Endometriosis Week aims to raise awareness about this hidden and often unrecognised disease. As a GP I understand how disabling this disease can be for a number of women within our community, which is why I wanted to help share awareness and offer support for those suffering with this condition.
Endometriosis affects approximately 1 in 10 women and occurs when cells, similar to the ones in lining of the womb grow in other areas of the body. These cells grow mainly in the abdominal cavity.
Each month these cells react in the same way to those in the womb, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood often has no way to escape resulting in scar tissue, lesions, and blood-filled cysts.
It is a chronic and often debilitating disease that can cause painful or heavy periods. It can also lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems. Over 1.5 million women in the UK are currently living with the condition. Endometriosis can affect all women and girls of a childbearing age, regardless of race or ethnicity.
Symptoms of endometriosis include heavy or irregular periods, severe period pain, pelvic pain, pain during or after sex, infertility, fatigue, and a suppressed immune system.
Awareness is important because this is a disease that many women wish they knew about sooner. Many young women put the symptoms down to having heavy periods and thinking that it is normal for them. As a result, many women are not diagnosed until their late 30’s or 40’s and they suffer the symptoms of the disease for years without possible early intervention.
If you have any symptoms of endometriosis it is important that you seek help, by either contacting 111 or your registered GP practice. Once suspected, a diagnosis can be made and established treatment with hormonal medication or sometimes an operation can be offered, which will enable suffers to manage the condition.
For some women, endometriosis can have a big impact on their life and may sometimes lead to feelings of depression. If living with this or any condition is effecting your mental health, we have lots of support available across Doncaster.
Anyone wanting to find out more about this condition or to find further support can visit the Endometriosis website where you will find a number of information documents and support groups.