Are you familiar with Endometriosis?
Studies show endometriosis severely impacts fertility and affects up to 10-15% of reproductive-aged women around the world.
Unfortunately, the diagnosis delay is up to 10 years which only adds to the pain and stress that women experience as a result of this highly sensitive disease.
Explanation Video Link
But what is Endometriosis exactly and how does it affect fertility?
What is Endometriosis Exactly?
Endometriosis is a painful condition in which tissue grows in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvis lining. This tissue is similar to the tissue which lines the womb and it swells and bleeds during the menstrual period. However, endometrial growths cause problems in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvis lining because they bleed into these areas where there is no way out of the body. In other words, the tissue is trapped in the body and causes much pain, while severely affecting fertility and pregnancy in particular.
How Does Endometriosis Affect Fertility?
It’s true, endometriosis is closely tied to fertility and affects more than 50% of infertile women. This disease alters not only the immune system but also the hormonal environment which directly affects the quality of the eggs. What’s more, endometrial tissue inflicts scar tissue and inflammation around the fallopian tubes and ovaries which further damages your ability to conceive.
What are the Most Common Symptoms of Endometriosis?
Women with endometriosis most often experience pain and this pain increases over time. Here are some of the most common symptoms of endometriosis:
- Chronic pain in the back and pelvis.
- Especially painful cramps during menstruation.
- Deep pain after sexual intercourse.
- Painful bowels and pain while urinating.
- Heavy or irregular periods
- Stomach problems such as bloating, diarrhea, or constipation.
Endometriosis is also a long-term condition that can lead to more problems. For example, endometriosis growths continue to expand and cause severe swelling in sensitive body areas. These oversized growths can then trap blood in the ovaries to form cysts and create scar tissue that causes problems in the pelvis, bladder, and intestines. When added to the symptoms mentioned earlier, these pains and complications only make it harder to get pregnant.
How is Endometriosis Diagnosed
- Physical examination
- Imaging tests (ultrasound, MRI)
- Laparoscopy (Laparoscopy is a type of surgical procedure that allows a surgeon to access the inside of the abdomen (tummy) and pelvis without having to make large incisions in the skin.)
What is the Cause of Endometriosis?
There is no conclusive evidence to say what causes Endometriosis but researchers cite “retrograde menstrual flow” as the most likely reason. This
implies tissue flows through the fallopian tube and into other areas of the body during the period. (Retrograde menstruation is when blood from your period flows backward into your abdomen instead of out your vagina). Estrogen also appears to aid endometriosis which suggests the hormone system might be at fault. This disease also runs in families so genetic factors are believed to play a role in the formation of endometriosis. It is also observed that black women are more affected by this disease. Thankfully, there are several ways to treat endometriosis.
How to Treat Endometriosis?
-Hormonal therapies (birth control pills, hormone therapy)
–Complementary and alternative therapies (herbal remedies, acupuncture)
There is no prevention or cure for endometriosis but there are ways to reduce the growth of endometrial tissues.
Hormonal birth control is common for those trying for pregnancy and doctors often prescribe gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) which stops the production of the hormones which instigate the menstrual cycle. It’s also possible for surgeons to locate and remove the trapped tissue but surgery should only be sought for severe conditions. But what else can you do to treat endometriosis?
Lowering the level of estrogen in the body is crucial because this hormone thickens the lining of the uterus during menstruation. With this in mind, exercise and diet play an important role because regular exercise leads to lower body fat which reduces estrogen levels. Drinking less caffeine, soda and alcohol will have a similar effect, and research suggests using natural supplements as a complementary treatment for endometriosis.
Natural Supplements to Help Treat Endometriosis
We hear a lot about the symptoms and medications for endometriosis but not enough about the power of natural supplements. There’s a reason why some of the most common drugs originate from plants and nature! Everything needed to heal our body was provided to us by Nature.
The phytochemicals in natural supplements are known to restore nutritional deficiencies, support the immune system and reduce inflammation. For instance, vitamin B6 is sometimes prescribed for endometriosis because it is shown to decrease chronic pain and inflammation. The same is true for omega-3 fatty acids and both magnesium and herbal supplements are traditionally used to decrease pain and inflammation. With this in mind, ginger and turmeric supplements can aid endometriosis, and then there’s wild yam, black haw, chamomile, peppermint, and calendula which are used to treat heavy bleeding and pain.
Moral of the story?
We might not know the exact cause of endometriosis just yet but we do know that this disease negatively affects fertility. Exercise and diet are important and research supports using natural supplements as a complementary treatment for endometriosis. Natural supplements might not be the only solution for endometriosis but the benefits of herbal remedies are clear and possibly the difference that will help you overcome this disease.