Endometriosis is an unknown and poorly understood illness by most people, including a good number of doctors, who FACE many obstacles in helping their patients. It is an illness that primarily affects women in their reproductive years (it is only present in men that have received hormone treatments with high doses of progesterone, which is very uncommon).
Its name is derived from the word endometrio, which is the tissue that covers the uterus that monthly accumulates and decreases, as part of the menstrual cycle. When we speak of endometriosis, a tissue similar to the endometrio is located outside the uterus and grows in other areas of the body. In these cases, the tissue develops and forms what we know of as nodes, tumors, lesions, implants or growths, which can cause pain and infertility, among other problems.
The areas that most often see the development of these growths are in the abdomen. They are understood to be primarily in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the ligaments that support the uterus, the area around the vagina and rectum, the outside of the uterus and the pelvic cavity. They can also develop in the scars from abdominal surgery, in the intestines or in the rectum, vagina, cervix and vulva.
In general, we are not speaking of malignant nor cancerous growths. They are a normal type of tissue, apart from their abnormal location. In more advanced stages, they interfere with the functioning of organs where they develop, favoring inflammation of the surrounding areas. However, we know that there exists a certain propensity for these patients to develop some type of malignant tissue that can be related to endometriosis.
Approximately 5-10% of the female population can suffer this ailment, which signifies that millions of women have endometriosis worldwide. Of those women with ages between 10 and 70, the majority live with chronic pain, almost half have problems conceiving and many suffer urinary and digestive problems.
The main difficulty is in the diagnosis. More than half of the women with endometriosis learn of it between ages 26 and 35, 15% detect it with 36 and 45 years of age and only 24% diagnosis during adolescence.
Worldwide, millions of women suffer this ailment and there are less than 2000 doctors specialized in treating it. This means that the majority of the cases or not even diagnoses nor attended.
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