HOW TO COPE WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS-RELATED PAIN
Posted on: September 11, 2023
Endometriosis is a chronic disease where tissue that lines the inside of the uterus, known as endometrium, begins to grow outside the uterus. During each menstrual cycle, the endometrial tissue thickens and breaks down.1
However, all the displaced tissue outside the uterus has no way of leaving the body, so they end up irritating surrounding tissue causing inflammation and scarring, sometimes even leading to the formation of cysts. Endometriosis can often cause debilitating pelvic pain, especially during periods. For some, sexual intercourse and even urination or bowel movements can be painful as well.1
According to the World Health Organization, endometriosis affects up to 10% of reproductive age females globally.2 While there is no known cure for this often painful condition, early detection and treatment are important for managing symptoms.
Diagnosing Endometriosis: Understanding How to Detect and Test
If you experience severe pelvic pain, especially during periods, this may be a symptom of endometriosis. It is best to consult a gynae and undergo the relevant diagnostic tests. Diagnosing endometriosis in Malaysia involves a combination of medical history assessment, physical examination, and medical imaging.
Checking Medical History
The first step of the diagnostic process will involve your gynae taking your medical history. This is where the gynae will ask you questions about your menstrual history and any pain you experience.3 You may also be asked to rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10, so your gynae can better understand the intensity of your pain.
Pelvic Examination Test
After taking your medical history, your gynae will perform a pelvic exam. This involves pressing on your abdomen to check for any abnormalities such as cysts. Typically, gynae will also insert two gloved fingers into the vagina and press down on the abdomen to check the uterus and ovaries.4
The next step is to confirm any suspicions of endometriosis with medical imaging. For this, your gynae may ask you to do a transvaginal ultrasound, which involves putting a wand-like instrument into the vagina to capture images of your uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. This test may not conclusively prove that you have endometriosis, but it can help to identify cysts.5
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Another medical imaging test that is used in diagnosing endometriosis is MRI. For this, you will be requested to lie still as an MRI machine takes detailed images of the inside of your body. These images can provide further information about where endometrial tissue grows in your pelvic area.6
For further confirmation, your gynae may request a laparoscopy for you, which involves making a small incision at your abdomen and inserting a laparoscopy inside to look for any endometrial tissue growing outside the uterus. Tissue samples may also be taken for further testing at this stage.7
Treatment Options for Endometriosis
Upon diagnosis, your gynae will discuss treatment options to manage your symptoms. This usually involves medication or surgery, depending on the severity of your condition. Some of the treatment options for endometriosis include pain medication, hormone therapy, and conservative surgery.8
The Role of Progestin-Only-Pill in Managing Endometriosis Pain
Progestin-only pills can help to reduce endometriosis pain. These pills contain synthetic progesterone, which is a hormone naturally produced by the ovaries during the second half of the menstrual cycle.9
They help to suppress endometrial growth, which in turn reduces displaced tissue and inflammation outside the uterus. This provides pain reduction benefits for those experiencing endometriosis.9
Endometriosis may cause infertility. Hence, it is crucial to have early treatment as it may help to preserve fertility. So speak with your gynae to explore endometriosis fertility treatment and other pain management options.9
Discuss Your Condition with a Gynae before Taking Any Action
As endometriosis is a chronic disease, long-term management is required. If you experience symptoms such as pelvic pain and severe menstrual pain, consult a gynae in Malaysia for an official diagnosis, so you can start the necessary treatment to manage your symptoms. Avoid self-medicating without a diagnosis from a medical professional.
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