Endometriosis and How It Relates to Incontinence

Endometriosis and How It Relates to Incontinence

Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with endometriosis? Endometriosis is a disease where uterine tissue, known as endometrium, grows outside of the uterus in areas of the body. Typically, these areas include the ovaries, behind the uterus, on the fallopian tubes, or on the bowel/bladder, but can travel as far as the diaphragm and brain. Endometriosis typically affects women between the ages of 25-40, but younger women can also be diagnosed after they begin menstruating. 

Uterus tissue is shed during every women’s menstrual cycle, which means endometrium does travel through the body during this process. Although the cause of endometriosis is typically unknown, some experts believe it could be caused by sections of endometrium shed from the period that are brought out into the pelvic cavity, which is an open area of the body housing the organs. Pieces of this traveled tissue could attach, and cause cysts or scar tissue over time. As mentioned, the cause of endometriosis is greatly a mystery, so no one can say for sure why endometriosis happens. Symptoms of the diagnosis include painful cramps, painful sex, pain when using the bathroom, and infertility. While chronic pain is symptomatic, infertility is one of toughest symptoms to digest which can be daunting if you’re around the age where you’d like to start having kids. 

Pelvic pain is the most common symptom, with 75% of diagnosed women reporting pain during their menstrual cycle. Although cramping is common during a period, women diagnosed with endometriosis say the pain is far worse than usual, with pain also increasing over time. Some women have extremely irregular cycles and menstruate infrequently which can make diagnosis ever more difficult. Endometriosis is usually diagnosed through a surgery called Laparoscopy, which involves making an incision and looking at the abdomen through a camera. This surgery alone can have complications, resulting in potential bleeding, infection, and damage to blood vessels, the stomach, bowel, bladder, ureter, and causes abdominal adhesions

This leads to how endometriosis and incontinence tie together. Incontinence is not necessarily a symptom of endometriosis, but depending on your body and other potential health problems, incontinence can be developed. ActivKare’s CEO Karen Brunet suffered undiagnosed for more than 15 years from endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Between the ages of 30-34 years old, she went through four ablation surgeries, and four years of fertility treatments before then giving birth to her daughters in 2010 and 2011. These celebrations were quickly followed by an emergency appendectomy on Mother’s day 2012, the removal of her uterus six months later and her ovaries in May 2013. Her bladder leaks began after the birth of her second daughter and got progressively worse as the years went on. The surgeries have now caused chronic pelvic pain from adhesions and ongoing endometriosis growth

Surgeries and treatments related to endometriosis and pelvic health can cause damage to the bladder, bowel, blood vessels, and more, so it’s important to understand how a diagnosis and its treatments will affect your body. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with endometriosis, you’re not alone! It’s estimated that around 1 in 10 women suffer, including our CEO. Pelvic floor physiotherapy, a strict diet and yoga are her remedies to deal with her chronic pain.

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