Period pain affects most of us women but for over a million, it can be debilitating.
Welcome to Endometriosis, a highly complex disease where cells like the ones you find in the lining of the uterus are growing elsewhere in the body, such as inside the pelvis, on the bowel, or inside the muscle of the womb.
These cells respond to hormones in the same way the cells in the uterus lining do, so at some point during the monthly cycle they grow, break down and bleed. But because the blood can’t leave the body, it is causing pain, inflammation, swelling, and it forms adhesions.
Not heard of Endometriosis before? Well, you should have done, as it affects 10% of women of reproductive age and is one of the most common gynaecological conditions.
Painful periods; pain during sex; difficulty getting pregnant; pain going to the toilet; bloating; constipation/diarrhoea
Typical treatment for endometriosis is pain management, and/or hormone treatment and if these fail, then surgery in the form of ‘excision’ is the next option. A specialised endometriosis surgeon will remove the endometriosis lesions.
It is often thought that a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and sometimes ovaries too) will help endometriosis, but this is only in certain cases.
Nutritional Therapist Monique Parker adds, complementary medicine has been helpful for the support of endometriosis sufferers. Think of Nutritional Therapy, acupuncture, massage or herbal medicine for pain relief, hormone balancing or reducing inflammation.
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