By Margaret Mielczarek.
March is Endometriosis Awareness month – EndoMarch – a month that aims to raise awareness about the debilitating condition that affects an estimated 176 million women worldwide.
As the month gets underway women all over the globe are taking to social media to share their stories.
“I felt my body breathe out a little, a sigh that said thank you for finally helping me,” shares Samantha Wills on the Endometriosis Australia Instagram account (@endometriosisaustralia).
To read Samantha’s story, visit her Instagram” @samanthawills.
So, what is endometriosis all about?
Endometriosis is a painful chronic, progressive condition that occurs when some of the tissue – called the endometrium – which similar to the tissue that lines to womb, grows outside of the uterus (healthdirect.gov.au, 2019).
While the cause of the condition is unknown, there are known factors that contribute to it.
The contributing factors include (healthdirect.gov.au, 2019):
- Flow of menstrual blood – menstrual blood that flows backwards along the fallopian tube during menstruation can contain cells from the endometrium. These cells can then stick onto the surfaces of pelvic organs and can start growing.
- Genetics – women who have a close relative that has endometriosis are up to 10 times more likely to develop the condition.
- Long and heavy periods.
- Frequent periods or short cycles.
- Starting your period early – before the age of 11.
- Late pregnancy – having your first baby when you’re older.
- Low body weight.
Think period pain but worse
While pain is the one of the biggest symptoms of endometriosis, other symptoms include:
- Heavy periods and irregular bleed.
- Pain during or after sex.
- Bleeding between periods.
- Fatigue and moodiness, especially around the time of your period.
- Fertility issues.
- Bladder and bowel problems such as constipation or diarrhoea, feeling the need to urinate more frequently and bloating.
How to manage it if you’ve got it
According to the Jean Hailes foundation while there is “no direct evidence that lifestyle affects endometriosis” it’s important to stay as healthy as you can.
The Jean Hailes foundation suggests the following to help manage symptoms:
- Gentle activity aiming for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
- Adequate sleep – this will help to keep your immune system functioning at its best.
- Manage stress through gentle yoga, relaxation exercises or mindfulness.
Medications such as anti-inflammatory or pain medications are also suggested in the management of endometriosis. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist about your options with this one!
For more information on endometriosis, visit:
And for more information about Endometriosis Awareness Month – EndoMarch – visit: endomarchaustralia.org.au/