Cape Fertility Supports Endometriosis Awareness Month
At Cape Fertility, we passionately support Endometriosis Awareness Month each March, proudly working along with other organisations such as Endo South Africa and SASREG to raise awareness of endometriosis and its symptoms, and to provide world-class and highly specialised care for women suffering from this often diagnosed late, misdiagnosed and /or incorrectly treated.
In this article, we look at some facts about endometriosis that girls and women everywhere need to know about; find out how to choose the right clinic for world class endometriosis treatment; and how our team at Cape Fertility uses a patient-centred approach to treating endometriosis with great success.
Endometriosis is a non-cancerous condition in which the lining of the uterus (called endometrium) grows outside of the uterus. It can be minimal or mild, with only superficial implants and mild adhesions, or moderate to severe with chocolate cysts and more serious adhesions.
The symptoms can also range from no symptoms at all to severe symptoms. The most common symptoms of endometriosis are #pelvicpain or pain in the pelvic area, including painful periods and painful intercourse. In the majority of the cases, chronic pelvic pain is due to endometriosis. The pain can also be experienced at other times, such as during sexual intercourse, or when passing urine or stool, especially when during a period. The pain can be so severe that it impacts the quality of a woman’s life.
Another very common symptom of endometriosis is infertility. Other associated symptoms of endometriosis include fatigue, depression, eating problems and gastrointestinal (GI) problems.
Endo South Africa is one of the local organisations that have done a great deal to raise #endometriosisawareness about the symptoms and other facts about this disease. Visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/endowarrior to find out more.
Here are some of Endo South Africa’s messages for 2022, which our team at Cape Fertility gladly share widely, to help ensure as many women as possible receive the right treatment.
What every woman should know about endometriosis
* Endometriosis affects one in 10 women!
* It is a painful disease affecting women in their reproductive years
* Symptoms can begin prior to a girl’s first period, and for most women symptoms persist throughout their menstrual life but can continue after menopause
* Endometrium tissue or lesions can cause extreme pain and can also attach to other organs causing further pain and complications
* Endometriosis can severely impact on the quality of life for women
* There is no cure for endometriosis – it persists for the long-term and can recur even after treatment
* The most commonly reported symptoms of endometriosis are painful periods, abnormally heavy bleeding with periods, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficult or painful sexual intercourse, and difficulty falling pregnant
* If you, or a woman you know, experience more than one of these symptoms, it is important to speak up!
Endo South Africa says that very few people know about #endometriosis, because in most cases, the symptoms of endometriosis are not openly discussed. Young girls and even women are often embarrassed to talk about the symptoms or find it hard to describe the symptoms, especially symptoms experienced during periods. Some of the other reasons why women may suffer in silence is a lack of understanding from others; being afraid of what might be wrong with them; or struggling to explain their inability to cope with school, work and home responsibilities. This is why so many women with endometriosis experience pain for many years, believing that it is normal!
However, it is vital to #speakupaboutendo – because if women keep quiet about their symptoms, endometriosis may not be diagnosed or treated.
How to choose the right clinic for treating endometriosis
Although endometriosis cannot be cured, it can be treated very effectively.
What is crucial, however, is that you choose the right clinic to have the correct treatment for you.
Start by looking for a clinic that is registered with SASREG, the Southern African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy which serves to protect the interests of patients undergoing treatment in the field of gynaecological endoscopy and reproductive medicine. Gynaecological endoscopy is a surgical discipline which uses optical instruments specially designed to help diagnose the most frequent female disorders including endometriosis and infertility.
Clinics registered with SASREG follow recommended treatment protocols for South African patients based on international guidelines from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Endocrinology (ESHRE).
It is also important to ensure that the clinic you choose will provide the right treatment for your unique condition.
Patient-Centred Approach To Endometriosis Treatment
At Cape Fertility, we use a patient-centred approach to treat endometriosis – and with great success!
This approach is different to three common approaches that do not effectively address the symptoms of endometriosis.
The first common and problematic approach is a focus on medical treatment, excluding the surgical option and assisted reproductive therapies (ART) such as IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation).
Another problematic approach is only considering surgery as treatment. In many instances, surgery is also incomplete, while in other cases, surgery can be too aggressive.
A further problematic approach is simply focussing on one symptom of endometriosis, such as infertility, and treating endometriosis with ART but excluding of surgery.
All these approaches are problematic because the treatment of endometriosis should be based on the symptoms of the patient, which are unique in each woman’s case.
For example, the treatment of endometriosis is different when addressing pain than it is for addressing infertility. So, surgery is not always the first approach for pelvic pain, but rather medical treatment. However, when a woman is trying to conceive, surgery is often necessary. What treatment is required is also dictated by the patient’s quality of life. Chronic pain and severe pain for an extended time is not normal and has a very negative effect on a person’s quality of life.
Treatment should therefore entail a combination of medical treatment, surgical treatment and ART based on the patient’s unique situation.
It is also important to consider the side effects, the efficacy, the availability and the costs of each treatment option. In addition, the patient’s personal preferences must also be taken into account, when deciding on the treatment of endometriosis. As a result, each patient’s treatment plan for endometriosis will differ.
Without a patient-centred approach, mistakes in the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis are common. Very often there is already a delayed diagnosis. Often, too, endometriosis is not properly diagnosed, and symptoms like anxiety and depression remains untreated.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have Endometriosis?
If you suspect that you have endometriosis, especially if you are trying to conceive, we would like to invite you to come and meet one of our specialists by clicking here…
The only way to know for certain which endometriosis treatment is right for you is to undergo the necessary investigations at an accredited and recognised clinic, where a specialist with state-of-the-art equipment and years of experience will be able to make a professional determination and provide you with the best advice for the right treatment.
At Cape Fertility, we value each individual patient and we look forward to providing you with individualised and personalised care, affordable quality treatment, and higher success rates at our purpose-built premises, situated in the Claremont Medical Village in the beautiful city of Cape Town.