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Endometriosis: The underestimated woman suffering
Endometriosis is considered by experts to be one of the most common but also the most difficult to diagnose women's diseases. According to estimates, around one million women in Germany suffer from this chronic disease, in which the endometrium proliferates abnormally. Around 40,000 new cases are added every year.
Common cause of infertility
Endometriosis is one of the most common but also the most difficult to diagnose women's diseases among health experts. With the painful chronic disease, the endometrium overgrows outside the uterine cavity. Endometriosis often remains undetected for years. It is estimated that around one million women suffer from it in this country. Every year there are 40,000 new cases in Germany. The disease is one of the most common causes of infertility. The University Hospital of Münster (UKM) reports in a current communication about the case of a woman affected.
It takes an average of eight to twelve years to diagnose
Christel Fröse is looking forward to getting older. Since she was twelve, her life has been shaped by her illness. She suffers from endometriosis, i.e. benign growths of the endometrium outside the uterus.
The 47-year-old regularly passed out as a teenager because of her inexplicably severe abdominal discomfort. "I left a lot of tears until I finally got the diagnosis and knew where my pain came from," said Fröse.
According to the UKM, it takes an average of eight to twelve years for doctors to correctly interpret the often diffuse symptoms of their patients. Because the growth of the uterine tissue leads to adhesions and adhesions on many organs and even nerves.
The abdominal and pelvic areas are mainly affected - but the endometrium can basically grow anywhere in the body.
Severe menstrual pain
The typical symptoms of the disease include severe menstrual pain, chronic pelvic pain and pain during sexual intercourse.
If endometriosis occurs in the bladder or intestine, blood in the urine, blood in the stool or discomfort during urination are also less likely.
In many cases, painful cysts also form. Some women also experience non-specific complaints such as back pain, headache, dizziness and stomach problems.
Typical course of the underestimated disease
For Christel Fröse, the herd of endometriosis caused unbearable abdominal pain - for which she was laughed at for a long time. She was even put in the "psychosomatic corner," she says.
"This is a very typical course of this underestimated disease," explains Dr. Sebastian Schäfer as the treating gynecologist at the Clinic for Obstetrics and Gynecology under the direction of Prof. Ludwig Kiesel.
“For years, women drag their pains with them as supposedly women suffering. If left untreated, however, they can chronify. In such cases, the connection of the nerves in the brain even changes. The pain burns into the memory and that, although the cause - endometriosis - has often been removed surgically, ”Kiesel warns.
Positive experiences with alternative healing methods
"Endometriosis metastasizes like cancer," says Prof. Ludwig Kiesel. Although it is benign and can often be treated hormonally, in many cases the only option is surgery, especially if endometriosis prevents the desire to have children.
According to the UKM, half of all women affected have difficulty getting children.
In addition to conventional medical treatment methods, alternative healing methods are also conceivable, especially after an operation.
The main focus is on "reducing symptoms, reducing pain and restoring or strengthening the physical and psychological well-being of women", the Endometriosis Association Germany writes on its website.
According to the association, there are already positive experiences with acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), homeopathy and herbal medicine (phytotherapy).
The disease can also be positively influenced by a sensible change in diet, the reduction of stress and moderate exercise.
Use chronic pain positively
Despite successful operations, Christel Fröse's pain has become chronic in the many years in which the disease was untreated.
She has difficulty practicing her current job and is considering working as a relaxation trainer in the future, especially with endometriosis patients.
She is currently doing an internship in Prof. Kiesel's clinic to learn as much as possible about dealing with the disease.
"Fortunately, Ms. Fröse has the ability to use the chronic pain positively for herself," says Schäfer. Because of her cheerful attitude, he asked his patient to tell her doctors about her illnesses soon. (ad)