Suffering menstrual pain? It could be endometriosis

Women with endometriosis suffer pain in silence, and it affects millions of women in India. Painful periods, pelvic pain, and depression can make life difficult for women. Despite this, there is a lack of awareness about it because of societal taboo, and lack of medical care

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Often women with endometriosis suffer pain in silence for their lives. It affects millions of women in India and their quality of life. Painful periods, pelvic pain, and depression make the life of women difficult. Despite this, there is a lack of awareness about it because of societal taboo, and lack of expert medical care.

“No one, except a person who has endometriosis can understand the pain that I go through every day. Initially, I was misdiagnosed, and it took me a year to start with the correct treatment. Two years ago, I started experiencing endometriosis pain. The pain was unbearable, and I had to leave my job as well,” said Sheela Chate, a 36-year-old woman from Satara, who is taking treatment in one of the hospitals in Pune.

“The pain and the bleeding is under control. Around a year ago, I used to get irregular periods and heavy bleeding. The feeling of nausea was irritating. It was not just physical pain, but I was also mentally depressed, as I could not bear with this much pain,” she added.

The Endometriosis Society of India estimates that around 25 million Indian women suffer from this condition. As there are many taboos around menstruation, it is often not understood and treated well.

Dr Ramesh Bhosale, a gynaecologist from Pune, said, “Women get periods every month, which means that the inner lining of the uterus is shed off, and that goes out of the body. But in case of endometriosis, that inner lining of the uterus develops in the pelvis and the abdomen. So, every month, that endometrium is set off inside the abdomen.”

He added, “Normally the menstrual blood is thrown out of the vagina, but because of that endometrium, developing inside the pelvis, the patient feels severe pain as the blood gets accumulated in the abdomen.”

Often the symptoms worsen with the menstrual cycle. This ‘misplaced’ tissue can cause pain, infertility, and heavy periods. Usually, there is a pain in the abdomen, lower back, or pelvic area.

There is no cure for endometriosis, but it can be treated in a variety of ways, including pain medication, hormonal treatments, and surgery. Experts say that there is no definitive cure for the disease, but it can be managed with treatment. Also, there is not just one causative factor for it.

Dr Sarita Naik, another gynaecologist from Pune, said, “Not all women get better with the available medicines. Also, the removal of the uterus is not an option in younger women. Menstruation related issues are tabooed in our society. There is a lack of awareness, and many times, women don’t consult an expert for a long period resulting in early diagnosis and treatment getting missed.”