One of the most devastating and common diseases amongst women is Endometriosis or “Endo” which affects 1 in 10 women. Simply stated that’s approximately 176 million people on the planet and often times, as women, we get misinformation or are told one thing by one doctor and something else by another medical professional. The frustration of sifting through all of this information has become a little more simplified with the help of Pelvic Pain Specialists Dr. Iris Orbuch and Dr. Amy Stein. These world-renowned experts have written a book titled BEATING ENDO: How To Reclaim Your Life from Endometriosis which offers a whole-mind/whole-body approach to understanding painful periods, recovery from pelvic pain spanning head-to-toe, endometriosis and pretty much anything else you might have questions about pertaining to Endo. And right now until June 25th, you can get 20% off your pre-sale purchase plus free shipping (use promo code: BEAT ENDO) at HarperCollins.com. As a teaser, below we’ve put together a list of myths and facts on Endometriosis from Dr. Orbuch and Dr. Stein which might just surprise you.
Dr. Iris Orbuch’s on the True & False Facts
False: Teenagers are too young to have endometriosis.
Explanation: Teenage girls can have endometriosis and their endometriosis can be advanced stage.
False: Hysterectomy is a cure for endometriosis.
Explanation: Hysterectomy is neither a treatment nor a cure. By definition, endometriosis consists of cells similar to those in the lining of the uterus but found outside the uterus. Only surgical ‘excision’ removes endometriosis cells.
False: Medical menopause is a cure for endometriosis.
Explanation: Just because your medicines give you hot flashes, doesn’t mean your endometriosis is going away. The best treatment we have is surgical excision of Endometriosis.
Truth: There is no correlation between quantity of endometriosis and severity of disease.
Explanation: Even if you have a minimal amount of endometriosis, you can be in debilitating pain with lots of symptoms.
False: Pregnancy is a cure for endometriosis.
Explanation: Just plain no. Pregnancy does not cure endometriosis.
False: Ablation surgery is the same as excision surgery.
Explanation: Not even close. Excision surgery is the proper treatment for endometriosis. Ablation surgery, the wrong surgery, burns the surfaced of the endometriosis lesion but leaves the bulk of endometriosis behind.
Truth: 70% of teens with painful periods have endometriosis.
Truth: Painful bowel movements, constipation, diarrhea and bloating are symptoms of endometriosis.
Truth: Painful sex is a symptom of endometriosis.
Truth: 40 to 50% of women with unexplained infertility is caused by Endometriosis.
Truth: Teens with endometriosis often have acyclic pain, that is, pain at other times of the month rather than only during their period, in addition to cyclic pain.
Truth: Back pain is a symptom of endometriosis.
Truth: If your ultrasound is normal you can still have endometriosis.
Truth: Roughly 10% of women have endometriosis. That’s close to 200 million women worldwide. Endometriosis is much more than just bad period pain.
Dr. Amy Stein’s Facts vs. Myths
Myth: The abdominal and pelvic floor muscles are rarely affected by endometriosis.
Explanation: Constipation from endometriosis causes tightening of the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles; So too does assuming the fetal position which is our go to pose when we are in pain. Both contribute to tight abdominal and pelvic floor muscles which causes pain.
Myth: The pelvic floor and abdominal muscles do not cause bladder, bowel, sexual dysfunction or abdominal-pelvic pain in patients with endometriosis.
Explanation: Tight pelvic floor muscles caused by years of straining often cause a severe amount of pain which results in further tightening and shortening of the pelvic floor muscles. Good news is that pelvic floor physical therapy benefits most women who have been unwittingly assuming a fetal position in response to pain or straining with bladder and bowel symptoms.
Fact: Endometriosis commonly affects the musculoskeletal system, and in many cases can be a primary contributor to one’s pain and symptoms.
Fact: Physical therapy (pelvic PT) can help many suffering from the many pains and symptoms of Endo, including bladder, bowel and sexual function.
Fact: The majority of patients with Endometriosis require pelvic floor physical therapy. Pelvic floor PT can be instrumental in the healing process and can help abdominal-pelvic pain, bladder and bowel urgency, frequency, retention, incomplete emptying, and any sexual pain related to the musculoskeletal system.