March is Endometriosis awareness month. If you want to know more about what it is, the cause, diagnosis and how TCM treats it, you can read more in my previous post here.
If you have endometriosis or know someone who has it, you’ve probably heard many advice which may or may not have been so helpful. There are so many myths and misconceptions about the illness, so I’ve compiled some of them from Endomtriosis.org.
Infographics included too 🙂
1.Severe period pain is normal
Not true! In school, I’ve seen some of my friends taking sick leave because they couldn’t get out of bed due to period cramps. I’ve seen my friend all pale and soft like a jelly during her cycle and I’ve heard stories from my mum that her friend fainted from period pain 🙁
They say we just need to fight the bloody uterus war for 7 days and it’ll be okay. Severe period pain is not supposed to be “normal” or “part of being a woman”. Even though attitudes towards women have improved, but some of the old beliefs still linger.
If the pain affects your daily activities, it is NOT normal. Do seek for help. #endospeak
2. She’s too young to get endometriosis
Not true! Many doctors still believe that it’s rare in teenagers and young women.
That’s because in the olden days around the 1970s, before the time of laparoscopy, doctors could only do laparotomy. This is a major surgery which involves a 10-15cm cut in the abdomen. Due to the major risks involved, doctors only performed on older women with severe symptoms. So naturally, they thought that only women of 30-40 years old will have endometriosis.
Now with advanced technology, doctors can use laparoscopy to make tiny keyhole incision through the belly button and “search” for it in younger women. It’s like “tunnel surgery” using a spotlight.
Teenagers and young women in their early 20s are NOT too young to have endometriosis – in fact, most women experience symptoms during adolescence, but unfortunately don’t get diagnosed and treated until they are in their 20s or 30s.
3. Hormones are the cure
Not true! Synthetic hormonal drugs like the pill, progestins, Danazol, and GnRH-analogues have been used for many years to ‘treat’ endometriosis. However, these hormonal treatments do not have any long-term effect and is only used to temporarily suppress the symptoms. You don’t feel it doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Symptoms: “I’ll be back!”
To really treat the illness, the only way is by surgery by a gynaecologist with extensive knowledge and experience of the specialised techniques used for endometriosis. 😀 The good news is that TCM (herbs and acupuncture) can help. By regulating the Qi, blood and reducing inflammation in your body, plus dietary changes, it can reduce the symptoms and prevent further formation of more endometrial-like tissues outside the uterus to a certain extent.
Ooti the Uterus
4. Pregnancy can cure endometriosis
Not true! Babies don’t poop out magic antidotes and the placenta doesn’t diffuse out miracle cure either.
The reality is that pregnancy may temporarily suppress the symptoms because there is no period. But does not treat the disease. So, the symptoms usually comes back after child birth. Some women can delay the symptoms while breastfeeding. Note that breastfeeding must be frequent and or intense enough to stop the period.
“Where’s the period??” self.com
5. Endometriosis = Infertility
Not true! Although there is no clear reliable statistics, about 60% to 70% women with this illness do go on to have children. However, as with any healthy women, the likelihood of fertility problems increases with age. And those with endometriosis, the problems increases with the severity of the disease.
6. Tubal Endometriosis = Infertility
Not true! This is seen as a common cause of infertility.
However, this is probably due to pelvic-inflammatory-disease-associated infertility, and not endometriosis-associated infertility.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection that damages or blocks the fallopian tubes. This prevents the egg and sperm from going through the tube hence causing infertility.
In contrast, tubal endometriosis is less common and does not always cause infertility.
7. Hysterectomy is the cure
Endometriosis is defined as “endometrial-like tissue outside the uterus”.
Removing the uterus and/or the ovaries without removing the endometrial-like tissues outside of the uterus will not get rid of the symptoms. The right stuff must be removed.
8. Being emotional causes endometriosis
Being emotional or having anxiety or depression does not cause the illness. Endometriosis is a disease which is very complex and a multi-factorial, physiological disease. Women with this illness may struggle with the emotional distress caused by the on going uterus war, pain and infertility, but such emotions are a result of the impact of the disease – they don’t cause the disease.
9. Abortion causes endometriosis
There is no scientific evidence linking abortion. Those who claim otherwise may be confusing “endometriosis” with “endometritis“. Endometritis is an inflammation or irritation of the lining of the uterus. It is not the same as endometriosis. It is typically caused by infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, tuberculosis, or mixtures of normal vaginal bacteria and is more likely to occur after miscarriage or childbirth, especially after a long labour or caesarian section.
10. Douching causes endometriosis
Not true! There is no scientific evidence linking douching. Those who claim otherwise may be confusing “endometriosis” with “endometritis“ (see above).
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