Endometriosis is the presence and growth of tissue, similar to that of the lining of the uterus, in locations outside the uterus. This tissue may appear on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, outer walls of the uterus, bowels, uterine and ovarian ligaments, the ureters or the bladder.
The displaced endometrial tissue responds to cyclic hormonal changes and causes inflammation, scarring and the formation of adhesions. As a result, pain and dysfunction occurs in affected sites.
The incidence of endometriosis is difficult to determine, however, estimates propose it affects some 10-15 per cent of the women in their menstruating years in Australia. This may be a conservative estimate as endometriosis can only be diagnosed conclusively via laparoscopy.
What Causes Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a puzzling complaint. Despite having been extensively researched, no one knows why it occurs. There are, however, multiple theories that exist. Recent ideas propose that the immune system appears to be involved in the development of endometriosis.
Factors that Increase the Risk of Endometriosis
- Early menarche
- Heavy menstrual bleeding more than 7 days
- IUD use for over 2 years
- Family history, however, milder forms do not have family history
- Oral contraceptive pill use
- High stress
- Cigarette smoking
- Increased fat intake
- Increased caffeine and alcohol intake
- Increased exposure to environmental toxins
Factors that decrease the risk of endometriosis:
- Full-term pregnancies
- Regular exercise
Common Symptoms Associated Endometriosis
The symptoms of endometriosis are significantly variable, ranging from severe and debilitating to no symptoms at all, making it hard to diagnose. The key symptoms of endometriosis are generally pain and infertility. Other symptoms associated with the disease may include:
- Back pain
- Pain with bowel movements or urination
- Pain during intercourse
- Pelvic discomfort
- Cycles less than 26 days
- Irregular cycles
- Heavy bleeding
- Mid-cycle bleeding
- Premenstrual symptoms
- Irritable bowel symptoms
How We Treat Endometriosis
As there is no definitive cure for endometriosis other than a radical hysterectomy, we as naturopaths can play a valuable role in providing an effective treatment for women whose lives have been affected by this disease.
Endometriosis treatment primarily focuses on restoring balance and harmony in the body, mainly through the hormones. Naturopaths can also address the immune system, liver, lymphatic system and nervous system. Diet and lifestyle changes may also be implemented to manage the disease and prevent recurrence.
Make an Appointment and Treat Your Endometriosis Today!
To be free of endometriosis once and for all, call us on 03 9879 9596 or contact us online.