You’ve heard all sorts of “facts” about endometriosis — things like:
These statements may leave you questioning because your endometriosis isn’t cured, and you’re still dealing with symptoms after menopause.
What information can you trust about endometriosis? Are some of these assertions actually just myths in disguise?
We’ll expose eight common endometriosis myths and then fill you in on the facts.
Table of Contents
- 8 Common Myths About Endometriosis and the Realities Women Face After a Diagnosis
- Myth #1: Endometriosis Can Be Cured
- Myth #2: There Are Known Causes of Endometriosis
- Myth #3: Endometriosis Can Be Prevented
- Myth #4: Only Reproductive Organs Are Affected by Endometriosis
- Myth #5: Symptoms Always Include Heavy Periods and Pain
- Myth #6: Endometriosis Symptoms Are Psychological
- Myth #7: An Endometriosis Diagnosis Means You Cannot Get Pregnant
- Myth #8: Endometriosis Only Affects Women of “Child-Bearing Age”
- Sex Is Always Painful With Endometriosis: Myth or Fact?
- Chiavaye: Helping To Alleviate the Dryness Associated With Endometriosis and Sex-Related Pain
8 Common Myths About Endometriosis and the Realities Women Face After a Diagnosis
Endometriosis facts and myths are sometimes difficult to separate. Every woman’s struggle with endometriosis may be different, but trusting endometriosis myths can leave you discouraged and disillusioned. Untangling myth from fact may be the first step to finding real help and alleviating symptoms.
Myth #1: Endometriosis Can Be Cured
This myth can be hard to digest — especially for endo sufferers who long for it to be true. Knowing there isn’t a cure can make the diagnosis difficult to accept.
Maybe you’ve heard that endometriosis can be cured by:
- Birth control
- Other hormonal drugs
- Hysterectomy; or
Though some women may experience decreased pain and endo symptoms during pregnancy, others may not.
Birth control and hormonal drugs may offer symptom relief for some women, but I’ve never had lasting success myself. In fact, the side effects of these treatments far outweighed any benefit I received.
Even after a hysterectomy, the disease is not eradicated and symptoms can return.
The Reality: There Is No Cure for Endometriosis
In the end, there isn’t a cure for endometriosis, but there are some steps women can take to find relief and manage the symptoms.
Some women may find relief with birth control or other hormonal treatments. Those treatments can suppress symptoms but may not be equally effective for everyone.
According to a study of 137 women:
The proportion of women experiencing pain of any severity decreased by 28% after hysterectomy (P < 0.001). The proportion of women with severe pain symptoms decreased by 76% after hysterectomy (P < 0.001). The majority of women (84%) were satisfied with the surgical result.
Diet and excision surgery may be effective ways to get lasting relief — relief, not a cure.
Again, the results may not be the same for everyone, but with excision surgery, lesions are removed from the organs affected by endometriosis.
And eating an anti-inflammatory endo diet that is …
- Soy-free; and
… may also help alleviate symptoms.
In addition to an endo diet, consider foods to avoid that may trigger endometriosis symptoms.
Myth #2: There Are Known Causes of Endometriosis
Many women may have heard that …
- Douching; and
- High estrogen levels
… can cause endometriosis.
Endometritis — a condition that many many confuse with endometriosis — is an inflammation of the uterus lining. This condition is caused by bacterial infections, often from surgeries or childbirth.
The Reality: There Is No Definitive Cause of Endometriosis
There is no scientific evidence that any of the things mentioned above are linked to developing the disease.
Though it’s difficult to say with certainty, some studies show a possible genetic link with endometriosis. Women in the same nuclear family — mothers, grandmothers, sisters — are often affected by the condition. This leads doctors and scientists to believe that endometriosis may be inherited.
Myth #3: Endometriosis Can Be Prevented
As mentioned above, there may be genetic links to endometriosis, but those things obviously are not preventable.
If we knew the causes of endometriosis, we’d have a better time preventing it. But that’s just it — without causes, there are no preventions.
The Reality: Prevention Requires a Known Cause
Many diseases have known causes. And with that information about causes, we can take steps to prevent the condition.
For example, liver disease has a variety of causes, including:
- Infections like Hepatitis A, B, and C
- Fat accumulation in the liver
- Chronic alcohol abuse
And knowing those causes can help prevent liver disease by:
- Limiting alcohol use
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Getting Hepatitis vaccinations
The same is not true with endometriosis. Without a definitive cause, there are no known steps to take to prevent the disease.
Though prevention is not possible, there are many things women can do to lessen the pain and symptoms of endo, including:
- Trying hormone therapy
- Getting regular exercise
- Eating a healthy diet
- Taking vitamins and supplements
Myth #4: Only Reproductive Organs Are Affected by Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue, like the lining of the uterus, begins to grow in other areas. Usually, that tissue grows in the abdomen and pelvic region — places like the fallopian tube and ovaries.
Endometrial tissue also often grows on the back of the uterus, vagina, and peritoneum (the lining of the abdomen).
The Reality: Endometriosis Can Spread
Though it’s disturbing to imagine, endometriosis can spread anywhere in the body.
Areas that are often affected by endometriosis include:
Myth #5: Symptoms Always Include Heavy Periods and Pain
Heavy and painful periods are common symptoms of endometriosis. Without these symptoms, women (and their doctors) may not immediately suspect an endo diagnosis.
Every woman experiences symptoms of endometriosis in different ways and to differing extents. Though they are common symptoms, not everyone suffers from heavy and painful periods.
According to this journal entry, 60-80% of women with endometriosis experience painful periods, and 10-20% deal with severe menstrual pain and irregular bleeding.
Though it’s estimated that more than half of all women experience some pain with their period, extreme pain may be a sign of endometriosis. It’s also important to note that not every period is the same — some may be lighter and less painful than others.
The Reality: Endometriosis Can Affect All Women Differently
Every woman is different, so it stands to reason that every woman may experience symptoms differently.
Sometimes women with little to no period pain find out they have endometriosis when they see their doctor about difficulty getting pregnant.
In addition to painful periods, endometriosis sufferers may also experience:
- Bowel pain
- Urinary pain
- Pain during ovulation
- Pain during sex
If endometriosis keeps you from fully enjoying intimacy with your partner, Chiavaye can help.
Chiavaye is a pure and natural moisturizer and lubricant made with six natural, vegan, and hypoallergenic ingredients and zero chemicals. You can trust that your skin — and your most delicate and intimate spaces — will benefit from the comfort our lube provides.
Myth #6: Endometriosis Symptoms Are Psychological
If you are a woman who doesn’t suffer from endometriosis, you may be tempted to think that endo symptoms — like chronic pain and infertility — are all “in their head.”
When you’re dealing with a disease that you can’t see with your own eyes, it may be easy to think that the symptoms aren’t real. But endometriosis is a real disease that affects women in a variety of ways with symptoms that indeed are real.
If you’re not convinced, just ask one of the 11% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 who are diagnosed with endometriosis.
The Reality: Endometriosis Can Trigger Mental Health Issues
Women who suffer from the chronic symptoms of endometriosis can experience mental health issues.
Though those symptoms are “all in their head,” dealing with the pain and discomfort day in and day out can lead to higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Myth #7: An Endometriosis Diagnosis Means You Cannot Get Pregnant
Though it may be difficult to get pregnant if you have endometriosis, it is a myth that women with an endometriosis diagnosis are infertile.
According to this journal article, 30-50% of women with endometriosis are infertile. Even so, many women with endometriosis are able to conceive, carry their babies to term, and have healthy and successful deliveries.
The Reality: Endo Does Not Make You Infertile
In a book co-authored by Andrew Horne and Carol Pearson, the authors report that it is believed that 60-70% of women with endometriosis are fertile.
Even though endometriosis is a leading cause of infertility in the United States, many women with endometriosis are able to conceive without any intervention. Others are able to conceive with help from reproductive specialists.
And for women who are unable to conceive, adoption is a loving option to build your family.
Myth #8: Endometriosis Only Affects Women of “Child-Bearing Age”
A woman’s child-bearing years are considered to be from the late teens to 45 years old. Therefore, many people believe that young teenagers and those women going through menopause or who have already reached menopause are exempt from endometriosis.
Some doctors may believe a young teenager’s pain and heavy periods are due to her body adjusting through puberty rather than endometriosis.
Additionally, many women may think their endo symptoms will improve or even cease when they reach menopause. Though limited research is available, women with postmenopausal endometriosis are somewhere between 2 to 5% of women.
The Reality: Endometriosis Can Affect Women of Any Age
Though most women are diagnosed with endometriosis between the ages of 25 and 35, women can be diagnosed with the disease at any age.
Studies in the 1990s by Dr. Marc Laufer showed that teenage girls who didn’t experience pain relief from oral contraceptives or anti-inflammatory drugs had a prevalence of endometriosis as high as 70%.
Menopausal women can also experience endometriosis symptoms because their ovaries continue to produce estrogen, albeit in lower amounts. Those small amounts of estrogen may still cause pain when endometriosis growth responds to the hormone.
In the end, some menopausal women may experience some relief from symptoms, but that may not be true for everyone.
Sex Is Always Painful With Endometriosis: Myth or Fact?
Pain during sex is a common symptom of endometriosis. According to a National Library of Medicine article, “Endometriosis and Infertility,” writers report that 40-50% of women with endometriosis experience deep dyspareunia (painful intercourse that extends deep into the vagina or lower pelvis).
Endometriosis can make sex painful when movements associated with intercourse stretch endometrial tissue. Vaginal dryness can also result in painful intercourse.
Chiavaye: Helping To Alleviate the Dryness Associated With Endometriosis and Sex-Related Pain
Many women don’t experience painful sex due to endometriosis, but for those who do, there is Chiavaye.
Struggling with endometriosis and the chronic symptoms myself and searching for holistic healing, I set out to create a product with women in mind.
Chiavaye moisturizer and lubricant is made with natural ingredients and can be used daily or for those intimate times with your partner.
And if you don’t suffer from endometriosis symptoms, Chiavaye is beneficial for all women who want to retain moisture and reduce irritation and discomfort during intercourse. Try it today and find the relief you long for.
The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.