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Menstrual pain and unfulfilled desire to have children: what women can do with endometriosis
If unbearable menstrual pains and severe pelvic pain develop month after month, endometriosis can be behind the symptoms. According to health experts, around one in ten women is affected. Women's suffering is a common cause of infertility. But affected women can be helped.
Illness is often not recognized early
Endometriosis is one of the most common, benign diseases of women of reproductive age, according to a message from the Mainz University Medical Center. Experts estimate that around 40,000 women are diagnosed with it every year in Germany. Endometriosis is often not recognized at an early stage - in this country it takes about six years between the appearance of the first symptoms and the diagnosis. Affected suffer from acute and chronic pain, but also from unfulfilled desire to have children.
No causal therapy
Cardinal symptoms of endometriosis include pain during menstrual periods, sexual intercourse, and pelvic pain. The cause of this disease is not yet well known. There is also currently no causal therapy.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition and women often feel left alone with the diagnosis.
Few women assume a serious illness if their monthly menstrual period is accompanied by severe pain.
"The abdominal pain affected should definitely clarify the affected women gynecologically, because endometriosis is the cause of this in around 70 to 80 percent of all cases," explains Univ.-Prof. Dr. Annette Hasenburg, director of the clinic and polyclinic for obstetrics and women's health at the University Medical Center Mainz.
“These women do not only complain of pain during the rule and during intercourse. Rather, endometriosis can also lead to unwanted childlessness and thus represent a heavy mortgage for couples, ”said the expert.
Every tenth woman suffers from endometriosis
It is estimated that around one in ten women in Germany suffer from endometriosis, including numerous young women. In fact, the chronic disease often begins with or soon after the first menstrual period.
The atypical symptoms, such as complaints in the digestive tract, can lead to the treating doctor presuming a cause other than endometriosis. This explains why it takes around six years on average to make the correct diagnosis.
"Many women only learn that they suffer from endometriosis when their desire to have children is not fulfilled and the gynecologist goes on a search for the cause of the infertility," explains the head of the endometriosis center at the University Medical Center Mainz Dr. Roxana Schwab.
She adds: "Early diagnosis would be extremely important in order to initiate therapeutic measures in good time that help prevent infertility."
The clinic and polyclinic for obstetrics and women's health at the University Medical Center Mainz will hold an information event on endometriosis on June 20 together with the European Endometriosis League. More details on the website of the clinic.
Just a safe diagnostic option
According to experts, the only safe way to make a diagnosis is a surgical procedure under general anesthesia.
With a laparoscopy, called a laparascopy, a tissue sample is taken and examined.
Abdominal mirroring can also be used to determine the location, severity and type of growth of the endometrial focus.
Often there is only one operation left
The pain caused by endometriosis is often treated with pain medication, but such medication has no influence on the course of the actual disease.
In many cases, the only option is surgery, especially if endometriosis prevents the desire to have children.
There is currently no therapy that can cure endometriosis, i.e. eliminate its causes. However, various treatment options can help to temporarily or permanently alleviate the symptoms.
Usually laparoscopic surgery followed by medication with hormones or pain relievers leads to freedom from symptoms.
Positive experiences with alternative healing methods
In addition to conventional medical treatment methods, alternative healing methods are also conceivable, especially after an operation.
The main focus is on "reducing symptoms, reducing pain and restoring or strengthening the physical and psychological well-being of women", the Endometriosis Association Germany writes on its website.
According to the association, there are already positive experiences with acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), homeopathy and herbal medicine (phytotherapy).
The disease can also be positively influenced by a sensible change in diet, the reduction of stress and moderate exercise. (ad)