It may sound alien in our clime but Endometriosis, which is the misplacement of the uterus lining, is a disorder responsible for severe abnormal bleeding and infertility which is robbing most women the joy of motherhood,Joyce Remi- Babayeju writes.
It is usually not a good story to tell the world that a young girl, lady or even a woman is suffering from Endometriosis but Millen Magese is one woman who has summed up the courage and boldness to tell the world her story that she is suffering from this disorder.
This middle aged woman is using her story to create public awareness and sensitization on Endometriosis and to speak out for the over 200 million women in Nigeria and the rest of the world who are suffering from this menstrual disorder.
Magese’s concern, she said is for young girls who are starting their menstrual cycle unfortunately with a touch of Endometriosis. This disorder makes the ambition of young girls as further mothers lay in ruins.
The pretty lady who looks almost like a teenager has undergone 13 surgeries to correct the disorder but all to no avail and as the world warms up to celebrate the World Endometriosis Day, she cries out on behalf of the teeming number of ignorant adolescent girls especially those in the 13 year old segment who are having their first menses and unfortunately with this disorder.
Millen Magese a former Miss Tanzania and now a fashion model based in New York, in an interview with Nigerian Pilot during a recent campaign walk on Endometriosis in Abuja said that rather than men dumping their wives, girlfriends suffering from Endometriosis for younger girls because of ignorance of the disease should help to look out for solutions.
‘’If we don’t speak up now, a father may have a daughter or a woman he has left in the past, so this is the time we speak up on Endometriosis, she said. ‘’The society don’t even know or understand the painful experience people with Endometriosis go through.’’
At the campaign walk organised by Nordica Fertility Centre, Abuja, Magese who was the centre of the campaign said, ‘’It might be because I cannot have a child and I am about to remove my uterus, but what about that 13 year old girl somewhere there. I want to save that girl. Though I have endometriosis but another girl should not suffer from it. I speak for them and for myself.’’
Her story, ‘’I was 26 when I notice this disorder but I started noticing it when I saw my first period at the age of 13. My dad used to struggle with me by taking me to the hospital. I used to use morphine and hydrocodone, these are really strong medications. My worry everyday is about my kidney because these medications go to the kidney. I wonder when this is going to stop because there is no cure that’s so that is why I am raising so much awareness because we need someone to listen to us.’’
‘’It is a 24/7 pain with symptoms of cramps with low back, abdomen pains and fatigue. There is pain during and after making love. The pain you feel when you urinate, and do number two sometimes with blood coming out. This is something we don’t really talk about in public but it is time we speak about it, I am not ashamed of telling my story.’’
‘’I want people to understand that it is time we pay attention to it and not let endometriosis stop a girl at the age of 13 from her dream of becoming a mother. I was 13 years old dreaming to have a child without stress as I am stressing now so I want to speak up to save girls, I cannot keep this alone.’’
Millen Mages, a former Miss Tanzania and now a fashion model based in New York is raising awareness for Endometriosis with a campaign called ‘’Many faces of Endo, Enough I speak out’’.
Magese who is the ‘’Voice of Endometriosis Africa’’, is saying that Endometriosis is real even in Nigeria.
I use my story to say number 13 is enough I speak out. Number is the number of surgeries I have done. I have done 13 surgeries but there is no cure. It is enough to find cure and enough for that young girl that is 13 to receive reproductive health education, she said.
The former beauty queen lamented that despite the prevalence of the disorder in our society no one is giving young girls any form of reproductive education about this condition. ‘’ No one is giving them the opportunity to say if you are feeling pains somewhere say it , I want mothers to start listening to their daughters instead of calling them lazy or telling them that feeling pains during menstrual cycles is a sign of a strong woman.’’
Magese advocates reproductive education on Endometriosis for young girls, women in villages, this she says would help solve the problem half way.
According to Dr Abayomi Ajayi, Managing Director NORDICA Fertility Centre, Abuja organisers of ENDO WALK 2016, in a brief interview with Nigerian Pilot, Endometriosis is a condition which is often mis-diagnosed.
Ajayi stressed that the aim of the awareness programme is to let people know that the disease condition is here in Nigeria, empower people to ask their doctors sometimes that do you think I have Endometriosis and ‘’unless we look for it we continue to miss it.’’
In every 10 women one has endometriosis and it is estimated that about 200 million women in the world have it, Ajayi disclosed.
He said that apart from fibroid there so many other conditions which women can be tested for endometriosis is one of them.
‘’ About 30 years ago we thought it was not common in blacks but that’s not true. It is prevalent in whites and blacks and that’s why we raise the awareness because about 30-40% of patients with infertility have endometriosis and unless you look for it you may not see it.’’
According to the expert, medically there is no known cause but some people are born that way.
‘’ It is misplaced endometrium, which means that the inner lining of the uterus is now present somewhere else. The bad thing is that it behaves just like the endometrium in the normal place so a woman bleeds every month but bleeds inside and outside.’’ ‘’So wherever this implant is there is a bleeding from there and so people with endometriosis having very painful menstrual cycles, they have pain when they have intercourse, when they urinating during their menstrual period.’’
Endometriosis causes a lot of pains generally abdominal pain and they can’t have children. It comes with abnormal from the umbilical cord, from the lips and sometimes bleeding from the chest. They bring out spectrum that is blood stained when they are menstruating. It only happens when they are menstruating and this awareness is that so that doctors can be more conscious of it and don’t allow our women to suffer endlessly for no reason, Ajayi explained.
One of the problems for detection of Endometriosis, the doctor said is the need to do a labastrophy to make the diagnosis and many hospitals don’t have this equipment and that is why a lot of the diagnosis is being missed. But it could start from the first menses; as long as one menstruates one can have Endo.
The doctor, who disclosed that the popular former Miss Nigeria Nike Oshinowo, who is the face of Endo in Nigeria, also has being speaking about it because the problem in the country is that people don’t want to talk about it but they have to begin to speak up to help their doctors sometimes.
‘’ It cannot be cured but can be managed and that’s why diagnosis is important. There are drugs that can be used to make it not to spread further and surgery to treat the infertility. Many people have it in Nigeria and that’s why this awareness so that patients can know where to look for treatment’’, he said.
Medics say that Endometriosis is a common disorder that affects women of reproductive age but it occurs when normal endometrial tissue (the lining of the uterus) growing outside the womb lining, this can be found anywhere within the abdominal cavity, including behind the uterus, on the ovaries, in the lungs in the umbilical area, or even in the breasts.
According to experts, severe endometriosis is often causes infertility due to the chronic inflammation which occurs, as a result of the abnormally positioned endometrial tissues.
All endometrial tissue, whether located in the womb or not, respond to the hormones, which regulate the woman’s menstrual cycles. This means that there is usually bleeding from misplaced endometrial tissue during normal menstruation resulting in chronic irritation.
The Causes of Endometriosis is retrograde menstruation. This means backward flow of the menstrual discharge through the fallopian tubes into the pelvis.
Endometriosis may affect the ovaries resulting in blood filled cysts called endometriomas which may bind the uterus, tubes, and ovaries and nearby intestines.
Symptoms of Endometriosis are severe period pains or menstrual cramping is associated with endomtriosis. It can also cause pain during intercourse, a condition known as dyspareunia.
According to experts Endometriosis is not be curable but may be managed by effective treatments for managing the condition and maximizing the chances of conception in sufferers.