March, A Month For Endometriosis

Endometriosis awareness ribbon

March is a big month for health and there’s a lot on:

The 8th of March was of course International Women’s Day and the whole of month is Endometriosis Awareness Month: March into Yellow.

💛 That last one, March into Yellow, really gets the Complete Care Pharmacy team excited.

March into Yellow aims to open up conversations about the disease and allow everyone to get involved.

The event encourages the community to show support for this invisible illness by wearing yellow and also raises funds for endometriosis education and research.

Despite its moniker, ‘an invisible illness’, the condition affects roughly 10% (190 million) of reproductive age women and girls globally according to the WHO.

Here in Australia, nearly 1 million Australians live with endometriosis at some point in their lives.

People wearing yellow

As such, we’re ensuring you understand endometriosis by detailing:

  • What endometriosis is
  • The symptoms
  • Diagnosing endometriosis
  • Risk factors
  • Things women can do to reduce the risks

What endometriosis is

Endometriosis is a medical condition that affects girls and women where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus, called endometrium, grows outside the uterus.

When someone has endometriosis, this tissue can be found on other organs within the pelvis, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

During a menstrual cycle, this misplaced tissue behaves like normal endometrium, thickening, breaking down, and bleeding.

However, because it’s outside the uterus, there’s no way for the body to expel it, leading to inflammation, pain, and sometimes the formation of scar tissue.

The symptoms

Endometriosis can cause a range of symptoms, including:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Lower back pain, especially during menstruation
  • Pain during exercise or physical activity
  • Painful urination (due to endometrial tissue affecting nearby organs)
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Depression, anxiety, mood swings
  • Painful intercourse, and
  • Infertility

The degree of severity and which ones may be present vary from woman to woman.

Not everyone with endometriosis will experience all of these symptoms. Some women may have severe endometriosis with minimal symptoms, while others may have mild disease with significant symptoms.

This helps explain why professional medical advice is a great choice.

Diagnosing endometriosis

Diagnosing endometriosis often involves a combination of checks/exams, questions and discussions with a professional.

They will inquire about symptoms such as pelvic pain, painful menstruation and infertility.

Pelvic exams can show telltale signs such scar tissue.

Imaging tests like an ultrasound may be used to detect ovarian cysts or other signs of endometrial tissue outside the uterus.

Surgery can also be an option in some cases as it allows visualisation and biopsy of endometrial tissue for confirmation.

However, the symptoms of endometriosis can be vague and vary considerably which is why talking to a professional to discuss your unique and specific complaints is important.

If you’re experiencing pain, discomfort or symptoms similar to those listed above, our expert Nurse Practitioner Services are here to help and offer solutions.

Nurse and patient

Risk factors

There are a number of factors that can increase risks of developing endometriosis, and can include:

Family History
Women with a close relative, like a mother or sister with the condition.

Menstrual History
Starting menstruation at an early age or experiencing short menstrual cycles (less than 27 days) may increase the risk.

Immune System Disorders
Conditions that weaken the immune system or disrupt hormonal balance.

Environmental Toxins
Exposure to toxins such as dioxins which can be found in certain pesticides and industrial products may increase the risk.

Reproductive Factors
Delaying pregnancy or never having given birth may increase the risk, as pregnancy temporarily pauses menstruation.

Lifestyle Choices
High levels of stress, a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet choices may exacerbate inflammation and hormonal imbalances.

Why is “inflammation” such a buzzword around endometriosis?

Inflammation is central to the condition’s development and symptoms. Understanding and treating inflammation is key to managing the pain and complications that endometriosis can bring.

Things women can do to reduce the risks

Like many medical conditions, there’s no guaranteed way to prevent endometriosis, however, there are a few changes you can make to help reduce the risk or manage symptoms.

These include:

Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity can lead to higher levels of inflammation and hormonal imbalances, so maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise may help.

Limit Alcohol and Caffeine
That includes energy drinks too, not only coffee. Excessive alcohol and caffeine may disrupt hormone levels and worsen endometriosis.

Manage Stress
Chronic stress, which means it lasts 3 months or more, can contribute.

Live a Healthy Life
A proper diet, no smoking, adequate sleep and as we mentioned, a lot of exercise and minimal stress can limit pain and symptoms.

Have Regular Check-ups
Regular check-ups allow for early detection and management of reproductive health issues, including endometriosis.

Get medical advice if symptoms arise
Quickly seeking a medical professional when and if symptoms arise can help alleviate them before they get serious and help you find solutions per your circumstances.

Speak to a professional today.

Endometriosis diagram

Endometriosis in summary

Even if you don’t have the condition, it’s likely that a friend or family member has been affected, whether you know it or not.

Sometimes, people write symptoms off as being ‘under the weather’ or just period pain, however it’s important to talk to a professional to ensure your life is not negatively impacted.

If you or someone close to you experiences any of the symptoms above, or would like to double check through professional advice on products available to help relieve pain, get in touch with us.

We’re proud advocates of women’s health

At Complete Care Pharmacy, our people are well-trained, experienced in and passionate about seeing girls and women live fulfilling, healthy lives.

We stock a range of products and services suiting girl’s and women’s health needs.

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