March Is National Endometriosis Awareness Month

Endometriosis is a young woman’s health issue. It can cause pain, abnormal bleeding and infertility.

 

The lining of the uterus (womb) is called the endometrium. If a woman does not become pregnant, this lining is shed every month. This is a menstrual period or menstruation. The endometrium then grows back and the cycle begins again.

 

Sometimes a few cells from this lining don’t flow out of the woman’s body. Instead these cells flow backward through the fallopian tubes and out into pelvis or into the abdomen. The fallopian tubes are the “tunnels” through which a woman’s eggs pass from her ovaries to her uterus. The ends of the fallopian tubes sit on top of the ovaries and “catch” the mature eggs as they come out of the ovaries.

 

When the cells of the endometrium flow out into the pelvis or abdomen, they may attach themselves to other parts of the pelvis or abdomen. However, they are still endometrial cells. They will still respond to the woman’s monthly hormones and undergo changes that prepare them to either grow bigger to cushion a growing baby or to be shed if there is no baby. This growing and bleeding outside the uterus may cause the woman pain.

 

Sometimes the pain can be very severe. At other times the woman doesn’t know she has endometriosis until she wants to get pregnant and finds that she has difficulty.

 

No one knows why some women develop endometriosis from the backflow of cells. No one knows why endometriosis is associated with infertility. No one knows why some women with endometriosis are infertile and others are not.

 

Endometriosis can only be diagnosed by a doctor. Not all pelvic or abdominal pain is caused by endometriosis. Pelvic and abdominal pain may be a symptom of other illnesses. Have all pelvic and abdominal pain evaluated by a healthcare provider.

 

Treatments for endometriosis are tailored to the individual woman and depend on her age and whether or not she wants to have children.

 

Currently there is no known relationship between endometriosis and cancer of the female reproductive system. But, again, ALL pelvic and abdominal pain must be evaluated by a healthcare provider.

 

Endometriosis can be painful and incapacitating. It can cause emotional suffering and days lost from work.

 

March is National Endometriosis Awareness Month

 

To find out more about endometriosis click the following links.

 

 

National Institutes of Health

            MedlinePlus

            Publications

 

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists             

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Mary Lou Bernardo, PhD, MSN

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