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Controlling the devastating effects of Endometriosis.

Monday, 7 October 2019  |  Editor

More than 13,500 women help Research Endometriosis

More than 13,500 women have taken part in BBC Research revealing the devastating effect of endometriosis.

Half said they had had suicidal thoughts, and many said they rely on highly addictive painkillers. Most also said endometriosis - involving painful periods - had badly affected their education, career and relationships.

MPs are to launch an inquiry into women's experiences of endometriosis following the research.

Women with the condition answered questions on how the condition has affected them. The charity Endometriosis UK helped gather the responses.

The condition affects one in 10 women and, as well as extremely heavy periods, can cause debilitating pain and sometimes infertility.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a disorder of the reproductive system which causes endometrial tissue to grow outside of the uterus. Endometriosis typically occurs on the:

  • outer surface of the uterus
  • ovaries
  • fallopian tubes
  • tissues that hold the uterus in place

Symptoms of endometriosis

Pelvic area pain is the primary symptom of endometriosis. This pain often accompanies menstrual periods. Other common symptoms include:

  • bleeding between periods
  • excessive bleeding during periods
  • pain when urinating or having a bowel movement
  • pain during intercourse
  • digestive discomfort, such as bloating and nausea
  • fatigue

Symptoms can vary from mild irritation to severe pelvic pain. There’s no cure for the condition, but treatment can help manage the symptoms.

Traditional treatments for Endometriosis include:

  • pain medication,
  • hormone therapy,
  • medication that blocks the production of estrogen.

Medication may include:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve)
  • hormone therapy, such as progestin therapy, aromatase inhibitors, or Gn-RH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone)

Surgery may include:

  • surgery to remove the endometriosis growths, typically laparoscopically
  • more aggressive surgery, including hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) and oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries)
  • Takeaway
  • If you’re looking for relief from the symptoms of endometriosis, talk to your doctor about dietary changes and supplementation with herbs and spices as shown above

Certain herbs may be effective in helping reduce the symptoms of Endometriosis:

Some herbal remedies may help treat the symptoms of endometriosis. Some of these claims are backed by clinical research.

Curcumin and Endometriosis

Curcumin is the primary active ingredient in turmeric. It has anti-inflammatory properties and may help with endometriosis by reducing estradiol production by suppressing tissue migration of the lining of the uterus.

Chamomile and Endometriosis

According to a 2014 study, chamomile can reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Some experts suggest drinking chamomile tea can help with endometriosis symptoms. A 2018 study showed that chrysin, a compound found in chamomile, suppressed the growth of endometrial cells.

Peppermint and Endometriosis

According to a 2006 review, peppermint has antioxidant properties. Another study concluded that antioxidant supplements can reduce pelvic pain from endometriosis. A 2016 study showed that peppermint can reduce the severity of pain from menstrual cramps.

Lavender and Endometriosis

Women may be able to reduce menstrual cramps by using diluted lavender oil in aromatherapy massage. Lavender might help with severe menstrual cramps triggered by endometriosis.

Ginger and Endometriosis

A 2014 study found that ginger can reduce menstruation-related pain. This suggests ginger could have a similar effect on pain associated with endometriosis. 

Cinnamon, clove, rose, and lavender

A 2013 study tested a mixture of cinnamon, clove, rose, and lavender essential oils in a base of almond oil. The study found it was effective for reducing menstrual pain and bleeding when used in aromatherapy massage.

Proponents of natural healing think that this mixture may also help endometriosis.

Ashwagandha and Endometriosis

A 2014 review found that clinically significant reductions in stress resulted from treatment with the herb ashwagandha. These studies indicate a potential role for ashwagandha in stress reduction for women with endometriosis.

Endometriosis diet

It is important to talk with your doctor about changes to your diet that might affect your endometriosis symptoms. They may recommend some of these changes:

  • Increase your intake of omega-3 fats.
  • Reduce your intake of trans fats. A study found a 48 percent increased risk of endometriosis in women consuming high amounts of trans fats.
  • Increase your intake of antioxidants. Antioxidant supplements can reduce chronic endometriosis-related pelvic pain.
  • Try an anti-inflammatory diet, which can help reduce the symptoms of endometriosis.
  • Avoid sugar and processed foods and choose natural fruits and vegetables.
  • Take in more omega-3 fatty acids and avoid man-made fats.
  • Eat carbohydrates that are not highly processed, such as switching from white bread.
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