Debunking Common Myths About Endometriosis

Mar 13, 2024
Debunking Common Myths About Endometriosis
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, shining a light on a painful condition that can take a major toll on your comfort and quality of life. Here, learn about some common myths that could be standing in the way of your search for relief.

Endometriosis is a chronic condition that happens when the tissue that normally lines your uterus (endometrium) grows outside the uterus, typically on the outer walls of the uterus or elsewhere in the pelvic region. These growths are called implants.

Like your uterine lining, endometrial implants respond to estrogen fluctuations during your menstrual cycle, swelling, and bleeding. Implants and the surrounding tissue become inflamed and irritated, causing considerable pain and sometimes leading to scars.

While endometriosis can be treated, existing myths and misconceptions can cause delays in care — and that means women can wind up suffering longer than they need to. 

Richard Roberts, MD, is an experienced provider of endometriosis treatment helping women manage symptoms and improve their quality of life. To mark Endometriosis Awareness Month, Dr. Roberts and the team at OB/GYN Associates of Conroe dedicate this post to dispelling some of the myths surrounding endometriosis to help better understand this condition.

1. Endometriosis is rare

Many women are surprised to learn that endometriosis isn’t rare at all. In fact, it’s estimated that endometriosis affects as many as 15% of women of child-bearing age. Considering many women who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, that number could be much higher.

2. Endometriosis just means you have heavy periods

Heavy periods are definitely a common symptom associated with endometriosis, but it can cause other symptoms, too, like chronic pelvic pain and infertility. Research estimates that endometriosis is responsible for 70% of chronic pelvic pain symptoms and about 50% of infertility symptoms in women.

3. Endometriosis always causes symptoms

Endometriosis symptoms can range from mild to severe — and some women have no symptoms at all. In these instances, endometriosis often goes undiagnosed until it’s “discovered” during an exam for another issue.

4. Endometriosis is preventable

To date, there is no way to prevent endometriosis, and in fact, researchers are still learning what causes endometriosis and why it happens in some women and not others. Fortunately, medication and lifestyle changes can relieve painful symptoms and regulate periods. In some cases, surgery is needed to remove painful implants.

5. Endometriosis symptoms end with menopause

Because endometriosis implants respond to fluctuations in estrogen, many women believe their symptoms will end once they enter menopause. That’s true for many women, but others can continue to experience symptoms even after their periods have ended.

6. There are medicines to cure endometriosis

Just as there is no way to prevent endometriosis, there’s also no medical “cure” for endometriosis that makes the implants permanently go away. Implants can be removed surgically, but they can also recur. 

7. Endometriosis only affects the uterus and ovaries

Endometriosis implants frequently affect the uterus and ovaries, but they can grow in other areas, too, including the intestines, bladder, and even the chest cavity. That means when implants swell in response to hormone changes, you can have pain in any of these areas.

8. Endometriosis goes away after pregnancy

Some women may find their symptoms improve during pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean the implants have gone away. In fact, for other women, symptoms can worsen, causing significant fatigue and discomfort when going to the bathroom.

Learn more about endometriosis management

If you’re having chronic pelvic pain, heavy periods, or other abnormal symptoms, don’t ignore them. To learn what’s causing them and how we can help you feel better, call 936-756-7788 or book an appointment online with the team at OB/GYN Associates of Conroe in Conroe, Texas, today.