- February 14, 2017
- Posted by: Teen Africa Academy
- Category: Health
Chioma is 15 years old and the class captain. She’s not able to come to school and misses her classes usually the last week of every month. She’s also not able to perform her duties in school as the class captain, and not able to mingle with her friends or participate in any activity in her neighborhood for whole 5days. Chioma experiences severe menstrual pain in her lower abdomen, she feels nauseous and sometimes throws up and stools if she doesn’t get to take her pain reliever medication on time. She feels very tired during this period and lack energy. All she does all through these days of her menstruation is to lie on her bed and suffer agonizing pain with a wail.
Chioma could be suffering from a medical condition called Endometriosis pronounced en-doe-me-tree-o-sis. So many teen girls like Chioma suffer this but they do not know it’s an abnormal condition.
What then is Endometriosis?
It is a medical condition in which the tissue that forms the lining of the uterus called the endometrium is found elsewhere in the body usually at the pelvic region.
If endometrium attaches itself and grow on the organs found in the pelvic region of a woman’s body, it causes a chronic inflammatory reaction. The endometrium tissue growing outside of the uterus is known as “endometrial implant”. Some the organs found in the pelvic region where the endometrium grows include the ovaries, fallopian tubes etc. the most common locations of endometrial implants in teens are in the culdesac area behind the uterus and near the bladder.
Endometriosis affects 176million women in the world. According to the endometriosis society of Nigeria over 1million women in Nigeria are affected by endometriosis. 20% to 50% of women being treated for infertility have endometriosis.
Some teens have severe endometriosis and feel mild pain while others may have mild endometriosis and feel severe pain. Some teens do not have any symptoms. It is important to get yearly gynecological exams. This will allow your gynecologist to monitor any changes.
Severe endometriosis can make it hard for a teen girl to have beautiful kids in the future, because if endometriosis is not found and treated, it can grow and damage the fallopian tubes and ovaries. But if it is diagnosed early enough this can be avoided, by receiving proper treatments.
The only way to get 100% diagnosed with endometriosis is to undergo a surgical procedure called Laparoscopy pronounced la-puh-RAS-kuh-pee. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut near the belly button and inserts a thin lighted tube (Laparoscope) that acts as a tiny video camera to examine the pelvic organs and identify the endometrial implants. Some doctors may be ordered to carry other tests like blood tests, scanning and vaginal cultures to check for infection ensuring it is not something else. This is because there are other diseases that have a common symptom with endometriosis like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), Ovarian cysts, Irritable bowel syndrome etc.
When a person is diagnosed with endometriosis, the doctor places the person on treatment that can help reduce symptoms and manage any potential complications; this is because endometriosis does not have a cure for now.
You might want to know why people suffer endometriosis. Endometriosis is not sexually transmitted, it is not an infection, it is not contagious and it is not cancer. The most likely explanation for the cause of endometriosis is “retrograde menstruation”. To understand what retrograde menstruation is, it helps to have a basic understanding of how the monthly menstrual cycle works.
During a girl’s menstrual cycle, the lining of the uterus builds up with blood vessels and tissues. This happens because the uterus is getting ready to receive the egg that will be released from one of the ovaries. If the egg isn’t fertilized by sperm, the uterus sheds the tissue and blood, this is the menstrual period. This entire process is controlled by the female sex hormones and usually takes about 28 to 30days. Because the abnormal growths associated with endometriosis are made up of the same kind of tissue and blood vessels found in the uterine lining, any endometrial implants will act just like the endometrium in the uterus. That means they respond in the same way to hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle.
However in the uterus, if the egg isn’t fertilized, the extra tissue and blood leave a girl’s body through her vagina in the form of menstrual blood. With endometriosis, there is no way for the blood to leave the body. This is what causes the inflammation, pain and formation of scar tissue.
Many adults who are now married and not able to give birth are usually diagnosed with endometriosis, and most times it is severe and very complicated because it was not diagnosed early so they can be placed on treatments.
If you are like Chioma, that stay out of school and not participate in social activities because you are menstruating and feel severe pain, you might want to share the information from this article with your parents or guardians. You and your parent can go ahead by filling the form, so we can provide you further information where you can go for diagnoses and treatment.
- Endometriosis Society of Nigeria
- Mayo Clinic