Endometriosis Awareness is observed during the month of March. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the chronic condition, which affects over 100,000 women in Jamaica. Yellow is the international awareness colour for endometriosis.
Endometriosis causes tissue that looks and acts like endometrial tissue – normally found inside the womb – to grow in areas outside of the womb. These areas include:
- The ovaries and fallopian tubes
- The lining of the inside of the abdomen
- The bowel or bladder
Symptoms of Endometriosis
The symptoms of endometriosis vary from person to person. They can also vary in severity, and some women have no symptoms at all. It is, therefore, important that women and girls who have begun menstruation get regular gynaecological check-ups to help identify and treat abnormalities as early as possible. Common symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Painful periods
- Heavy periods
- Pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis or lower back
- Bleeding between periods
- Difficulty getting pregnant
- Persistent exhaustion and tiredness
- Discomfort when passing urine or faeces
- Bleeding from the rectum
While there is no precise cause of endometriosis, there are risk factors that can make an individual more likely to develop the condition. These factors include:
- Family history of endometriosis
- Early age of menarche (first menstrual cycle)
- Short menstrual cycles (fewer than 27 days)
- Long duration of menstrual flow (more than seven days)
- Heavy bleeding during menses
- Delayed childbearing
- Defects in the uterus or fallopian tubes
In many cases, diagnosis of endometriosis is based solely on the symptoms. However, there are various other means of detecting the disease. The main methods of diagnosis are:
Pelvic examination – During this examination, a doctor manually checks areas in the patient’s pelvis for abnormalities, such as growths and scarring of the reproductive organs.
Ultrasound – This test uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the inside of the body.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – During this examination, a magnetic field and radio waves create detailed images of the inside of the body.
Laparoscopy – This test involves the use of a slender camera (laparoscope), which is inserted into a small incision in the abdomen to capture photographic images of the inside of the body.
Treatment of endometriosis usually involves medication or surgery. Consultation with a medical professional is essential to determine the best options for each individual.
For further information, contact:
Ministry of Health and Wellness
10-16 Grenada Crescent