Your body is fully yours, so you need to take control of it. This is why it is necessary to continue to raise awareness, especially among young girls, to understand what the condition known as endometriosis is all about.
Endometriosis is a condition that arises from misplaced/displaced endometrium (the inner lining of the uterus). The endometrium or endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus. The breakdown of this tissue and inflammation each month can cause scar tissue to form and even make the internal organs stick together, leading to chronic pelvic pain in reproductive-aged women as well as other symptoms.
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month globally. In Nigeria, the campaign against endometriosis has been on consistently since 2005, thanks to the Endometriosis Support Group Nigeria. Over the years, more and more people, particularly young women and married ladies, are taking real interest in endometriosis.
Continuous enlightenment is necessary because doctors often miss the diagnosis of endometriosis, and sometimes, all that is needed is just to ask the doctor whether it is possible that you have it. It might just be what the doctor needs to make the puzzle fall into place.
Endometriosis disrupts the lives of women that are affected and robs them of the best things in life, even their marriage. Being empowered about the menace of endometriosis is important.
It is important to raise awareness among young ladies about this condition. If you know enough, it is likely to come in handy for you, a friend or relative. It is not about your wish; it is a reality. If you know as much as possible about it, it would only be to your advantage. Happily, knowledge and awareness about it have got better from year to year.
It is not everyone with endometriosis that will exhibit pain or symptoms, though. Most are commonly diagnosed through alaparoscopy, a pelvic examination, abdominal surgery or after a medication trial when trying to conceive.
Common symptoms include pain before, during, and after a menstrual period, a family history of endometriosis or pelvic pain, or frequent or persistent sharp and dull pelvic pain. Others are pain during intercourse, pain during bowel movements or urination, bladder pain and generalised abdominal discomfort.
When endometriosis is not diagnosed on time, it often results in complications, such as infertility. In addition to fertility challenges, women with endometriosis often struggle with pain during intercourse, which can become problematic when trying to conceive and have marital harmony.
Although endometriosis affects about 10 per cent of all women annually, according to the World Health Organisation, those aged 30 to 40 years and up to half of those diagnosed with the condition have trouble getting pregnant.
The connection between endometriosis and infertility occurs because inflammation associated with the disease can negatively affect fertilisation, affect the function of sperm and egg or obstruct their journey through the fallopian tubes and uterus. The two fallopian tubes may even be completely blocked by scar tissue in severe cases.
Surgery may be employed to remove scar tissue or large endometrial cysts, but treatments like ovulation induction, Intrauterine Insemination, and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) may enable you to get pregnant. In the event of tubal damage or a blocked fallopian tube, IVF is the gold standard.
Even though endometriosis can cause pain and make conceiving more difficult, most women with the condition are still able to conceive and have children, but receiving proper treatment and support are essential because if left untreated, endometriosis can lead to additional fertility struggles, pain, and affect quality of life.
Part of the good news about endometriosis education and awareness is that it is possible to get pregnant even with the condition. If you are affected, you can have healthy pregnancies and relationships even though it may not be a straight path.
The bottom line is awareness creation. Millions of women and girls in Nigeria and all over the world have endometriosis, which often goes undiagnosed (or is misdiagnosed). If you are among the group of women who suffer from this painful disease, be assured that you are not alone.
Help is available and even though it can be a difficult journey, you can achieve a better lease of life and successfully conceive at some point if that is your desire.