It's estimated that 1 in 10 women have endometriosis, meaning a global population of those with the disease is somewhere around 176 million people. So what is it?
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a disease where cells similar to those in the uterine lining begin growing outside the uterus, on other parts of the body. These cells still behave as if they are in the uterus, so when a monthly period comes around, these cells bleed. Since they’re in the wrong spot, with no exit point, the blood is stuck inside the body—which is incredibly painful.
On a very high level, endometriosis is essentially internal bleeding or monthly hemorrhaging. Do those words grab your attention more than “uterine-like cells in other places”? Good, because that’s what’s happening to people with endo.
Endometriosis, or endo for short, wreaks havoc on the body. Endo turns on an inflammatory response system, creates blood supplies, distorts muscles and takes over the body’s systems in a very sophisticated way.
TLDR: Endometriosis is a chronic pain disease.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Interestingly, endometriosis symptoms are not related to the severity of the condition. One woman with stage 1 endo might have all of the symptoms above, and another person with stage 4 endo might have no symptoms.
Mental Health Considerations
It’s worth noting that due to the chronic nature of endometriosis and its impacts on quality of life, women with endometriosis may experience:
There is no cure for endometriosis, only symptom management plans. Additionally, the only way to definitively diagnose endometriosis is via laparoscopic surgery.
During that surgery, visible disease can also be cut out and removed. This is called excision surgery and studies show it provides improvement in 80% of cases.
Now that you are armed with all this information you can call it endo for short. Poke around, there's lots of tips, resources and practical advice.