Louisa Lytton discusses EastEnders’ endometriosis storyline
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Endometrium tissue may develop on differing parts of the female reproductive system, such as the ovaries and Fallopian tubes. However, the tissue may extend to areas in the bowel, bladder, or rectum. The Office on Women’s Health (OASH) explained that pain is “the most common symptom” of the condition. However, as many women will know, painful period cramps can be part and parcel with menstruation.
Thus, how can one know when the pain they’re experiencing isn’t normal?
“Women with endometriosis may have many different kinds of pain,” the experts at OASH said.
For instance, “very painful menstrual cramps” could be a warning sign, especially if the pain worsens over the years.
Another example of endometriosis pain is “chronic pain in the lower back and pelvis”.
One other possible indication of endometriosis is experiencing pain during, or after, intercourse.
“This is usually described as a ‘deep’ pain and is different from pain felt at the entrance to the vagina when penetration begins,” the experts at OASH elaborated.
Intestinal pain could also be a sign of endometriosis, as well as painful bowel movements.
Pain might also be experienced when urinating during menstrual periods and, in rare cases, blood might be spotted in stools or urine.
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Five different types of pain linked to endometriosis
- Very painful menstrual cramps
- Chronic lower back and pelvis pain
- Pain during or after sex
- Intestinal pain
- Painful bowel movements
Other indications of endometriosis might include spotting before menstrual periods, infertility, and digestive issues.
Digestive issues can include: diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, and nausea.
These symptoms typically become more apparent during menstrual periods.
Why is endometriosis painful?
“Endometriosis growths may swell and bleed in the same way the lining inside of your uterus does every month,” the experts at OASH began.
“This can cause swelling and pain because the tissue grows and bleeds in an area where it cannot easily get out of your body.”
The growths can block the Fallopian tubes, cause inflammation in the body, and scar tissue can form.
Adhesions might also occur, which is when tissue binds the organs together inside of the body.
Who is at risk of endometriosis?
The condition more likely develops when a woman is in her 30s and 40s.
Risk factors for developing the condition include:
- Never having had children
- Menstrual periods that last more than seven days
- Short menstrual cycles (27 days or fewer)
- A family member (mother, aunt, sister) with endometriosis
- A health problem that blocks the normal flow of menstrual blood from your body during your period.
What causes endometriosis?
“Retrograde menstrual flow” is said to be the “most likely cause of endometriosis”.
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