Let's Debunk some endo myths!
by: fela m'tima
Holy hell are there some crazy myths out there. Some sadly come from very experienced Obgyn's from all over the world. What scares me the most, is that some women can easily believe these things. It's not their fault, I've been the culprit too. When you're diagnosed with any illness, especially Endometriosis, sometimes you don't even know what the disease is.
I was one of those women and therefor any information seemed correct. The more proper information we have, the better we can treat ourselves and also advise our endo-sisters around us.
1) Hysterectomy is a cure.
Total Myth. But, what needs to be made extremely clear is that a hysterectomy (and partial) can be amazing treatment options. Therefor we need to stray away from being made believe that it will solve all our problems, while also understanding that for some women, this is the best next step to getting relief and is usually a "last option" once proper excision by a specialist has been done. Let's also take a moment to spread some love for those women who have been brave enough to make this choice when they have desperately tried every other treatment option. (This ladies, is why we need a real cure so bad.)
2) Retrograde Flow
Now, this one has become really tricky because there are an insane amount of articles saying that this is one of the biggest theories of how women develop Endometriosis. I remember when I first read about it and thought, "Hey, that actually makes sense!". I believe that because this disease has so many mysteries, it's so easy to grab onto any sort of a theory. We are all fighting
to understand this disease well enough that maybe we could find that cure we all so desperately want. But, here are some solid reasons that this is definitely a myth, told by David Redwine.
-The pathogenesis of Endometriosis differentiates it from the endometrium (the tissue inside the uterus)
-Women can develop Endometriosis post-hysterectomy
-Men can develop Endometriosis (rare, but true)
-Endometriosis has been found in autopsy of female fetuses, suggesting that Endometriosis is placed throughout the body as part of organ development.
3) You can only get Endo in your Pelvic Region
Though not as common as Pelvic Endometriosis, Thoracic Endometriosis cases are all over. Ranging from small legions found on the diaphragm, to Endometriosis on the walls of the chest cavity, nerves, and lungs. A lot of these cases can be asymptomatic and that's my personal theory on why it's not talked about enough. Sadly, when the symptoms present themselves, they can be more than life crushing. Everything from breathing problems, chest, arm, shoulder, and back pain. This myth hits home for me as a woman with both pelvic and thoracic endo. I feel as if this myth didn't exist, maybe more doctors would take these symptoms more seriously when a woman sees her Obgyn and complains of chest pain. Unfortunately, it is rare to see endo of the chest on an MRI which is another reason why it is so dismissed! If you have any of these symptoms, your pain is real, and we believe you! I also encourage you to check out Dr. Nezhat's article on Thoracic Endometriosis.
4) It's just like period pain.
Well, if you want to get a woman with Endometriosis completely infuriated with hormonal anger, try telling her this. Endometriosis is so much more than period pain and one of the most obvious reasons is that the pain is not just during menstruation! A very large amount of women with Endometriosis don't even get periods due to how debilitating they are but yet still struggle with chronic pain. Endometriosis is an autoimmune disease meaning it attacks the immune system as a whole. It can affect almost every part of your body and that is why it is absurd to try and compare it to "period pain." We need to break this stigma!
5) You're too young to have Endometriosis.
I have read way many sites that claim that only women over the age of 30 or 40 can get Endometriosis (same goes for Adenomyosis). This made me so lonely when I first got diagnosed because I believed it for a bit! When really, the community of women with Endometriosis and Adenomyosis aged from 18-30 is so enormous. I'm hoping with how active these women are to bringing awareness to Endo and Adeno that this myth will finally be laid to rest. We are here, we are young, and we will keep fighting!