Thursday, March 08, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday ThirteenIn Europe, March 5-11 is Endometriosis Awareness Week. In North America, the month of March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Here are 13 facts about this terrible disease.

  1. Endometriosis is a painful, chronic disease that affects 5 1/2 million women and girls in the USA and Canada, and millions more worldwide.

  2. Endometriosis occurs when tissue like that which lines the uterus (tissue called the endometrium) is found outside the uterus - usually in the abdomen on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ligaments that support the uterus; the area between the vagina and rectum; the outer surface of the uterus; and the lining of the pelvic cavity. Other sites for these endometrial growths may include the bladder, bowel, vagina, cervix, vulva, and in abdominal surgical scars. Less commonly they are found in the lung, arm, thigh, and other locations.

  3. This misplaced tissue develops into growths or lesions which respond to the menstrual cycle in the same way that the tissue of the uterine lining does: each month the tissue builds up, breaks down, and sheds. Menstrual blood flows from the uterus and out of the body through the vagina, but the blood and tissue shed from endometrial growths has no way of leaving the body.

  4. This results in internal bleeding, breakdown of the blood and tissue from the lesions, and inflammation - and can cause pain, infertility, scar tissue formation, adhesions, and bowel problems.

  5. Symptoms of endometriosis include pain before and during periods, pain during intercourse, infertility, fatigue, painful urination during periods, painful bowel movements during periods, and other gastrointestinal upsets.

  6. The only way to diagnose endometriosis is through laparoscopy, a surgical procedure done under anesthesia. A laparoscopy usually shows the location, size, and extent of the growths. This helps the doctor and patient make better treatment choices. Ultrasound CANNOT diagnose endometriosis.

  7. Laparoscopy is also used to treat endometriosis. With the use of scissors, cautery, lasers, hydrodissection, or a sonic scalpel, endometriotic tissue can be ablated or removed in an attempt to restore normal anatomy. Unfortunately, endometriosis lesions frequently regrow after surgery, resulting in the return of pain and other symptoms.

  8. The cause of endometriosis is unknown.

  9. There is no cure for endometriosis.

  10. Hysterectomy is not a cure. Many women experience a recurrence of endometriosis and/or its symptoms after hysterectomy.

  11. Pregnancy is not a cure. Some women find that their pain symptoms are reduced during pregnancy, but this is not the case for everyone. In most cases, endometriosis symptoms return after giving birth and stopping breast feeding.

  12. Women with endometriosis are at greater risk for several other diseases, including autoimmune diseases and hypothyroidism.

  13. Although there is no cure for endometriosis, a variety of treatment options exist. These include pain medication, hormonal therapy, surgery, and alternative treatments. These treatments seek to manage the pain and minimize the other symptoms associated with endometriosis.

I, personally, have had two laparoscopies for endometriosis. During my first surgery, the endometriosis lesions were cauterized, and I experienced pain relief for about a year, before the pain slowly starting back again, gradually increasing. For my second laparoscopy, my surgeon used laser excision. I have had a return of pain during periods after this surgery as well, but as I only have four periods a year, it is manageable. Ideally, I would take continuous birth control, and have no periods, but my body won't cooperate, and insists of having a period every 3 months or so, no matter what type of birth control I'm on (and I've tried just about every monophasic pill out there). I am, however, unable to function for two days every time I have a period, because I am in so much pain (even with prescription painkillers).

To learn more about endometriosis, visit The Endometriosis Association.



60 comments:

Riley & Tiki said...

Yikes!! I thought fibroids were bad. (They're bad enough. I had 19 removed at the end of 2005.) After hearing the details of endometriosis, fibroids don't sound so bad at all, although I still have painful periods (currently down to 5 a year). Neurontin + percocet + ibuprofen mostly does it for me, but I do tend to walk around in a fog for a day or two. Hopefully one of these days they can find you a cure.

Marlys

IHRT said...

Thanks friend,
Stage 4
Severe adhesion related disorder.
Best Wishes,
Dawn

FRIDAY'S CHILD said...

Wow! that was a great info. Thanks for sharing them.
My T13 is up too.

MommyBa said...

I appreciate this very informative TT. You surely opened a lot of minds today. Thank you very much for that!

Happy Thursday!

Janene said...

I really was clueless about endometriosis ~ I had heard of it...but really wasn't aware of what it was or how it effected people. Thanks for sharing the useful information. I'm sorry that you have to deal with pain - even if it's only a few days a year...I hope that something can be done to give you lasting/working relief!

Happy Thursday!

Tink said...

I knew a bit about endometriosis, but not all of this. Thanks for making people aware.
My TT has 13 cat quotes this week.

Gattina said...

I never heard about this either, apparently all my friends or women around me, present and past never suffered from this desease. It was very interesting and informative to read, thank you. But still it must be awful for you to suffer so much even if it's only a few times a year. Instead of spending so much money for space shuttles, they should first develop means against all incurable deseases ! There are still a lot. That is my opinion.

mar said...

Thanks for such an informative TT. So sorry you have to fight this disease, hope you find the right pill for you. "Normal" cramps are a pain, can't imagine what you go through...

Robin said...

Ohh..this sounds so terrible! Thanks for giving more information!
I love to run too, I am not as serious as you..
would love to run in a marathon someday!

Raggedy said...

I suffered for years until I started on the depoprevera shots. I don't know if that is spelled. I can relate to your post. Even every three months would be more than I could handle.
Terrific Thursday Thirteen!
My TT is posted.
Have a wonderful day!
Happy TT'ing!
*^_^
(=':'=)
(")_ (")Š
Raggedy

Babystepper said...

I have at least 2 beloved aunts who suffer/suffered from this. (One had a hysterectomy already) Thanks for letting women know about it.

Hope you get a little Canada breeze today! Germany must be quite different.

Angelo said...

Thanks for that comprehensive review of Endometriosis Caylynn! It was perfect because my study group and I will be reviewing OB/GYN cases today and endometriosis is a common scenario... you gave me a heads up on them :) I'm sorry to hear that you have such a hard time with it. The practical side of medicine is quite frustrating because so many illnesses have no cure or effective treatment for some. Did you try getting pregnant, if that's an option for you? I know it's anecdotal but who knows? I hope you do better Caylynn, take care!

Shiloh Walker said...

I'm lucky enough that I've never had to deal with this but I do have some friends who have it and took care of some in the pediatrician's office where I used to work that had it.

The Rock Chick said...

What an informative list!!!! Endometriosis caused a lot of problems for me for quite a while. Due to additional problems, one pregnancy related, I ended up having a total hysterectomy which luckily ended all of those problems for me. Thanks for posting such a great and informative list. I'm sure there's a lot of people who have it and may have never even heard of it!!!

Happy TT- Jessica

Kim said...

I have fribroids, but I never knew that much about endometriosis. Thanks for the great information! Happy TT!!

HighlandAmy said...

Wow! I didn't know a lot of what you have listed here.
I hope you find some pain meds that help you!

Happy TT :D

JohnH985 said...

I have a good friend with that problem. Thanks for sharing.

Christine said...

I have this and have since I was 12. It would get to the point where I couldn't walk the pain was so bad. I've had so many operations over the years I've lost track. I was lucky that having children actually made this more managable for me, but I'm still not 100%.

Thanks for highlighting this!

Gabrielle said...

Thanks for sharing the info and for stopping by :)

Ridz said...

Hey, this is the first time i'm reading about this...and I thought some of my female friends had it bad with their periods...

Robin said...

This was such a good idea for a list. So many people don't understand how debilitating endo can be.

Darla said...

Wow. Lots of good information there. Thanks!

Janet said...

I've known people with endometriosis, it's such a difficult thing!

Jennie Andrus/Piper Evyns said...

Scary, but good information.

Dane Bramage said...

Great list idea. Thanks for visiting my 32nd Thursday Thirteen 13 Quotes About Women Edition.

Kate Davies said...

Thank you so much! Really important information to have out there.

K T Cat said...

Ouch! I'm sorry to hear that you've suffered with this. My TT is up.

Kai said...

Wow. I really had NO idea the severity of it. I mean, you hear about it, the condition is familiar, but I was absolutely clueless otherwise.

Thanks for posting that - I can't imagine going through that pain even four times I year - I sincerely hope you find some relief.

Kai said...

And I just now figured out who's "Mom" you are! Duh!

Candy Minx said...

Hi Caylynn,

what an ordeal and what trying time you've had with this condition. You sound like a real trooper though!

I hope you don't mind me saying this but have you tried experiemnting or supllementing your diet with a few organic natural things? Sometimes doctors don't suggest some simple additions to treatement...???

Do you eat tofu? I know this must sound like a stupid question...but it is very good for females to eat tofu as a major source of protein twice a week. Tofu inhibits high estrogen levels which are corelated to this condition. Since some people do not like the blandness of tofu...I suggest a kind of teriyaki flavour: I use a portion of hard packed tofu sliced sort of thin, lay in frying pan and pour olive oil tamari sauce, a titch of cayenne and at least two mashed cloves of garlic...saute for about ten -15 minutes. Very tasty. Tofu is also incredibly economic! Most grocery stores carry organic tofu, and tamari( NOT spya sauce!)...

and if you can get to a good store it's a little expensive but you will WILL feel a difference...NATURAL source vitamin E 400-800 I.U's a day girlfriend. But it must be natural and taken with a little slice of cheese or little bit of yogurt or dairy.

An herbal tea recipe:

3 parts dandelion root,
1 part oregon grape root,
3 parts wild yam root,
1 part vitex (chaste berry),
2 parts burdock root,
1/2 part dong quai root,
2 parts pau d'arco bark.
Optional: sassafras, cinnamon, ginger and orange peel to taste.

Anni said...

Light and strength to you, Caylynn. I've had some very dear friends suffer with endo, and the pain that you all endure is unimaginable.

Thanks for stopping my my TT.

Alasandra said...

Thank you so much for blogging on this important issue. My Aunt and Cousin both suffer from endometriosis.

Thanks for visiting my TT.

Love the horse banner at the top of your blog.

Ash said...

I had no idea, good lord. Thank you for the enlightenment!
And, I'm sorry, it must suck.

Thanks for your comment.

JAM said...

Very interesting. My oldest daughter had an ovary removed last year. Don't know if it was this, or something else. Some kind of grown had totally enveloped her left ovary. She had to have the old-school cut-them-open surgery, the mass was so big.

Best of luck to you.

Annie said...

Wow. Thank you for doing your TT on this! I had no idea how bad it could be! And so sorry that you deal with this pain. *hugs*

Melissa said...

I've had a couple of friends go through this and too many women don't know the signs. Thanks for posting it!

The GateKeeper said...

Great research, Caylynn's. I'm sure this will help a lot of women. Just having the knowledge helps sometimes. Thanks.

Jane said...

I had a friend who suffered with this and it was terrible. I never have had it and am most thankful.
Thanks for stopping by my T13, it is always good to hear from you.

Jane said...

I had a friend who suffered with this and it was terrible. I never have had it and am most thankful.
Thanks for stopping by my T13, it is always good to hear from you.

busy91 said...

Wow, I didn't know some of these. Thanks for the info.

Lazy Daisy said...

Wow, thanks for all this information. So sorry you are going through it. Sending you hugs and prayers.

Carmen said...

I have a friend with this. It is NOT fun.

Carrie! :o) said...

Great information! Nice T13!

L^2 said...

Wow this is a very interesting and informative list! Thanks for sharing.
Happy TT and thanks for visiting my list.

Christine~AreWeThereYet! said...

Thankyou Caylynn for your informative list. My SIL suffers from this, and I didn't understand what she was going through. I know she suffers with great pain.
Have a great Thursday!

Jenn said...

Thank you.

Heather Rae Scott said...

Caylynn,

I too suffered with this for years until I had a hysterectomy. My 30th birthday present to myself. I was on Lupron for about six months and ended up bleeding through it. I hated it. I felt crazy and I was so tired of being miserable all the time.

The slight pains are back, possible adhesions from the surgery and I have IBS now because some of the endo had attached my left ovary to my intestine. But it is NOTHING compared to the hell I lived.

The dr told me that it looked like someone poured battery acid on my ovaries.

I'm not saying a hyster is right for every woman, but it was right for me.

Hang in there, and hugs to you, because I know how awful and debilitating it can be.

Christie said...

wow! i actually have to admit that i had no knowledge of this whatsoever. i had heard of it, but i didn't know what it was. i am so sorry you are having to deal with this! it's awful! thanks for sharing this knowledge with us, you have definitely made people more aware. thanks for stopping by my list!

TeaMouse said...

Great post - my mom has this and I think I too may also have it but the doc only wanted to do an ultrasound.

Sue said...

Thanks for the info that it's Endometriosis Awareness Month here. I did not know that. I was dx'd with stage 1 Endo due to infertility (among other fertility issues). Luckily I have no pain from it. And I have 2 little girls now. :)

I know it can be debilitating.

Thanks for visiting my blog. A very informative TT!

The Gal Herself said...

What an important post! I dealt with endo years ago, fibroids more recently. The fibroid treatment was far more successful. I thought it had more to do with being treated in the new millenium, but your post makes me think it may just have been the nature of the conditions themselves. At any rate, thanks again. My TT is up, if you're interested. It's my 13 favorite charities.

JennyMcB said...

Thank you for the information, look at the posts, 50 to mine and how many women posting are affected. That's a significant number. I didn't realize that pregnancy didn't help.

twiga92 said...

Man! I have a friend right now who is dealing with this issue. She is probably going to have surgery before too long. She had a hysterectomy before, but now the endometriosis is back.

Caryle said...

I had a co-worker with endometriosis, and it did not sound like a good thing. Women "stuff" is such fun, isn't it? Sigh.

Here's to hoping they find a cure or at least a better treatment some time soon.

DK said...

Thanks Caylynn for this great TT. I have one dear friend who suffered with this for years. She had a complete hysterectomy several years ago, and has had no more problems. Her teen daughter has already had one surgery. thank you for stopping by today. Have a great week, and please drop in again soon.
DK
A Flyover Blog
P.S. I just love your banner!

Mitch said...

My Prayers are with you.

Your Brother in the Word

Mitch

Angela/SciFiChick said...

I have it too.. just had surgery a few months ago. :P

she said...

I really appreciated reading your T13 this week. Thanks for giving us a lot of great information.

Katia said...

Thanks for visiting me this week! I was quite clueless about endometriosis before I read this. Sounds painful. Here's hoping they find a cure.

kamran said...

its good