LISTEN & CHAT
Is a Laparoscopy the only way to be diagnosed?
Some Doctors will send you for an MRI scan, as some endometriosis can be seen on this type of scan. However, the most reliable way to be diagnosed for endometriosis is via a laparoscopy. This is a minor surgical procedure that allows your surgeon to see inside your abdomen.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis? Does it vary in terms of mild to serious?
Symptoms of endometriosis can vary for everyone. Whilst some Women may suffer with extreme pain, others will not have any symptoms at all. The severity of the endometriosis doesn’t always correlate to the pain experienced either.. for example someone with stage 4 endometriosis may have no symptoms or pain and someone with stage 1 could suffer really badly with cramping and heavy periods.
The main symptoms of endometriosis are pain in your lower tummy or back which is usually worse during your period. Period pain that can stop you doing your normal activities, or heavy periods. Pain during or after sex, pain when going to the toilet during your period or feeling sick, constipation and diarrhoea. Also, difficulty getting pregnant.
Is it possible to have endometriosis inside your uterus?
So, endometriosis is the same type of cells that line the uterus, but they grow outside of it.
However, Adenomyosis is when the same kind of cells that line the uterus also grow deep within the muscular wall of the uterus, causing it to thicken.
So whilst endometriosis won’t grow inside your womb, Adenomyosis does.
How does Endometriosis affect fertility?
It’s not totally understood how exactly endometriosis affects fertility, but it’s known that people with it can experience difficultly falling pregnant. The main reasons that endometriosis can affect fertility is because of adhesions, scarred fallopian tubes, inflammation, altered immune system, hormonal environment of the eggs, implantation issues and lower egg quality.
And what about miscarriage?
Endometriosis and Adenmoysis can alter the uterine environment, which is harmful for embryos. Those with Adenomyosis also have a higher chance of natural killer cells and inflammatory issues. These are known to cause miscarriage. Whilst some studies have found that those with endometriosis do have a higher risk of miscarriage, there is still more research that needs to be done. You can read more about the studies here.
Does Endometriosis affect your AMH levels?
An AMH test is used to check the state of a woman’s ovarian reserve and how many eggs are left in the ovaries. Studies have shown correlations between women with endometriosis and low AMH results, but frustratingly more research into this is still needed to give a definite answer. If you are concerned about your AMH levels, these can be tested via a simple blood test (at any point in your cycle) at a fertility clinic.
How many Women have endometriosis?
1 in 10 Women suffer with endometriosis.
Why does it take so long to be diagnosed with endometriosis?
On average it can take 6-10 years to get an official diagnosis for endometriosis. As you can tell from some of the answers above, there really is a general lack of awareness and knowledge about endometriosis – from both the general public but also medical professionals.
Not only this, but many Women have been conditioned to think that excruciating pain during their period is just normal for them, but this isn’t always the case and sometimes it can be endometriosis. It is important that if you do suffer monthly, to visit your GP and ask for tests.
Sadly however, some women that do visit their GP complaining of the symptoms of endometriosis are often dismissed. Period pain is the only extreme pain that is considered a normal factor in most of our lives and some women are told they are dramatic when they complain of this pain. From my own experiences and often being told “no” when asking for investigations into endo, it becomes clear that this is something you have to be consistent with. Advocate for yourself and make sure that you are getting the correct healthcare.
Of course, sometimes endometriosis can also be misdiagnosed because the symptoms are similar to other conditions, such as IBS or bladder symptoms. If this is the case, and you still feel strongly that you do have endometriosis, you should explain this to your doctor and push for investigations.