Endometriosis is, unfortunately, quite a common and very painful menstrual disorder affecting 1 in 9 women.
Research into endometriosis has been sadly lacking considering how many women tolerate this chronic pain condition however, our understanding due to a small increase in research has expanded over the last decade.
Most women with a diagnosis are given very little information about their condition and how to manage it and even more go undiagnosed due to poor levels of recognition and invasive (but necessary) diagnosis methods.
Endometriosis is first and foremost an inflammatory disorder, driving cells lining the uterus to increase in number and grow into surrounding areas where these cells are not normally present - for example the pelvic cavity, ovaries and even the bowel and may cause lesions and adhesions that can be very painful at the time of menstruation, and even at other times in your cycle depending on the severity.
Surgery is a common requirement, especially for more severely graded cases (endometriosis is graded 1-4) and the OCP and Mirena are also frequently prescribed.
No matter what your stage - pre-diagnosis, newly diagnosed, pre-surgery, post-surgery, low grade/stage endo (1-2), higher grade/stage (3-4) seeking support to understand your condition and how to manage it and have some guidance through the process.
What we know -
the abnormal growth is triggered by a dysregulated inflammatory response, including certain immune cells
infection can be a common trigger for immune and inflammatory cell dysfunction in women with endometriosis. A history of, or recurrent infections with candida (thrush), bacterial vaginosis (BV), UTI's and any other pelvic inflammatory disorders is significant
dysbiosis (the balance of good and bad bacteria) of the vaginal microbiome is as important to our reproductive health as our digestive microbiome is to our gut health. Women with endometriosis have been found to have low beneficial species and high pathogenic species which also make them more at risk for the above
Endometriosis is not a hormonal disorder per se, however, women with endometriosis tend to have high levels of inflammatory oestrogens and poor detoxification of these hormones which contribute to the inflammatory load and can also contribute to an increase in weight and issues with mood
Inflammation from other areas of the body, especially digestive inflammation and dysbiosis are commonly present in women with endometriosis and can add to the inflammatory load
Endometriosis can cause infertility for some women, but not in every case
It takes on average 6.5 years for a woman to be diagnosed
Laparoscopy is the only way to correctly diagnose endometriosis
There is no "cure" for endometriosis. Learning how to manage your symptoms can make a huge difference to quality of life
Endometriosis has a high re-occurrence rate post-surgery at approx. 35%. A post-surgery management plan may reduce re-occurrence rates
Naturopathic management of endometriosis includes identifying sources of inflammation (ie high oestrogen levels, poor gut health, co-existing autoimmune conditions such as Coeliac Disease, dietary and lifestyle causes or environmental triggers) and reducing these. We also seek to support women with lifestyle choices such as an anti-inflammatory diet, regular mixed exercise and stress reduction.
Education to guide you through the process of your diagnosis, surgery (if required) and prevention for the re-occurrence of endometriosis is central to women feeling in control of their bodies and confident in maintaining and thriving in a pain-free life.