Endometriosis is a condition that causes cells that usually line the uterus to develop elsewhere in the body.
One of the primary symptoms of endometriosis is pain. This includes pain in the lower abdomen and pelvic area, pain during bowel movements, and pain during or after intercourse. Women with endometriosis also often experience severe menstrual cramps and painful urination during their periods.
The pain is frequently associated with a lack of energy and fatigue and can have a substantial impact on everyday life. Endometriosis also is associated with reduced fertility, which can contribute to the emotional burden of the condition.
Many patients with endometriosis experience pain on a daily basis. Pain medication may be helpful in reducing this pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used for mild pain and opioids for severe pain. However, these medications do not always effectively reduce endometriosis-associated pain.
Hormonal therapy may be more efficient in relieving the symptoms of pain in endometriosis. But a more aggressive way of treating endometriosis-related pain is surgery. Sometimes, however, the pain returns following surgery.
Work and social life
The pain that is associated with endometriosis can affect a woman’s performance at work. Pain and fatigue may reduce work efficiency and sometimes the pain can be so severe that a woman cannot go to work at all. This can interfere with career goals.
Endometriosis also can influence one’s social life. Sometimes women with endometriosis cannot take part in social activities because of pain and tiredness. Because women with endometriosis “look” healthy, friends are not always able to relate to the struggles they may be going through, and the condition can negatively affect personal relationships.
An inappropriate diet cannot cause endometriosis and the condition cannot be treated with a specific diet. However, dietary changes may help reduce symptoms and improve overall health. The correct diet also can help reduce inflammation and balance estrogen levels. Estrogen is a hormone that is thought to play a role in the growth of endometriotic tissue elsewhere in the body.
It is recommended women with endometriosis eat a diet rich in fish, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Wheat, red meat, refined carbohydrates, sugar, dairy products, eggs, caffeine, and alcohol should be avoided.
Pain and fatigue can make it difficult to exercise regularly. Physical activity, however, can improve overall health and help manage the symptoms of endometriosis. Moreover, exercise can improve sleep quality and increases energy levels. Exercise also may help reduce estrogen levels, and subsequently endometriosis symptoms.
Women with endometriosis can become pregnant and give birth, but fertility often is reduced, and affected women may struggle to become pregnant. For women who wish to become pregnant, this can have an affect on mental well-being. Assisted reproductive techniques may help in such cases.
Endometriosis affects not only the body, but also emotions. For this reason, it is essential that women with endometriosis get the emotional support they need. Family, friends, and the partner of a woman affected by the condition may be able to provide the needed support. However, they may not always be available or understand the situation. There are support organizations around the world that offer help to women living with endometriosis.
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.