Current data suggest that one in every woman is living with Endometriosis. Even though it affects the quality of life of the woman affected, the time taken for diagnosis is usually very long (about 4 to 11 years). In this post, we will be exploring how this journey and learning what new literature suggests. Endometriosis can affect people for so long, but it goes undiagnosed (about 6 out of every 10 cases).
Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is a condition that causes pain to the affected women over a long period of time where the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. The tissue that grows out of the uterus however is not exactly the uterine tissue but a similar tissue to it. Women with Endometriosis present with severe pain that is incapacitating. It can reduce the quality of life of those affected.
THE LONG DIAGNOSIS
Severe pain is the most distinct feature of endometriosis, on the pelvic area, on the lower back, even when bowel movements take place, and during or after sexual intercourse.
The pain usually occurs during menstruation. It can also happen within the menstrual cycle because of scaring on the uterus.
The diagnosis can be mistaken for any other cause of pain due to the condition’s predilection to different parts of the body like the vagina, ovaries, fallopian tube rectum intestines, diaphragm, or bladder.
The only way to truly be sure that the case is endometriosis is by a laparoscopic procedure (minimal invasive abdominal surgery) to find the endometriotic tissue. The wide variety of symptoms include:
- Painful periods (dysmenorrhea)
- lower back and abdominal pain
- Pain with intercourse
- Pain with bowel movements
- Pain with urination
- Excessive menstrual bleeding
- Bleeding between periods
- others: fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, or nausea
GENDER STEREOTYPES IN HEALTHCARE
Women who complain of the pain of endometriosis are met with the same response “it is normal” or “it is just a bad period” and this is part of the reason why the condition keeps going undiagnosed.
Why is it this way? Existing literature in Pain Research and Management suggests that the solution to this question may lie in gender stereotypes that exist regarding pain.
The reason new literature on the topic has not been made may be due to certain gender stereotypes that exist as regard pain management
Men are believed to be stoic and avoid the hospital or not need healthcare. Women however appear to be more sensitive to pain and show up to the hospital as some authors have reviewed.
This makes a woman with chronic severe pain be dismissed by the doctor as an exaggeration because of the belief that she is being overly sensitive.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition that causes women who live with it excruciating pain that reduces the quality of their life. More needs to be done to understand the presentation of this condition so that proper treatment can be instituted. Gender stereotypes in healthcare need to be done away with.
I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THIS POST. Next week we will be continuing with the management of the condition
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