If you’re someone who finds periods especially painful, it can be hugely beneficial to seek medical advice. It may be that you have endometriosis, a condition that can be debilitating.
Putting up with the symptoms once a month can be damaging for you on both a physical and mental level – in fact, research carried out by the BBC a few years ago revealed the mental toll the condition has on those with endometriosis. Read on to help understand more about the condition and why it often goes undiagnosed.
What is endometriosis?
The NHS defines endometriosis as a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb begins to grow in other places. This might be the fallopian tubes or the ovaries, and the displacement of tissue growing in the wrong spot triggers the painful symptoms. It affects women of reproductive age.
Pain is usually in the lower tummy and back area, which tends to worsen during a period. This pain can impact everyday life and your typical activities. This, in turn, can have a wider impact on your life and your mental health. Although there’s no cure, there are treatments that can help with these symptoms.
Why is endometriosis often missed by doctors?
Around one in 10 women in the UK suffer with endometriosis, and around 176 million around the world are suffering from these symptoms. Despite it being so prevalent, it can take eight years to get a diagnosis, and in the meantime, patients are regularly misdiagnosed.
So, why the delay? More often than not, women aren’t believed, or medical professionals dismiss their symptoms. In some cases, patients with these symptoms aren’t seen as a priority. In other cases, there’s a general lack of understanding or embarrassment.
However, this lack of care among some medical professionals can be detrimental. It can leave suffers unable to function at work or home, and in some cases, it can lead to depression. If any of this sounds familiar – perhaps you were misdiagnosed, and it’s had an impact on your life – you could make a claim for medical negligence.
But even then, compensation doesn’t take away the pain. Doctors have a duty of care, and they should know how to diagnose and treat you.
How to alleviate the pain
There are ways to reduce the pain. There’s pain relief, such as painkillers, physiotherapy, and heat patches for your lower back and abdomen.
You might decide to try hormone therapy, or in some cases, surgery can be the treatment that will help you.
Whatever you need to do, discuss everything with your doctor once diagnosed. You deserve to have a quality, pain-free life.
Featured Photo by Imani Bahati on Unsplash