Spotlight on Endometriosis
WORDS: Ocean Road Magazine Editorial Staff PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied - Her Medical
Early Diagnosis is the key to Effective Treatment and an Optimum Outcome.
One in nine women will suffer with endometriosis.
More than 830,000(more than 11 percent) of Australian women, girls, and those who are gender diverse suffer from endometriosis at some point in their life, with the disease often starting in their teenage years.
Endometriosis is asymptomatic in one-third of women, commonly occurring in 5 to 10% of women of reproductive age and in up to 50% of women with infertility or chronic pain.
Early suspicion of endometriosis is a key factor for early diagnosis
Importantly, if there is a delay in diagnosis this can impact a woman’s ability to fall pregnant, as well as affect her general health and wellbeing.
Diagnosis is usually made at age 25-30 but common from adolescence with often an 8 to 10-year delay in diagnosis.
Common clinical presentations of endometriosis include (but are not limited to):
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Painful periods, pelvic pain, and cramping (which may occur throughout the whole month)
- Recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during or after sex.
- Pain during and around ovulation
- Painful or bloodied urination, altered bowel movements or urination
- Lower back or leg pain
If these symptoms are getting worse, or if you are experiencing ongoing period pain which is getting in the way of your daily activities, seek medical help.
Endometriosis is more than a “bad period”, and if you find yourself needing to take days off school or work, that is not normal, and it should be investigated.
An operation, usually a day procedure, called a diagnostic laparoscopy is the gold standard for diagnosis of endometriosis. This allows for the excision of abnormal tissue, which improves pain and fertility. Important to note, a normal ultrasound does not rule out endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a whole-body chronic disease, and it requires a multidisciplinary approach to treatment.
Dietary changes to include or exclude some key food groups and a low fodmap diet may help in reducing the symptoms of pelvic pain and bloating. Physiotherapy can work together in a holistic approach to treating this whole-body chronic disease by working to improve pelvic floor function/ dysfunction.
Track the impact of your menstrual cycle on your health
Period trackers or diaries are an excellent way for women to record their periods and track pain and symptoms, which is extremely useful when explaining symptoms to their doctor. There are many digital versions available to download and Her Medical have their own in print, available in clinic.
Endometriosis Australia is an excellent, factual resource for accurate and up to date information on all things related to endometriosis. Find a doctor who specialises in endometriosis and is proactive about your health, who can refer you to the appropriate specialities and optimise outcomes of this debilitating gynaecological condition.