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What is endometriosis and what are the signs to look out for?

Tue, 6 March 2018

What is endometriosis and what are the signs to look out for?

It's an agonising condition which affects millions of women worldwide - but what is endometriosis and what are its symptoms?

It is estimated that between 2 and 10 percent of women have endometriosis and that up to 50 percent of infertile women have endometriosis.

Women with endometriosis often have severe complaints and significantly reduced quality of life, including restraint of normal activities, pain,discomfort, anxiety and depression.

What is endometriosis?

The condition occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside this organ -- usually in the abdomen, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ligaments that support the uterus. Other sites for endometrial growths may include the bladder, bowel, vagina, cervix, vulva, and in abdominal surgical scars.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms associated with endometriosis can vary significantly for each person, with many women experiencing pelvic pain, painful periods, depression, fatigue and difficulties in getting pregnant.

In some cases the pain is relentless. One study sponsored by World Endometriosis Association Foundation found between 44 and 61 per cent of women with endometriosis who had seen specialists or participated in a patient association reported chronic pain, or pain lasting longer than six months.

Can the pain be relieved?

In some cases, hormonal birth control helps resolve the pain for sufferers of endometriosis. For women who want to get pregnant, a doctor may prescribe a medicine that stops her body from making the hormones responsible for ovulation and menstruation. By launching a woman's body into a temporary menopause, the growth of endometriosis is halted for a spell and her body can heal, according to the U.S. Women's Health Office. For some women, the symptoms will improve after menopause as the growths slowly shrink once the body stops making oestrogen. In extreme cases, a woman may have her uterus and cervix, as well as both her ovaries, surgically removed. 

This month marks endometriosis awareness month and Doctor Sinead Beirne was here to tell us more about the condition.

Watch the full clip below:

 

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