“But you don’t look sick!” Does this sound familiar? This sentiment is all too common for women who struggle with Endometriosis because it is an invisible illness. Yet for the 1 in 10 women diagnosed with the disease, they can feel like prisoners in their own bodies.
Endometriosis is the abnormal growth of cells (endometrial cells) in a location outside of the uterus. Lesions are characterized as estrogen-dependent, benign, inflammatory, stem-cell driven and at times progressive with diffuse fibrosis, deep infiltration, and resistance to apoptosis (cell death) and progesterone. There are different types of endometriosis including digestive, urinary, reproductive and there are also different stages based on severity.
Stage #1 – Minimal Endometriosis
Isolated implants and no serious adhesions (bands of fibrous scar tissue)
Stage #2 – Mild Endometriosis
Implants are less than 5cm in size and don’t contain serious adhesions
Stage #3 – Moderate Endometriosis
Multiple deep implants, small cysts appear on one or both ovaries and the presence of flimsy adhesions
Stage #4 – Severe Endometriosis
Multiple deep implants, large cysts on one or both ovaries, thick adhesions
Endometriosis can be challenging to diagnose because the symptoms are familiar with a range of other conditions associated with the condition. Some of the most common symptoms may include:
- Brain Fog/Lethargy
- Leg Pain
- Debilitating pre or post menstrual cramps
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Pain in your abdomen or lower back
- Painful bowel &/or urination
- Pelvic pain
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Difficulty getting pregnant
If you are struggling with endometriosis think of yourself as an endo-warrior because fighting the symptoms can feel like a battle just to get out of bed. The good news is you don’t have to struggle alone, the first step is to talk with your doctor about treatment options.