Endometriosis and Common Myths

Did you know that Endometriosis can affect women and girls, transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse people assigned female at birth, regardless of their age, background and lifestyle. Current research suggests that up to 1 in 7 women may have endometriosis.

The condition occurs when the cells similar-to those found in the lining of the uterus grow in other parts of the body, such as the bladder, bowel or ovaries. The symptoms can include pelvic pain, heavy periods and changes to bladder and bowel habits.

Symptoms of endometriosis can vary between woman to woman. Some women find they have many symptoms, including severe pain, whereas others may have no symptoms. The severity of the symptoms does not always reflect the severity of the disease. Endometriosis can often take a long time to diagnose due to the large variation in symptoms, with an average diagnosis of 7 years.

One of the main symptoms is period pain.

Did you know that endometriosis cannot be cured, but it can be treated.

There are many myths about endometriosis that can cause a lot of misunderstanding.

1. Can be cured by pregnancy

MYTH – endometriosis cannot be cured. Some people may have reduced symptoms or severity of symptoms during pregnancy.

2. Period pain is normal

MYTH – Period pain that stops you from doing your normal daily activities and cannot be managed with simple over-the-counter pain medication is NOT normal. It is not a part of being a woman. See your GP if your period pain:

❌ Is causing you to miss work, school or recreational activities

❌ Is not improved with medicines used for period pain, for example ibuprofen or naproxen

❌ Is causing you to stay in bed due to pain

❌ Symptoms are getting worse

❌ Is causing you to feel upset or you aren’t coping mentally

3. Can be cured with hormone treatments

MYTH – Hormonal medications like the oral contraceptive pill, intra-uterine devices, and implants

are often used to treat endometriosis. They are not a cure; they work to temporarily suppress or improved the associated symptoms of endometriosis while the medication is being taken. The gold standard for treatment and removal of endometriosis is excision surgery performed by an experienced endometriosis excision specialist.

4. Will cause infertility

MYTH – Endometriosis may impact your fertility and plans to become pregnant. Most women with endometriosis will become pregnant without any medical help. Approximately 30–50% of women with endometriosis find it hard to get pregnant. This may be due to things like scarring of the fallopian tubes and ovaries, or changes to pelvic organs.

If you have been trying to conceive for more than 12 months (or more than 6 months if you are 35 years or older), make an appointment with your GP to discuss further.

5. Can be cured with a hysterectomy

MYTH – Hysterectomy will not cure endometriosis and is an extreme treatment option. There is a relatively high incidence of endometriosis recurring after a hysterectomy. This risk can increase again if you are using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or the surgery to remove the endometriosis was not carried out through excision surgery by an endometriosis specialist. Hysterectomy can reduce symptoms for some women but can have other health impacts and is not a guarantee of a cure. See your GP for other options to manage your symptoms.

Educating yourself and others is empowering and helps those seek help sooner. Please share this with a friend or someone who you think may benefit.

If you have period pain that stops you from doing your normal daily activities and cannot be managed with simple over-the-counter pain medication book online with your GP to discuss how you can work together to improve your pain and wellbeing.