Endometriosis can develop early and has been found in girls as young as 11. However, it is often not diagnosed until later in life. Endometriosis is commonly discovered between ages 25-35. Often, this requires consultation with several doctors.
Endometriosis is rarest among postmenopausal women and most common among tall and thin women with low Body Mass Index (BMI). Although it does not necessarily cause infertility, it is most common in women who are experiencing infertility.
Most cases are asymptomatic. However, endometriosis symptoms can be debilitating.
The most common symptoms of endometriosis include:
Many women do not realize they have endometriosis and receive a diagnosis due to infertility. Endometriosis is challenging to diagnose. It can only be confirmed through surgery – most commonly laproscopy, in which a tiny camera is used to examine organs.
Endometriosis treatment includes medication and surgery. Medication focuses on pain relief. Surgery can eliminate excess tissue, after which the condition may or may not recur. Recent advances in surgical techniques have reduced the size and depth of incisions needed to treat endometriosis. This results in less surgery pain and a faster recovery.
Endometriosis may interfere with fertility and increase risk during pregnancy. Sufferers who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant often seek care from an ob/gyn early on. This makes a successful pregnancy more likely while protecting the mother’s health.
The cause of endometriosis has not yet been identified. However, those who have had it in the past are at greater risk of a future episode, even if the excess tissue is removed. It is vital for patients to stay in communication with a doctor and seek care if symptoms change.
Reduced diagnosis of endometriosis has led to it remaining a relatively mysterious condition. Millions of women suffer from endometriosis – including those who do not know it yet. With investigational endometriosis treatments, new endometriosis clinical resources may finally be on the way. Any woman who has suffered the disease or has a relative who does has a role to play.