Saturday September 20, 2014


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Endometriosis: common, yet relatively unknown


By Chris Tataryn Journal/Brandon

Endometriosis is a gynaecological medical condition, in which cells from the lining of the uterus appear and flourish outside the uterine cavity, most commonly on the ovaries. It can cause extreme pain to women who suffer from it, and is very hard to properly diagnose and identify. According to, “Endometriosis is a disease in which tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus (called the endometrium) is found outside the uterus, where it induces a chronic inflammatory reaction that may result in scar tissue... Unlike the endometrial cells found in the uterus, the tissue implants outside the uterus stay in place when you get your period. They sometimes bleed a little bit. They grow again when you get your next period. This ongoing process leads to pain and other symptoms of endometriosis.” “It’s actually a pretty common disease, but it’s so unheard of, and even if people have heard of it there’s a bit of a stigma attached to it because it has to do with a woman’s reproductive organs,” said Meagan Lepage, a young woman who suffers from the disease. “A lot of women with endo are labelled as drug-seekers as well because of the extreme pain that comes with it, yet without a proper diagnosis, which is hard to come by, a lot of doctors think that there isn’t anything actually wrong with endo sufferers, or that it’s all in their heads.” Approximately one in ten women has endometriosis. So far, there are only a few theories on the cause, but nothing has been proven yet, and there are no known cures. Symptoms of the disease are focused around extreme pain during menstruation, pain during or following sexual intercourse, pain with bowel movements, and menstrual cramps lasting for weeks longer than normal. “I’ve been struggling with this disease for about two-and-a-half years now, and I’m so frustrated with how little knowledge there is about the disease,” said Lepage. Treatment for the pain is limited, and depends on age, severity of the disease and symptoms, and whether or not the woman hopes to have future children. If a woman has only mild symptoms, and does not ever want children, she can have regular exams every six-twelve months to make sure the disease is not progressing. Exercise and relaxation techniques, as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help manage symptoms. Other women can seek treatment with medications, hormone medications, and sometimes surgery to remove the areas of endometriosis, or even potentially the entire uterus and ovaries. “Hormone therapy and laparoscopy cannot cure endometriosis,” says the website. “However, these treatments can help relieve some or all of the symptoms in many women for years. Total removal of the womb, fallopian tubes, and both ovaries gives you the best chance for a cure.” If you or someone you know shows any of the symptoms of endometriosis, contact your health care professional as soon as possible for a diagnosis.


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