Endometriosis affects more than 25 million Indian women, with a prevalence rate of over 10%. Despite this, it’s highly misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and inadequately researched. So, you can’t be blamed for panicking with a diagnosis of endometriosis. In truth however, the condition is not life-threatening and can be managed effectively with treatment and home remedies. To better cope with and overcome endometriosis, here’s what every woman should know about the condition.
What is Endometriosis?
Although endometriosis can affect women of any age group, it is more likely to afflict women in their 30s and 40s. This gynecological disorder is characterized by the growth of uterine tissue in other regions – notably, in the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Like the healthy uterine lining, this tissue also thickens and breaks down with menstruation. However, the resulting formation of scar tissue and adhesions can give rise to a number of symptoms, sometimes causing complications. The causes of endometriosis are still not clearly understood, although there are several theories.
Warning Signs of Endometriosis
As an early diagnosis improves treatment outcomes, women should be better informed about the symptoms of endometriosis. While cramping and pain are normal for many women during periods, with endometriosis this pain is considerably worse and can increase in severity over time. Although the main symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain and discomfort, there are other warning signs too.
- Painful menstruation may be accompanied by abdominal and lower back pain.
- You may experience pain during or after intercourse.
- During menstruation, bowel movements and urination may also cause pain.
- Unusually heavy flow or bleeding between periods can also be indicative of endometriosis.
- Difficulties in conceiving can also be a sign of endometriosis as the condition is linked to 25-50% of all infertility cases.
In addition to these symptoms, women with endometriosis tend to experience fatigue, nausea, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation during periods. As pointed out in some reports, women with PCOS are also more likely to develop or have endometriosis.
Endometriosis Treatment Options
Medical science offers no cure for endometriosis and treatment is aimed solely at managing the symptoms. This includes the use of pain medications to relieve menstrual pain, while hormonal medications and contraceptives are used to control estrogen levels. Although this stops the progression of endometriosis, the effects are temporary and will be reversed as soon as treatment stops. It should also be noted that hormonal medications can cause a variety of side effects that should be discussed with your health care provider. Surgical treatments like hysterectomy are only meant to be used as a last resort when all other treatments fail, if other organs are threatened, or if there is risk of serious complications.
Finding a Natural Cure for Endometriosis
Because of the limited scope of conventional treatment and the high risk of side effects, many women prefer to use natural treatments for endometriosis. Ayurveda is the most promising of these natural alternatives, with a range of herbs and medications that can provide relief from conditions like endometriosis and PCOD naturally. Aside from using Ayurvedic medications for endometriosis and PCOD, you can also add some of the raw ingredients to your diet or consume them as supplements.
Turmeric or haldi, which is widely used in Indian cuisine, occupies an important place in Ayurveda and is recommended for endometrial problems. Aside from documented anti-inflammatory properties, research shows that the herb can help through an inhibitory effect on a type of estrogen. Ashwagandha, another important Ayurvedic herb primarily associated with men’s health, may also have a role to play in the treatment of endometriosis. A study in the journal BioMed Research International shows that the root’s extract can help improve sexual function and hormonal balance. Another herb that you should consider using is guggul, which is actually most popular for weight loss benefits. It is also described as a uterine stimulant and emmenagogue, making it useful in the treatment of various female gynecological disorders, including endometriosis and PCOD.
Just remember that Ayurvedic treatments for endometriosis can be effective, but must also be supported by dietary and lifestyle changes. Women with endometriosis are advised to cut back on caffeine and consume more fresh veggies, as many are high in flavones and compounds like indoles that improve estrogen metabolism. And, don’t forget to stay active to keep those estrogen levels in check.