Endometriosis has a shockingly low level of public awareness. According to research, 54% of the UK population does not know what this condition is. To bring more attention to this topic, it has been decided that March will be from now on Endometriosis Awareness Month.

Endometriosis is a painful condition that’s estimated to afflict between 5-10% of women past puberty. If you suffer from endometriosis, then chances are you have a lot of questions. In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the answers you’re likely looking for – including what is endometriosis, what are the symptoms, and why is misdiagnosis so common.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition in which cells that are similar to those that line the womb are found in other parts of the body.

These cells react to the menstrual cycle in the same way as those in the womb. First they build up and then they shed. But unlike cells in the womb, these cells have no way of leaving the body.

Because of this, endometriosis leads to severe inflammation and a variety of uncomfortable and even painful symptoms.

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

Endometriosis can affect people in a variety of different ways. Some people may be seriously affected by it, whereas others may not suffer from any noticeable symptoms.

Here are some common symptoms of endometriosis:

  • Pain in your lower tummy or lower back
  • Period pain that prevents you from completing everyday tasks
  • Pain either during or after having sex
  • Pain while using the toilet when you’re on your period
  • Feeling sick or experiencing either constipation or diarrhoea when you’re on your period
  • Finding blood in your pee or poo when you’re on your period
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Experiencing unusually heavy periods

What are the causes of endometriosis?

There isn’t currently any single, known cause of endometriosis. However, there are several theories as to what might cause this condition, including:

Genetics: People of certain ethnic groups and even whole families tend to be affected by endometriosis.

Immune system: Problems with the body’s natural defence against illness and infection could also be a contributing factor.

Endometrium cells: Research has shown that these benign cells are linked to instances of endometriosis.

Is there a cure for endometriosis?

Unfortunately, there is no final cure for endometriosis.

However, there are treatments available that can help you cope with the symptoms. These include:

  • Taking painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol
  • Using hormone medicines or contraceptives
  • Having surgery to remove endometriosis tissue or any organs affected by endometriosis, such as the colon, appendix, or womb.

Why is the misdiagnosis of endometriosis so common?

Misdiagnosis of endometriosis is unfortunately still common, and one of the main reasons why endometriosis is still easily misdiagnosed nowadays is that most of the symptoms can be attributed to many other diseases.

If you think that you’ve been misdiagnosed in the past, it could be worthwhile to consult with medical negligence claim solicitors as you might be due compensation for the suffering that was someone else’s fault.

Another reason for misdiagnosis is that there has not been enough research on the subject in the past. For example, a diagnosis of endometriosis is usually only given after endometrial tissue is seen during a laparoscopy – an invasive type of keyhole surgery. A non-invasive alternative to this surgery has yet to be thought of, and sufferers hoping to receive these procedures typically wait a long time – and unfortunately, NHS waiting lists are unlikely to fall anytime soon.

As is the case with so many devasting diseases, there’s limited funding available for research into endometriosis. Without this, progress in finding new diagnosis methods or potential remedies is unlikely to be made.