The human female reproductive system is complex, finely balanced and vulnerable to a range of medical problems. Among the more elusive of these is endometriosis. This is a condition which causes womb-lining tissue, or something similar to it, to grow in places where it ought not to – like the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
It’s distinct from adenomyosis – which was recently brought to public attention by the experience of television personality Naga Munchetty – but the two diseases are alike in that they can both elude diagnosis.
This can cause a range of knock-on effects. You might struggle to conceive, or experience pain after or during sex. Period pain, and general pain in your lower body that worsens when you’re on your period, are common. Many women report pain that spreads outward and eventually becomes a full-body disease.
Why is endometriosis hard to diagnose?
The problem with this is that these symptoms are caused by a whole range of other problems. There’s no real ‘smoking gun’ that might lead a medical professional to leap to the conclusion that endometriosis is at fault. In many cases, the problem can’t be identified without actually getting into the womb and seeing what’s going on. To begin with, the medical professional will rely on the subjective testimony of the patient – which can be misleading, even to experienced and specialised doctors.
Worse, medical professionals often misdiagnose this condition, which will delay the administration of effective treatment. This goes especially if you’re having to deal with side effects that aren’t actually helping to address the problem.
On average, it takes around seven years for this condition to be properly diagnosed. In some cases, this number can be much higher. In cases where you believe that your condition should have been diagnosed, you can pursue a medical negligence claim against the responsible practitioners. However, it’s worth noting that, since the condition is difficult to diagnose, it’s also difficult to assign blame when someone fails to diagnose it properly.
How to relieve endometriosis symptoms
The symptoms of this disease can be relieved in much the same way as other kinds of pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen might be helpful, as might hot baths and bed rest. Different women will experience the condition in different ways, so it can be worth talking to others via online forums, and experimenting a little. This can also be a source of psychological support – although it’s important not to neglect face-to-face support networks, too.
In some cases, surgical intervention might be appropriate. Affected areas of tissue might be removed – or a full hysterectomy might be worthwhile. The appropriate course of action will depend on your age, personal circumstances and judgment. The choice, ultimately, is yours.