It’s EndoMarch, which is Endometriosis awareness month, so we are shining a spotlight on the illness that affects one in ten females.
Endometriosis is a condition where the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus.
Video: Watch Dr Ray Yoong answer your questions about Endometriosis.
While each woman’s symptoms can vary, Dr Ray Yoong, Endometriosis and Fertility Specialist from Repromed in Adelaide says there are some common indicators:
This means painful periods, where the cramps are severe and situated in the pelvis, abdomen and/or lower back. It can also cause diarrhoea and nausea.
This is painful, uncomfortable or difficult intercourse.
Dysuria is painful or difficulty with urination.
This is where you have difficulty or pain when passing a bowel movement.
Other symptoms can include boating, headaches, and sometimes, infertility.
Dr Yoong says many patients have no symptoms though, particularly patients struggling with their fertility .
Katie Gloede is a woman who lived with Endometriosis, and says her condition happened quite suddenly between pregnancies, and went straight to Dr Yoong for help.
“I was at work one day and noticed really severe period cramps to the point where I was doubled over and had to leave work,” she says. “I was diagnosed with Endometriosis in between my first and second child, when I noticed an abnormal period and I reported it to my Repromed doctor, Ray Yoong.”
Dr Yoong says diagnosis can only be determined through a minor keyhole surgery.
“To diagnose Endometriosis, you need a laparoscopy: keyhole surgery which inserts a small telescope to have a look around, and possibly a couple more incisions to put other instruments in,” he says.
But how do you get Endometriosis? Well, you can’t catch it and Dr Yoong says there are a few theories about how this condition occurs.
“Sampson’s theory says you have a condition called retrograde menstruation, which means that while a normal period would pass blood out the vagina, instead a small portion flows backwards through the tubes and into the pelvic cavity,” he says.
“Once it flows outwards, there is a genetic predisposition or an immune disorder where this tissue is not mopped up by your body’s natural defences and is left to grow.
“The second common theory is that you were born with this tissue outside the uterus. “
So if you’re worried you might have Endometriosis, when should you seek help?
“It’s a difficult question to answer because everyone is at a different stage in their lives,” Dr Yoong says. “If you’re ever questioning whether you have this disease, you should seek help.
“If you’ve been trying to fall pregnant and you haven’t had success after 12 months and you’re under the age of 35, you need to seek help.
“If you’ve been trying for six months and you’re over the age of 35, you need to seek help.
“Essentially, if you think you have the problem, please seek help. Your GP should be able to advise the Endometriosis specialist to see. “