Endometriosis, or "endo" as it is sometimes called, is believed to be quite common -- estimates of occurrance range from approximately 6% to 15% of all women. As with many unseen diseases, actual occurrance rates are hard to come by, due to difficulty of diagnosis. Unfortunately, there exists no simple blood or urine test to detect this common afflication of the reproductive organs; the only true diagnosis is via laparoscopy, a fortunately simple, yet still surgical, procedure.
Incredibly, a survey of 4,000 women with endo determined, among other facts, that the average length of time to diagnosis is 9.28 years, allowing for a delay in the patient seeking help from a physician for an average 4.67 years. For many of the women, their delay in seeking help was explained as due to the fact that they were under 25 years old when symptoms began. It is the hope of this and many other websites that the information here will be shared with more women, in an effort to prevent more heartbreak stemming from this progressive illness.
Briefly, endometriosis can be defined as endometrial tissue (the same tissue which creates the uterine lining) which is present in locations other than the uterus' interior. This misplaced tissue will still respond to a woman's monthly hormonal cycle, causing pain and discomfort. It is important for women to know, however, that some cases of even severe endo may not cause pain, while some lesser cases of endo may be extremely distressing; therefore, accurate diagnosis is important regardless of pain severity. Left untreated, the effects of this disease can be physically and psychologically traumatic.
The link from endo to infertility is very strong -- 30% to 40% of women with endo will likely have problems conceiving. Endo-related causes of conception difficulty may include organ damage, low levels of a molecule specific to enhancing implantation, increased presence of peritoneal white blood cells, and dysfuntional immune system.
© Tracy Morris