Many people experience pain during menstruation. Sometimes it is even encouraged to believe that these period pains are a part of the life of any female body. But to what extent ? How far do cramps have to be “tolerated” to still be considered part of the supposed spectrum of normality? Shedding light on this source of pain that is endometriosis.
Endometriasis – what?
Perhaps the word does not ring in your ears as something you know, but maybe your body has a different opinion. Let’s first take a little tour of the anatomy to understand what it is all about. The uterus is an organ in the female body whose function is to receive the fetus when there is conception. The walls of the uterus are lined with endometrial tissue – the endometrium. With each menstrual cycle, changes occur due to hormones produced by the ovaries. This has the effect of thickening the endometrium and providing a rich and nourishing nest for the fertilized egg which may be able to implant there. If there is no fertilization or for some other reason that the egg does not implant, the endometrium will break off and produce menstruation.
However, for about one in 10 women, the endometrium develops outside the uterus … it’s endometriosis. This tissue can then attach to the walls of the abdomen or to other organs around. Since it reacts to the hormones responsible for menstruation and because in a body where endometriosis does not exist, it flows out of the uterus through the vagina. But what happens when the person suffers from endometriosis? This unused part which has spread to unusual places inside the body cannot drain out. It is then that cysts, adhesions, scar tissue can be created. Most often, the parts affected are the ovaries, fallopian tubes, ligaments of the uterus, and the outside of the uterus. Slightly less frequently, the intestines, bladder, rectum and peritoneum (envelope of the abdomen) may be affected.
Pain should not be tolerated
Under no circumstances should pain be associated with a so-called “normal” condition. Obviously, all bodies are different and react differently, which may seem normal for one, not for the other. However, every pain deserves attention. Because science and research are making things happen and treatments are emerging, solutions exist for many people. Because the negative effects are felt in the sphere of intimate life for many people: painful sex (even impossible), infertility, irregular or painful periods and more. Don’t be alone, if you or someone you love has or thinks you have endometriosis, don’t hesitate to seek help.