Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrium (the tissue that lines the uterus) is found in places outside the uterus. It is a painful condition that affects a surprising number of women, but the good news is that there are natural ways of managing the condition. Some places in which it can be found include the ovaries, on rather than in the uterus, the bowel, the bladder, and the Pouch of Douglas (an extension of the peritoneal cavity between the rectum and back wall of the uterus). Once the endometrium has implanted, it begins to respond to the hormones that regulate menstruation in the same way that the endometrium inside the uterus does.
If a pregnancy does not occur, the endometrium begins to break down ready to be shed from the body. However, in the case of endometriosis, the blood cannot escape from the body, bleeding directly onto the surface of organs and tissues. This bleeding causes irritation which leads into inflammation, scarring, and the development of adhesions between the organs in some cases.
Endometriosis is the second most common gynaecological condition and it is estimated to affect around ten percent of women during some stage of their menstruating years. It is found in the entire spectrum of women, and can occur from any time between puberty and menopause.
Following is a list of some of the symptoms that may be experienced by women that have endometriosis. However, not all women will suffer from all of the symptoms and the severity of the symptoms will differ between individuals.
Endometriosis can be treated using both conventional medicine and natural therapies. These are explained further below.
Conventional medicine is one option for managing endometriosis and it involves the use of pain medication, hormone therapy, surgical treatment, and raising the body’s level of serotonin. Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for endometriosis apart from a radical hysterectomy. However, eighty to ninety percent of women will experience complete or partial relief from their symptoms.
Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs/pain medication – pain relieving medications work well because they manage the levels of pain that are experienced as well as reduce the menstrual flow. Over the counter pain medication is sufficient in most cases, but in really severe cases, prescription drugs may be required.
Hormone therapy – the contraceptive pill used continuously (without taking the placebo pills) will stop the menstrual cycle and the symptoms that may be caused by an irregular cycle. There are also some other hormone medications that may be used in the control of endometriosis.
Surgery – the two main surgical options are a laparoscopy and hysterectomy. A laparoscopy is a diagnostic tool and can also use various means to ablate or remove endometriotic tissue. A hysterectomy removes the uterus and surrounding tissue and, combined with a salpingoophorectomy (removal of the ovaries and uterine tubes), is the only cure for endometriosis.
Raising serotonin levels – a low serotonin level results in a lower pain threshold, meaning that pain is felt more severely. Serotonin levels may be increased by avoiding coffee and alcohol, light therapy, and increasing tryptophan levels.
There are several natural therapies that can be used for managing endometriosis. Some of the most popular ones are outlined below.
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