Everything you need to know about Endometriosis
What is endometriosis
Endometriosis is a very common - but often misunderstood - medical condition that affects the female reproductive system. It occurs when endometrial tissue, which normally grows inside the uterus, begins to grow in other parts of the body such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
People with endometriosis often experience painful and heavy periods, pain during sex, and infertility. It can be difficult to diagnose due to its varied symptoms and is often mistaken for other conditions.
Endometriosis can affect women of any age, teenagers included and is a long-term condition that can have a significant impact on daily life. While there is currently no cure for the condition, there are treatment options available after diagnosis.
Symptoms of endometriosis
Endometriosis affects roughly 10% of reproductive aged women and girls globally, according to the World Health Organisation. Symptoms can vary from person to person, but there are common indicators that you may have the condition.
Pain in your lower tummy or back that gets worse when you’re on your period
Period pain that affects daily life
Pain during or after sex
Difficulty getting pregnant
Stomach problems such as diarrhoea, constipation, bloating or nausea, especially when you’re on your period
But, because those who suffer have such differing symptoms, it can be extremely difficult to diagnose. Symptoms can be very similar to that of IBS or pelvic inflammatory disease and with the lack of education surrounding the condition, not many women feel confident enough to voice their concern, or feel like they’re not being listened to.
If you ever feel that you have these symptoms and suspect it to be endometriosis, talk to your doctor. And if you feel like you’re not being listened to, or dismissed too early, don’t be afraid to fight for your case - it’s your body and you know it best.
Celebrities who've spoken openly about having endometriosis
Too often, we put celebrities and influencers on a pedestal and forget they’re also human beings too. Endometriosis affects so many women worldwide including the A-Listers we see on our screens every day.
A number of celebrities have been using their platforms and voice to speak up on endometriosis to raise awareness on the condition to help other women and girls feel seen and understood.
1. Bindi Irwin
Bindi Irwin, daughter of renowned wildlife activist Steve Irwin, has just this month revealed her decade-long battle with endometriosis. She’s recently undergone surgery and took to Instagram to share her own experience and journey with the condition. She highlighted the frustration many women feel and revealed she was told by a doctor it was “simply something you deal with as a woman”. She is now using her platform to share her story and to encourage other women to fight for their bodies and treatment.
2. Emma Bunton
Former Spice Girl Emma Bunton (Baby Spice) was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 25 and told by doctors she had a 50:50 chance of becoming a mum. In an interview with Stella Magazine, she explained how she found the news devastating and that it ‘nearly broke’ her. But since then, she’s become a mother to two boys.
3. Sarah Hyland
Modern Family star Sarah Hyland has never shied away from speaking about her health battles. In 2018, she underwent laparoscopic surgery to remove the lesions that cause the pain with endometriosis but has still suffered with flare ups since. She’s opened up about her journey with the condition on her Instagram and in magazine interviews to raise awareness.
4. Molly-Mae Hague
In June 2021 , ex-Love Island contestant Molly-Mae revealed to her followers that she had been diagnosed with endometriosis. She opened up on her YouTube channel about the symptoms she experienced with it and how she felt after undergoing surgery for the condition. Molly-Mae has a huge following on social media and beyond, so it’s great to see her using this to educate and inform her followers about endometriosis.