Endometriosis: Menstruation Pain, Infertility Amidst Lack of Awareness

By Virginia Mwangi / March 27, 2019 | 9:32 am




Turning 12 or 13 years of age means something more for the young girls than another addition to their age and the numerous physical changes, it means one is approaching a start for their menstruation if it hasn’t begun already.

Menstruation which is commonly referred to as monthly periods has a list of names to enable the girls to talk about it privately even in the presence of the opposite sex and is not as fun as we are all made to believe in our Primary school curriculum.

Other than the monthly budget every girl has to factor in to ensure hygiene during their menstruation, the quality of the sanitary towels used has to also be factored in with cases of poor quality causing uproar like was in the recent case where Kenyan Women Shared Awful Experiences on Using Always Sanitary Pads under the hashtag  #MyAlwaysExperience. In the #MyAlwaysExperience Always was accused of dumping substandard sanitary towels in Kenya which were irritant and burning to the skin.

Hormonal imbalances that make one irritable, nausea and the worst which occurs to a large percentage of is the knot-like pain, especially during the first two days.

Menstruation pain should not always be viewed as normal and the month of March being the month to create awareness on Endometriosis all over the World, every girl, lady or woman need to be well informed.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that, in normal circumstances, is supposed to line the uterus grows outside the uterus in places like the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or the intestines.

Endometriosis affects an estimated 176 million women worldwide and can create a monthly hell given its painful symptoms. Endometriosis is considered the biggest cause of infertility in women and carries a frustrating long diagnosis duration which could take up to 7 and a half years.

READ Health Issues Women Shouldn’t Ignore if they Want to Conceive

Like any other illness, Endometriosis is treated faster and easier when diagnosed early. The cause of endometriosis is unknown.

Endometriosis Symptoms

  • Menstrual irregularities

Menstrual irregularities cannot always be overlooked and are important to mention to your Gynecologist.

  • Painful Menstruation

Sharp, stabbing pain during menstruation is synonymous with endometriosis though this is not always the case. If your menstruation pain is unbearable, it is important to seek a Gynecologist to rule out endometriosis. The menstruation pain occurs before and reduces after menstruation and does not go away with medication.

  • Pain During Sexual Intercourse

Experiencing pain during sexual intercourse should never be viewed as normal as it is a symptom to a number of underlying issues which include cervical cancer and endometriosis. A cramping pain during sexual intercourse should be a good reason to visit your Gynecologist.

  • Pain During Sexual Intercourse

Experiencing pain while urinating or having painful bowel movements could also be a sign that there is an underlying problem. The pain is also a cause of concern if felt during pelvic examinations.

Other symptoms synonymous with menstruation include constipation or diarrhea, lower abdominal pain, lower back pain, chronic fatigue, bloody urine, and heavy flow during menstruation.

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Examination and Treatment

To test for endometriosis, the Doctor examines your Pelvis by manually palpating or feeling the areas around your pelvis to check for any abnormalities for example cysts on your reproductive organs or scars behind your uterus. Endometriosis is not easily detected unless it causes a cyst to develop.

Treatment includes hormones and excision surgery which though available are quite expensive. Fertility experts say that there is a hormonal treatment availed in injections or pills and is used to reduce the inflammation and cause the endometriosis to shrink in some cases. To numb endometriosis pain, patients seek injections as oral drugs are mostly not effective. Gynecologists mostly describe it as ’the uterus growing inside out’.

A majority of insurance companies have a cap while covering such conditions as they categorize it as Chronic or a Recurring illness where the patience is required to raise a certain amount of money.

Most Kenyans came to know of endometriosis in the country after media personality Njambi Koikai went public but what most don’t know is that there are more Kenyan ladies suffering in silence while most are unaware of what is ailing them and the long term consequences. Media personalities Janet Mbugua and Ciru Muriuki are among survivors out to create awareness.

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