Amidst the pandemic, we are facing another pandemic; we do not know what we are supposed to know on matters reproductive health!
It is time that we introduce a reproductive health new normal. Let’s normalize talking and sharing experiences openly. I am not a health practitioner but I believe that we all can learn and make a change in our society.
You might have had a girlfriend, sister, cousin, mother or a colleague who every few days in a month complains of very painful menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea).
Do you perhaps mention the myth that she wouldn’t experience painful labor?
If you say or think so then maybe its time that you stop.
Painful menstrual cramps are NOT normal!
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a female reproductive disorder in which the tissue that normally lies in the uterus -the endometrium- grows outside the uterus. In some cases, endometriosis has been observed in other organs, not in the female reproductive system like the nasal passages, pleural cavity, lymph nodes and the umbilicus.
Endometriosis is an enigmatic disease despite a long history of research into clinical and basic science. It is important to note that there is no clear cause that can be pinpointed to cause endometriosis.
Researchers have only mentioned theories that cause endometriosis:
1. Retrograde menstrual flow which causes menstrual blood to flow backwards into the pelvis instead of out of the vagina during menstruation.
2. Genetic inheritance:
Endometriosis can also occur during the peri and post-menopausal period due to factors like obesity, Remnant Ovarian Syndrome (ROS) that happens when endometriosis is reactivated after the removal of the Fallopian tubes (salpingo-oophorectomy). It can also happen when the uterus is removed through a process known as hysterectomy leaving behind the ovaries. The endometriosis is likely to recur.
Common Signs And Symptoms Of Endometriosis
- Painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Pelvic pain and cramping are likely to begin before and extend several days into the menstrual period.
- Pain with intercourse.
- Pain with bowel movements or urination
- Excessive bleeding
Treatment Of Endometriosis
Although the most effective way of treatment has not been found, the following are the ways in which endometriosis is treated:
- Medical therapy
- Ovulation Suppression Agents
- Surgical therapy which involves excision of the ovaries and the uterus (hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy respectively).
- Hormonal therapy which treats the endometriosis-related pain includes contraceptives, progestins, Selective Progesterone Receptor Modulators (SPRM) and anti-progestins.
Let’s learn to raise awareness of reproductive health disorders. Its time we sanitize our thoughts about endometriosis. This is a matter that needs no social distancing. Let’s embrace reproductive health awareness.
Sylvia Beatrice Wairimu is a Kenyan upcoming writer, an artist and an environmentalist.