Endometriosis is not a rare condition: it affects an estimated 176 million women worldwide. However, while decades of research have told us a great deal more about the disease and how to treat it, there still exist many misconceptions. Long-standing taboos about gynaecological health, ignorance of the facts, and the wide variety of symptoms all combine to obscure a clear picture of how endometriosis affects a woman. Female gynaecologist Miss Amanda Tozer sees many women at her London clinic who despairingly say the perception of her colleagues, and sometimes even friends and family, is that she is merely overreacting to ‘bad period pains’.
I’ve tried but I can’t ‘just get on with it’
When a condition gets in the way of daily life, then it is not ‘normal’ and you can’t ‘just get on with it’. Endometriosis can have a disruptive effect not just on relationships and home life but at work, too: a paper published by the Global Study of Women’s Health in 2011 found that endometriosis accounts for a significant loss of productivity of 11 hours per woman per week. One symptom is heavy, prolonged and severely painful periods. Others include pain during and after sexual intercourse, pelvic pain and difficulty in getting pregnant. Knowing one has endometriosis can help in the management of the symptoms, but consider the finding that, on average, it takes seven years from the onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment; during this time a woman can experience both significant emotional and physical distress without understanding what is happening to her body.
What are my options?
There is, unfortunately, no cure for endometriosis but there are treatments to relieve pain, slow the growth of endometrial tissue and to improve fertility. During a consultation with experienced London specialist Miss Amanda Tozer, you will discuss the treatment option most appropriate for your individual case, be it hormone drugs, painkillers, or surgical intervention.