Did you know, endometriosis affects more than 730,000 Australian women in their lifetime? (Endometriosis Australia). It’s a common condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside it in other parts of the body, usually the pelvis (Jean Hailes Medical Centre). Despite countless women suffering with the condition, there is typically a 7-10-year delay in diagnosis.
According to non-for-profit organisation Endometriosis Australia, this may be accredited to girls and women normalising symptoms, as well as doctors normalising symptoms when women do decide to seek medical help.
There are a number of common symptoms that women with endometriosis can experience, some of which can have a debilitating impact on their daily lives. The most common symptoms for women suffering with endometriosis are pelvic pain and infertility. Endometriosis Australia lists the following symptoms associated with endometriosis:
- Pain that prevents you from undertaking usual activities, during or around your period
- Pain related to ovulation
- Painful bowel movements and urination
- Pain during or after sex
Some women can also experience heavy bleeding during menstruation, the need to urinate more frequently, pain in the legs, pelvic area and lower back, and ovulation pain.
These symptoms can have enormous impacts on women’s lives, leaving many unable to attend work or school due to pain (Better Health). Other aspects the condition can affect besides physical include financial, relationships, emotional and mental health (Endometriosis Australia).
According to The Royal Women's Hospital, endometriosis can only be definitively diagnosed through a surgical procedure called a laparoscopy. This involves inserting a thin telescope through the belly button, allowing the doctor to see and assess the organs of the pelvis and abdomen. Sample tissue thought to be endometriosis is taken to confirm the diagnosis.
When it comes to managing and treating endometriosis, options can include lifestyle changes, hormone therapy and different types of surgery (Jean Hailes). According to Endometriosis Australia, “treatments are likely to reduce symptoms by 50-70% for most women.” Treatments will work differently for each individual and should always be discussed with your doctor before commencement.
This content is general information only. It does not take into consideration your personal or health conditions. Always consult your GP, medical specialist, or mental health specialist, for health-related advice.