Did you know that endometriosis was first documented over 4,000 years ago, however it wasn’t until 1860 that the actual cause was discovered? For those thousands of years, the medical world put the symptoms back on the woman – sufferers had hysteria, were mentally ill, or possessed.
If you suffer from endometriosis, you may have yourself endured the frustration of a lack of diagnosis. The average time to diagnosis is approximately 7 years from symptom onset!
In many ways this is due to the symptoms themselves, which include painful menstruation (some would say excruciating), gastrointestinal disturbances, infertility. As these symptoms are not specific to the disease, the cause can be difficult to pinpoint. It’s actually estimated that up to 10% of all women suffer from endometriosis, and up to 50% of all infertile women have the disease.
The condition is caused by endometrial-like tissue growing outside of the uterus. How this tissue gets there – well – we don’t really understand exactly how this happens just yet. These growths usually occurs on other pelvic structures (think the bowel, bladder), but they can grow at other sites in the body (though this is fairly rare). Thanks to surges in oestrogen throughout the menstrual cycle, these cells multiply, and become inflammatory cysts / legions which can cause scar tissue, resulting in pain.
The condition can be classified from mild to severe based on the number and type of lesions. Milder cases are classed as those with isolated lesions, whilst a more severe case is where large continuous sheetsof these tissues affect other organs. The pain experienced by one woman to another can vary greatly, and is not necessarily dependent upon the ‘severity’ of the disease.
Due to the nature of the condition, women with endometriosis are also far more likely to suffer form IBS or IBD, interstitial cystitis (urinary tract infection), and autoimmune conditions.
Key aspects in managing endometriosis are reducing chronic inflammation caused by the disease (which becomes a vicious cycle – the condition causes inflammation, and inflammation causes the condition to worsen), and addressing gastrointestinal health to rectify gastrointestinal and vaginal dysbiosis (which is generally present with the disease). Simple dietary and lifestyle modifications can support both these aspects of disease management.
If you’re keen to learn how dietary and lifestyle changes can help with your management of endometriosis, book a consultation now!