March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis, a hormonal and immune system disease, affecting more than 6.5 million women and girls in the United States and over 89 million worldwide. This disease can be found in girls as young as eight years old up to women in their eighties.
Growths of tissue outside the uterus, known as implants, can spread onto the ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines or other organs in the belly causing pain, abnormal bleeding, infertility, and other problems. Women with endometriosis may experience painful periods, pain during or after sex and excessive bleeding during or between periods.
Your risk of endometriosis is higher if you are between puberty and menopause, you have never been pregnant or your mother or sister has had endometriosis. The cause of endometriosis is still poorly understood; there are no known ways to prevent development of the disease. Although, the long-term use of birth control hormones may prevent endometriosis from becoming worse.
Although not always a dangerous condition, according to the Endometriosis Association, the disease is linked to numerous cancers, autoimmune diseases and allergic diseases, which is why it is important to ask your physicians about this disease. Some women will show no symptoms or problems while others will experience severe symptoms of infertility.
Endometriosis Awareness Month takes place around the world throughout the month of March. The month long campaign is looking to raise awareness, educate people about “the invisible disease” and hopefully spur more investment for research in order to improve treatment.
While there is no cure for endometriosis, the disease can currently be treated through medication, hormone therapy or surgery. So if you are experiencing chronic or severe pelvic pain, or you do in the future, make sure to contact a physician who can properly diagnose the disease and recommend the best way to treat your case of endometriosis.