Endometriosis - All You Need To Know, Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
Your period on endometriosis
When you’re on your period, the body instructs all endometrium tissue to start shedding. If you’ve got endometriosis, the tissue outside of the uterus doesn’t have anywhere to go (unlike period tissue, which comes out through the vagina with your flow). This leads to super heavy periods as well as inflammation and extreme pain in the tummy and pelvis. In some cases, it leads to scars or cysts.
It drove me crazy. I wondered how it was possible to be so sick all the time, all these symptoms happening at once.
What causes endometriosis?
Genetics and certain toxins in the environment  are possible causes of endometriosis. There are also issues that put you at a greater risk, like a history of pelvic infection or something known as retrograde menstruation. That’s a condition where your period blood starts going ‘backwards’ – rather than out of the vagina, it flows back through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity. This blood contains endometrial cells, which then stick to the pelvic walls and to other organs, where they continue to thicken and bleed during each menstrual cycle.
How is endometriosis treated?
Getting an endometriosis diagnosis
Reaching out and getting support
Although women everywhere are affected by endometriosis, many aren’t getting the support they need. This is because the condition often goes undiagnosed or, when it is diagnosed, it’s misperceived as ‘really bad period pain’. As a result, women often feel like they’re being ignored and their pain isn’t being taken seriously. This can lead to feeling isolated and like you’re the only one.
But with 176 million women (one in 10) affected worldwide, you’re not alone .
Reach out to friends and family, even if it feels like an awkward subject. Talking about it will help, and you might even have people close to you with first-hand experience of endometriosis. Not only will they know what you’re going through, but they can help you to get the support you need from your doctor.
If you recognise the symptoms and suspect that you have it, book an appointment with your doctor or gynaecologist to find out more. They’ll explore ways to ease your pain and help you cope with the symptoms.
Understandably, current government guidelines mean waiting times for appointments and surgeries may be longer than usual. If it's difficult for you to visit your doctor at the moment, consider asking for a phone or video consultation instead.
If youve been affected by endometriosis and want to share your experience – we’re sure it’ll help other women to hear about it too – share at #wombstories.