If you’ve recently been diagnosed with endometriosis or think you might have the disease, you probably want to know the facts about endometriosis. First things first: endometriosis affects every woman differently. No matter what your endometriosis symptoms are, they are real, and endometriosis is a real disease.
- Most women are not diagnosed with endometriosis for eight years after they initially seek treatment. So what causes this delay? It’s a complicated mix of cultural attitudes toward pain and the diagnostic difficulty of identifying endometriosis.
- Endometriosis is difficult to diagnose. Your doctor may be able to say that based on your symptoms it is probable that you have endometriosis, but the only true way to find out is through minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. Most gynecologists are not experts in endometriosis, so seeing a specialist is the best way to be diagnosed.
- When you hear the word “endometriosis,” you probably think about painful periods and difficulty having children. While these are two symptoms of endometriosis, the disease can also affect you in other ways. Endometriosis can cause painful ovulation (a term called “mittleschmerz”), chronic pelvic pain, bleeding in between periods, fatigue and depression.
- The emotional side effects of endometriosis are very real. The disease can take a toll on your social life, relationships and career. In addition to seeing an endometriosis specialist, many women with endometriosis choose to see a therapist to talk about the emotional impact of the disease.
- Just because you have endometriosis doesn’t mean you will never be able to have children. Many women with endometriosis are able to have children without any interventions. While about 40% of women will deal with some infertility from endometriosis, laparoscopic excision surgery may increase your odds of getting pregnant.
- There is no cure for endometriosis, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get help. Working with an endometriosis specialist will help you find the right combination of treatments for your symptoms. From pain to fertility, there are a variety of options that can improve your comfort and quality of life.
Some women opt for hormonal management that reduces endometriosis symptoms. Many women find that laparoscopic excision surgery relieves the majority of their symptoms. You may need to try a few different treatment options until you find what works for you, but there is help available.