Reel Doctor Talk

When the force is not enough

By Smitha R. Chadaga MD

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley (@_DaisyRidley_), as Rey, carries much of the movie with a strength and dignity that is inspiring.  And she is shows that same poise off screen.  On June ninth she wrote a meaningful post on Instagram about her diagnoses of endometriosis and polycystic ovaries.  And since the force is not powerful enough to make these go away here’s the next best thing – knowledge.

 

Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that normally lines the uterus (called the endometrium) is found OUTSIDE of the uterus.  And while the cause of this disorder is not known, endometriosis tends to be in the pelvis but can go anywhere in the body. This tissue, no matter where it is, responds to the body’s hormones and menstrual cycles just like the tissue in the uterus.  So on a regular basis they undergo buildup, breakdown and bleeding which can cause a great deal of abdominal and pelvic pain among other symptoms. The treatment for endometriosis includes pain medications, hormone treatment and/or surgery.

 

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones.  Because of this imbalance women can have problems with the timing of their menstrual cycle as well as problems getting pregnant.  It can also lead to acne and weight gain.  In addition to the issues with reproductive hormone levels, PCOS also causes insulin resistance.  This can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.  As with endometriosis the exact cause of the hormone imbalance and insulin resistance is not known. And therefore treatment is aimed at symptom control and improving insulin resistance with lifestyle changes, medications and/or surgery.

 

Just remember - even if endometriosis or PCOS is going on inside you can be a Jedi just the same: