Endometriosis affects an estimated 176 million women worldwide, and most women don’t even know they have it! Endometriosis is a gynecological condition that causes uterine tissue to grow outside of the uterus. The most common symptoms are significant period pain and PMS that lasts an entire month. It’s a condition that I’m really passionate about treating because it’s one I experience, and it’s the second leading cause of infertility.
How do you know if you have endometriosis?
The trouble with endometriosis is that the best way to diagnose it is through laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic visualization is the gold-standard way to assess the uterine tissue growths, aka “endometriomas. The trouble with surgical diagnosis is the long wait times, and the necessary referral from your medical doctor. There is also a blood test called CA-125 that is positive in 80% of women with endometriosis.
The most common symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Chronic pain in your back, pelvis, and/or legs
- Pain before and after your period
- Period pain that developed in your 20s
- Pain during sex and/or going to the bathroom
- Ovulatory pain
- Heavy periods or mid-cycle bleeding
- A family member with endometriosis (in fact you’re 7x more likely to have it if your mother or sister has it). My mom had it, so I always knew it was coming for me!
What’s the best way to treat endometriosis?
Sadly, there is no known cure for endometriosis besides menopause. Treatments for endometriosis include: surgery, hormonal suppression like the birth control pill, and painkillers. Luckily, there are many other treatment options for endometriosis within the scope of naturopathic medicine and acupuncture.
Diet and lifestyle changes also make all the difference. Many of my patients have experienced reduced pain on a gluten and dairy free diet, and all of my patients feel better with daily exercise. I love exercising, but I have to admit I do love gluten! My go to snack for endometriosis is homemade trail mix with dark chocolate, almonds, and walnuts. The combination is the ultimate anti-inflammatory and antioxidant treat, and it’s super tasty too. Foundations of health like adequate sleep and stress management also play a role in the severity of endometriosis.
Endometriosis can be an isolating condition, but you are not alone. I am with you and so are 175 million other brave women all over the world! If the symptoms I’ve listed above resonate with you, book an appointment with me to start getting to the bottom of your pain.
I also offer a specialized program for combating endometriosis called “It’s Not Just Period Pain”. Learn more about the program HERE.