the menopause, but also afterwards.
Tissue, similar to that of the womb lining (endometrium), occurs in the lower abdomen and settles there on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestine, bladder or peritoneum.
In rare cases, other organs, such as the lungs, are also affected, according to the Endometriosis Association. In most cases, these endometrial foci are influenced by the hormones of the monthly cycle. This allows the herds to grow and bleed cyclically.
This results in inflammatory reactions, the formation of cysts and the development of scarring and adhesions. In addition, the same or similar findings can sometimes occur without the influence of hormones.
The course of the disease differs from case to case. The disease is one of the most common causes of infertility.
Severe menstrual pain
According to experts, it takes an average of eight to twelve years for doctors to correctly interpret the often diffuse symptoms of their patients.
Because the growth of the uterine tissue leads to adhesions and adhesions on many organs and even nerves.
The abdominal and pelvic areas are mainly affected - but the endometrium can basically grow anywhere in the body.
The typical symptoms of the disease include severe menstrual pain, chronic pelvic pain and pain during sexual intercourse.
If endometriosis occurs in the bladder or intestine, blood in the urine, blood in the stool or discomfort during urination are also less likely.
In many cases, painful cysts also form. Some women also experience non-specific complaints such as back pain, headache, dizziness and stomach problems.
Endometriosis is quickly dismissed as a "women's problem"
The fact that so much time passes between the appearance of the first symptoms and the diagnosis is also due to the low level of awareness of the disease.
Most women have never heard of endometriosis before being diagnosed and often have not been taken seriously by their environment and their doctors for years.
"Endometriosis is an invisible disease, but not conceited," said Sabine Steiner, CEO of the Endometriosis Association Germany.
According to her, women with endometriosis are often socially excluded. Since the disease cannot be seen superficially, endometriosis is quickly dismissed as a "women's problem".
(Not only) on the occasion of the nationwide endometriosis day on September 29, it should be pointed out that abdominal pain is not part of “being a woman”.
When girls and women no longer grow up with this misconception, they can name their pain much more easily and quickly.
Positive experiences with alternative healing methods
The pain caused by endometriosis is often treated with pain medication, but such medication has no influence on the course of the actual disease.
In many cases, the only option is surgery, especially if endometriosis prevents the desire to have children. But despite the successful operation, the pain can have become chronic in the many years in which the disease was untreated.
In addition to conventional medical treatment methods, alternative healing methods are also conceivable, especially after an operation.
The main focus is on "reducing symptoms, reducing pain and restoring or strengthening the physical and psychological well-being of women", the Endometriosis Association Germany writes on its website.
According to the association, there are already positive experiences with acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), homeopathy and herbal medicine (phytotherapy).
The disease can also be positively influenced by a sensible change in diet, the reduction of stress and moderate exercise. (ad)