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Signs-she-may-have-endomatriosisFor one in 10 women that live with endometriosis, having pain might be a familiar path. From experiencing painful menstruation to painful sexual intercourse, the women know better.
The burden endometriosis imposes on them, is often written off as women’s problem. Given the advancement in modern medicine, the tide is turning while hope of reprieve has returned for many women living with the condition worldwide and in Nigeria.
This was highlighted recently as thousands of Lagosians trooped out during a match to create awareness on endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition resulting from the appearance of endometrial tissue outside the womb and causing pelvic pain, especially associated with menstruation.
Endometriosis is a chronic, debilitating, and often painful condition, which can also lead to infertility, fatigue, bowel and bladder problems.
About 40 per cent of women who have endometriosis may experience infertility. “That’s why we are talking about early diagnosis so that women who experience the condition can have all the options available through modern medicine,” said Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, founder of Endometriosis Support Group Nigeria (ESGN).
According to Ajayi who is also the Managing Director of Nordica Fertility Centre, being diagnosed with this condition early will go a long way to help. It will pave the way to address the problems that are associated with it and it may tackle the disorder.
He said once diagnosed with endometriosis, a woman should decide whether she wants to be alone, get married and choose what needs to be done to maximise her fertility before it becomes compromised. Endometriosis is the name given to the condition, where cell like those that make up the lining of the womb, the endometrium, is found elsewhere in the body.
In Nigeria and West Africa, as part of awareness campaign on endometriosis, the theme for 2016 World Endometriosis Month is: ‘End the Silence’. The World Endometriosis Month is marked globally in March. This theme explains the involvement of Ms Millen Magese, a former Miss Tanzania and a philanthropist, in ESGN’s 2016 awareness campaign in Lagos.
Magese who lives with endometriosis, began her campaign tagged “Many Faces of Endometriiosis’ two years ago. “I thought keeping quiet is no longer an issue, she said. My experience with endometriosis is not something I should keep alone.
“I just want to be able to save just one girl, to educate her to understand endometriosis and to speak out about the condition.” Highlighting her challenges with endometriosis, Magese, a fashion model based in New York, said living with the condition became a struggle.
Although, she presented with the condition at the age of 13 years, Magese was diagnosed with endometriosis 13 years later. My ordeal with menstrual period is not something I can explain, she said. “ I had low back and abdomen pain. I passed out; I threw up; I stayed in the hospital with morphine; and there were days when the period pains were really bad.”
I had to inject myself for me not to pass out, added Magese. On things done to alleviate pain, she listed them to include acupuncture, exercise, Yoga, among others.
She praised support from her family as one of the things that kept her going through her struggle with the condition. Her message to girls who live with endometriosis: “don’t be ashamed on the story; you have to speak out concerning anything about reproductive health.”
However, she stressed that keeping the pain inside and dealing with it alone kills faster. Magese therefore urged affected girls and women to speak out so they can find help, break the chain of silence and become the woman they want to be.”
What is endometriosis? Sadly, the vast numbers of women with this condition, are misdiagnosed, mislabeled and misunderstood thereby subjecting them to severe pain, inability to work, socialise or maintain a meaningful relationship.
The condition may be the cause of half of all unexplained infertility. For now endometriosis remains incurable and scientists are still trying to discover exactly what triggers the agonising affliction. According to Ajayi, endometriosis is not a lifestyle disease.
“There’s something that is making the endometrium to implant in another place where it is not supposed to be. Therefore the more the number of menses the person has the more it is likely to become worse, he said.
One of the signs to watch out for is that if menstruation pain is as painful as to disrupt the woman from living normal life, endometriosis should be suspected.
Another important factor to note is that if endometriosis is not addressed early (from the time it presents in a woman, it could result to infertility because this condition is about having the endometrium where it not supposed to be.
So it is like one is bleeding inside.
Early diagnosis means seeking care early which could improve the quality of life for affected women.
For instance if the woman needs to do acupuncture, a laparoscopic surgery to treat it through the removal of the endometrium from locations where they are not supposed to be implanted, including doing other recommended options by medical experts, it will provide a better quality of life as well give them succour.
How endometriosis causes infertility On how endometriosis can cause infertility, the founder of the ESGN said, during menstruation, the woman would bleed in the uterus where some endometrial are implanted as well as outside the uterus wherever endometrium is implanted.
“Bleeding outside the uterus means that when the blood being shed outside the uterus mixes with other organs it could stick with other organs. “When the organs gum together, it could form scar.
Therefore there is distortion in the anatomy of the organs.” Similarly, Ajayi said for fertility to be achieved, sperm and egg must meet.
“The scar can prevent both sperm and egg from meeting.” Anatomical distortion and adhesions caused by endometriosis reduces the chance of natural conception.
The increased number of adhesions means there is higher possibility the egg will get trapped and prevented from getting down the Fallopian tube. Apart from this, managing director of Nordica Fertility Centre said: “There are also chemical issues causing the infertility.
“The blood is not just pure blood. It has some chemicals called prostaglandins which kill eggs.” According to Ajayi “there is also a structural way by which the women living with endometriosis have infertility.
“It affects both the quality of their endometrium and the quality of their eggs. It is all encompassing.” Although, endometriosis cannot be prevented, he said, “when scientists know what causes it the world may be able to attempt preventing it.”
Ajayi urged the government to provide more equipment in general hospitals, in tertiary hospitals, and train more doctors on how to diagnose endometriosis.
“We don’t want to see women at the point when they cannot have children. We want the diagnosis to be made much earlier so that these ladies can have good quality of life.”
Also, he appealed to the government and corporate entities to provide funds for research and treatment for this condition. (Culled from New Telegraph).

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