If you are having trouble managing your endometriosis – you are not alone.
Endometriosis is relatively common, affecting 1 in 10 women. It is characterised by abnormal growth of the tissue that lines the uterus (endometrium) which can stick to other organs, such as the ovaries, bowel or fallopian tubes. Just like it does in the uterus, this tissue thickens and bleeds with the menstrual cycle, causing an array of painful symptoms.
The pain associated with endometriosis can be extremely debilitating. Women are often curled into a ball with their pain, forced to cancel plans and take time off work or school. Their menstrual cycles can be irregular, creating apprehension around when the next period will arrive and being fearful of the pain and heavy bleeding that is bound to come.
Endo-belly is real! Severe bloating and issues with bowel movements is extremely common amongst women with endometriosis. For many patients, their symptoms are frequently misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome, which ultimately delays proper treatment.
Women with endometriosis have usually undergone multiple surgeries to alleviate their symptoms, with no real long term results.
They are prescribed a multitude of drugs – from painkillers, NSAIDS, antidepressants or the birth control pill – all of which can affect gut health and mood. While the birth control pill can sometimes relieve endometriosis symptoms, the underlying issue remains at large, and becomes a problem if the woman wants to start a family.
Endometriosis is not just a reproductive disorder. It is impacted by multiple systems, including the digestive system and the immune system.
It is characterised by high levels of inflammation, and often with an imbalance in estrogen levels.
Most women with endometriosis have been offered very little hope; resorting to a lifetime of pain medications, the birth control pill and multiple surgeries.
With a functional medicine approach, we address the underlying issues at their root, in particular looking at reducing inflammation, improving gut health, supporting excess hormone metabolism and balancing the immune system.
Commonly the woman will say "I've never been well since…" This part of your medical history is KEY, and how your immune system responds is going to be part of your solution.
If you feel your health professional has not addressed these underlying issues in your history, we suggest booking in with one of our functional medicine doctors. We will help you address the underlying factors that are driving your endometriosis.
If you have not yet been diagnosed with endometriosis, here is a checklist of questions:
These questions rarely get asked. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important not to ignore them. Women frequently downplay these issues thinking they are “normal”. There is, unfortunately, a stigma associated with discussing periods that must be overcome.
If we pay attention to these classic red flags for endometriosis and adenomyosis (where the endometrial tissue starts to grow into the uterine wall), we can treat the condition earlier and potentially avoid more severe complications or damage to surrounding organs.