Endometriosis – the silent disease and what you need to know
COVID has definitely taken over our minds and our newsfeeds lately and we’re at risk of ignoring our own wellness. So we missed Enometriosis Awareness month which is yet another women’s health issue we feel needs more focus. We want to talk about the importance of understanding some of the signs of this ‘invisible illness’.
It’s important for us to understand and have conversations around conditions like endometriosis. By doing so we can raise awareness and ensure that we have the resources and support to help deal with it, Because the effects aren’t just physical – they are psychological as well.
Dr. Kroft is a Gynecologist specializing in the treatment of endometriosis at Sunnybrook Hospital. She has some important advice to share. Firstly, she warns us of the importance of listening to our bodies. We should not dismiss signs of potential issues that we might confuse with the hormone havoc our bodies tend to go through during life North of 40.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a chronic and painful disease that occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus starts growing outside of the uterus, where it doesn’t belong.
Good news and bad news
Endometriosis is hormonally driven and therefore tends to get better during perimenopause. However, because it is hormonally driven, there are certain things to be aware of:
- Hormone replacement therapy can be a blessing and a curse. While it can relieve symptoms of perimenopause, it can also activate and stimulate endometriosis allowing the pain to return. Something to keep in mind if you’re considering HRT.
- Adenomyosis is related to endometriosis and most commonly found in women 40 and upwards. This condition can be very painful and should not be ignored. It can be confused for typical perimenopause symptoms like heavier and irregular periods and painful sex. It can also be confused for fibroids.
Anytime women over 40 experience symptoms of pain and/or irregularity, we shouldn’t slough it off as the start of menopause. It could be something more serious like uterine cancer or adenomyosis.
As women, we have to listen to our bodies and pay attention to the signs. As our bodies change over 40, many things start to happen. Most of them are new to us so Dr. Kroft suggests keeping track of what’s happening and question everything. Missing or mistaking a symptom for menopause could lead to bigger issues.
A few facts about endometriosis:
- Endometriosis goes beyond physical pain and can have a psychological impact.
- Endometriosis affects one in 10 women of reproductive age in in Canada.
- In Canada, individuals with endometriosis often experience a diagnosis delay of more than five years.
- #DYK heredity plays a role in the development of endometriosis, it can affect individuals of any race from puberty to post-menopause.
- 9,651 individuals with endometriosis visit the Emergency Department for a reason in the first year after diagnosis.
The Endometriosis Network of Canada is a great resource for those looking for more information if you or someone you know is suffering.