In recognition of
National Women’s Health Week (May 12-18, 2002), we chose to
focus on three health issues that affect millions of women every
day. While not fatal,
each of these conditions can vary in the both the number and
severity of symptoms, to the point that, left untreated can, in
some cases, become debilitating and can seriously affect a
woman’s ability to live a normal life.
In our mothers’ time, they were something you simply had
to learn to deal with. But with the aid of research and technology, steps can be
taken and treatments prescribed to improve the quality of life for
many suffering women.
We hope you find this
information helpful and if you suspect that one of these
conditions applies to you or someone you love, please see your
doctor for a professional diagnosis.
Endometriosis is a
disease affecting an estimated 77 million women and teens
worldwide (1). It is a
leading cause of infertility, chronic pelvic pain and
hysterectomy. With Endometriosis, tissue like the
endometrium (the tissue inside the uterus which builds up and is
shed each month during menses) is found outside the uterus, in
other areas of the body. These implants respond to hormonal
commands each month and break down and bleed. However,
unlike the endometrium, these tissue deposits have no way of
leaving the body. The result is internal bleeding,
degeneration of blood and tissue shed from the growths,
inflammation of the surrounding areas, expression of irritating
enzymes and formation of scar tissue. In addition, depending
on the location of the growths, interference with the bowel,
bladder, intestines and other areas of the pelvic cavity can
occur. Endometriosis has even been found lodged in the skin
and at other extrapelvic locations like the arm, leg and even
The presence of disease
can only be confirmed through surgery like the laparoscopy, but it
can be suspected based on symptoms, physical findings and
is quite possible to have some, all, or none of these symptoms
or intermittent pelvic pain
menstruation is not normal!)
/ ectopic (tubal) pregnancy
dyspareunia (pain during
intercourse) / pain after intercourse
nausea / vomiting
How is it
Endo can be treated in
many different ways, both surgically and medically. Most commonly,
surgery will be performed during which the disease will be
excised, cauterized, or otherwise removed, and adhesions will also
be freed. When adhesions are present, a woman's organs are
literally bound together.
It is extremely
important that a woman with Endo obtain treatment from a highly
trained Endo treatment provider. There are many
inexperienced physicians out there, sadly enough, who will a.)
miss the disease altogether and not perform biopsies on tissue
samples to confirm the diagnosis; b.) will confirm the presence of
disease but make no attempt to remove it during surgery; or c.)
will make the diagnosis, but will remove it in an incomplete or
ineffective manner (such as ablation, which has been shown to be
relatively ineffective on deep lesions). Doing so will
unfortunately allow the disease to flare again in a relatively
short time. This vicious cycle only requires more surgery
thereafter to once again remove adhesions and treat the disease.
Starting disease management with an Endo expert in the beginning
of treatment can prevent repeat surgeries and ineffective
There are several drugs utilized either alone or in combination
with surgery. These include contraceptives, GnRH agonists, and/or
synthetic hormones. GnRH agonists (drugs that suppress the
manufacture of LH and FSH, hormones required in ovulation) are
commonly used on women in all stages of the disease and may
sometimes have serious side affects. Be sure to inform
yourself about all aspects of any drug before undergoing therapy
For more information concerning Endometriosis
and additional treatment options please visit the following
A definition of endometriosis includes the symptoms, causes,
diagnosis and cure.
Research Center website
Are you experiencing any of the following?
Hot flashes and night sweats
Insomnia and fatigue
Fuzzy thinking or inability to concentrate
Dry, itchy skin
Irritable bowel syndrome
These are some of the symptoms that may
be present during perimenopause.
(**If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and/or
think you may be perimenopausal, please see your doctor for a
Perimenopause can begin up to a decade
before menopause actually begins.
Perimenopause acts like puberty in reverse, with estrogen
levels declining rather than increasing as in puberty. During this time, as in menopause, women’s bodies
experience some dramatic changes.
Fortunately, unlike even just a few years ago, there is an
incredible amount of information available to women that can help
them through this important time of transition.
Check out the following websites for
up-to-date information on perimenopuase and menopause.
North American Menopause Society
This scientific, non-profit website is focused on promoting
women’s health during midlife and beyond.
Topics covered include perimenopause, early menopause,
signs and symptoms, and methods of treatment/therapy.
If you’re looking to chat with others who are
experiencing menopause, this site offers a bulletin board and a
live chat room to encourage discussion among women.
Check out “comic relief” for a fun look at some health
related experiences common to most women. Alternative remedies and naturopathic approaches to treatment
are also available on this site, as well as articles about other
health topics related to women.
Fibroids are benign growths found in the
uterus and sometimes the cervix that can cause pain and bleeding
and prevent some women from conceiving.
These growths are made of muscle tissue and can range in
size from that of a pea to a basketball.
Although it is unknown why these growths arise in the first
place, it is known that estrogen plays a role in the growth of
these benign tumors. Approximately
one in four women will develop fibroids during her lifetime.
More information on fibroids can be found at
the following websites.
This excellent article, written by a gynecologist, is very
readable and contains a minimum of medical jargon.
The article includes a discussion regarding general
information on fibroids – development, characteristics, ways to
diagnose, and current treatment options.
Health World Online
At this website you will find an overview of signs and
symptoms, treatment options, questions to ask, and some
suggestions/recommendations for self-care and ways to prevent
Women’s Health Interactive
Here you will find an interesting list of frequently
questions, an overview of causes and symptoms, tests and
treatments, and resources for more information.
**If you think you may have fibroids, please
see your doctor for a professional diagnosis.**