How Endometriosis Can Affect Your Mental Health

How Endometriosis Can Affect Your Mental Health

Dachshunds & Duvets – a column by Jessie Madrigal-Fletcher

According to research published recently in New Scientist, endometriosis can reprogram the brain and cause mental health disorders. Researchers at Yale University conducted experiments that involved injecting endometrial cells into mice. The rodents were tested 12 weeks later and results showed they had developed signs of anxiety and depression.

To me, this connection between endometriosis and mental health is not new. It’s definitely something I have experienced for a long time.

For nearly all of my adult life, I have suffered from severe depression and anxiety. On the better days, I struggle to leave my bed. On worse days, I suffer from insomnia and panic attacks cause me to freak out at night. At times ― and most heart-breaking of all ― suicidal thoughts clog my mind. Eventually, my mental health forced me to abandon my professional career. Therapy didn’t work and the pills my doctors prescribed achieved very little. My inability to hold down a job cemented the label I had given to my entire life: a failure.

What’s more, while I am yet to be diagnosed with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), hearing about this helped me see my own PMS in a new light. For me, it involves losing grasp of reality or succumbing to horrifying anger fits.

While most women with PMS endure unpleasant, yet manageable, days every month, others (about 5-8 percent of women in the U.K.) suffer symptoms so intense that their lives are affected severely.

Studies like the one in New Scientist and PMDD diagnoses shed a lot of light on the mental health aspect of endometriosis. As a patient, I feel conflicted when offered hormone treatments; I want help, but I worry they will worsen my depression. In the same way, the therapists I’ve met don’t seem to grasp the link between this illness and my mind. Are antidepressants even the right way to go?

Effective treatment to tackle all aspects of endometriosis at once may seem improbable at times. But recognizing the mental health side of this illness is key. It shows there is more than the physical symptoms most doctors are willing to address. It proves endometriosis sufferers are battling more than our bodies.

Most importantly, it means we are not losing our minds.

It’s not us, it’s the endometriosis.

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Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.

9 comments

      • Anisha Davis says:

        You’re welcome! Thanks for sharing! I developed depression post laproscopic surgery. I had no idea depression was linked to endo. My life has not been the same.

        • Oh Anisha I’m sorry to hear you developed depression. Yes, there seems to be a link between hormonal imbalances/issues and mental health. It’s good to be aware that it’s not “you”. You are still the same person, but surgery/endo/physical changes may be the root of the troubles. My post-surgery experience has been a very emotional one too. But onwards and upwards right? We´ll get there (whatever “there” is) little by little 🙂

          • Anisha Davis says:

            There, seems to be over the rainbow, past the unicorn patch, and three blocks down from our fairy godmother! 😂
            All jokes aside, you’re right, it’s best to look upward. Fingers crossed for you to get better! You’re not alone!

  1. Ranjana Surplis says:

    Story of my life! fortunately I took to meditation nearly a decade ago, which helped me carry on through life. I know though I cry, I am not weak. I know though I loose it on my precious little toddler at times, I love her with all my being to the moon and back, I know even when in pain, I get up and carry …I am a woman, a mother, and a wife….I am a stage 4 Endo sufferer.

    • Thank you for reading and sharing Ranjana. I feel you, I hear you! I was very worried about openly writing about what goes on in my head. It’s not pretty and if I had a megaphone broadcasting my thoughts, most people would stay far away from me. This illness is like a monster poking you every so often. But we are one thing (mostly kick-ass human beings) and the illness is another. Congratulations on being a mother, a wife, and a true fighter xx

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