Common Myths About Endometriosis
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, and we’re using it as an excuse to *finally* debunk some of the most common myths about endometriosis.
Despite how common endometriosis is (10% of women globally are affected by it), it is not well understood. This has led to several misconceptions, misconceptions we’re going to clear up today in an effort to educate ourselves and our readers. So let’s get started!
The 5 Most Common Misconceptions About Endometriosis
- That it’s a rare condition: Far too many people believe that endometriosis is a rare condition. Therefore, when they start to experience some of the telltale signs, they dismiss their pain, chalking it up to a heavy period or IBS. The reality is that endometriosis affects roughly 1 in 10 women globally, so it’s far from rare. That said, there is a lack of funding and research behind the condition, which is needed to learn more about it and help raise awareness.
- That it doesn’t affect younger people: People (including doctors) are quick to believe that endometriosis only affects people over the age of 30. This leads to particularly high rates of misdiagnoses among girls and younger women, despite the fact that the symptoms they complain about (painful periods, pain during penetrative sex, etc…) all point to endo. The reality is that teenagers and young adults in their early 20s often experience symptoms of endometriosis, however, the misconception that the condition only affects older people leads to misdiagnosis. Only after repeated misdiagnoses, by which point they are over 30 years of age, do they finally receive an endometriosis diagnosis.
- That it can be “cured” by a hysterectomy or hormonal treatments: First thing’s first, as it stands, there is no cure for endometriosis. Although there are various treatments that may help reduce inflammation or pain, there is no known cure. A hysterectomy may help alleviate severe period pain or heavy bleeding, but it isn’t guaranteed, with some people failing to notice any difference in pain levels post-hysterectomy. Similarly, alternative or hormonal treatments, such as acupuncture, the birth control pill, progestins, or nutritional therapy, may help relieve pain or discomfort, but they won’t have any long-term effects on the disease, nor will they cure it.
- That it’s always painful: The most common symptom of endometriosis? Pain. However, not all those diagnosed with endometriosis experience pain. Although painful periods or intercourse may be what prompts many people to seek help, others receive their endometriosis diagnosis not because of any pain they’re experiencing but because they are having trouble conceiving. (Infertility, trouble getting pregnant, and miscarriages during pregnancy are all symptoms of endometriosis.)
- That it can be prevented: That endometriosis can be prevented or avoided is another popular misconception about the condition. As there is no clear understanding of what causes endometriosis, there is currently no way to prevent it. So if you read something telling you to eat this or drink that if you want to avoid endometriosis, best to ignore it.
There are so many myths about endometriosis floating around, and the reality is that there is still a lot we don’t know. We are committed to raising awareness and sharing information that inspires conversations among those who are (or could be) struggling with Endometriosis.
We encourage you to become your own advocate by educating yourself and asking important questions about your health. Watch for the most common warning signs of endo (painful periods, pain during penetrative intercourse, abnormal or heavy periods, infertility, and painful bowel movements) and always take them seriously. If you experience any of the former, speak to your doctor or healthcare professional to learn more.