Sit down and watch an episode of Jeremy Kyle and you'd think that every woman gets pregnant at the mere mention of a man. The reality is, conceiving a child is not necessarily an easy process. One medical condition that effects a around 300 million women worldwide, including celebrities like Louise Redknapp, Anthea Turner, and Anna Friel, is endometriosis.
I personally suffer from endometriosis and went through 4 or 5 years of chronic pain before the doctors diagnosed me. The problem with endometriosis is that the symptoms vary from woman to woman, and there is still a lot of mystery surrounding the condition, so diagnosis can be difficult and sometimes is left too late to repair any damage to fertility
So what do we need to know about this condition?
So what is endometriosis?
Basically, the cells that usually line the womb are found elsewhere in the body. It can occur in several places in the body, most commonly including the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder, bowel, intestines, vagina and rectum.
The problems occur when endometrial tissue that resides outside the womb go through the same process of thickening and bleeding, but can't leave the body. The endometrial tissue is trapped, which leads to pain, swelling and bleeding wherever the tissue is. The scarring left on areas like the ovaries and fallopian tubes then lead to problems with conceiving later on down the line.
What are the symptoms?
- Painful, heavy, or irregular periods
- Pain during or after sex
- Problems on opening bowels
How can it effect fertility?
Endometriosis can lead to issues with fatigue, depression, sexual problems, an inability to conceive (30% of women with the condition are infertile) It's even been classed as a disability.
At the moment there is no cure. There are lots of treatments available though, including pain management, laser surgery, hormones, nutrition and complimentary therapies. You can find out more about all of these from the charity Endometriosis UK,