Relieve unbearable pelvic pain by restoring hormonal balance, enhancing blood flow to the pelvis, and supporting the liver. Herbs (plantain, valerian, peppermint) and essential oils (calla lily, tiger lily) have soothing effects on the pelvis. Acupuncture restores the body's energy balance, eliminating pain. Exercise, meditation, yoga and a fibre and vitamin-rich diet supports the body in fighting pain.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful, chronic female health disorder in which tissue lining the uterus (called the endometrium) grows outside it. These tissue growths (endometrial growths) are usually found on and around the pelvic and abdominal organs, including the ovaries. Unbearable pelvic pain is the main manifestation: women who have this condition often describe the pain associated with endometriosis as being more intense than labor pain!
Though the exact cause of endometriosis is unknown, factors like family history of endometriosis, early pregnancy, early menstruation, heavy periods, long-term stress, and hormonal imbalance are all considered possible culprits.
Symptoms Of Endometriosis
For most women, the most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, which may vary in presentation and severity. The pain usually begins one or two days before menstruation and lasts until the end of menses. For some women, the pain is a constant, debilitating one that interferes with their daily lives. Women with endometriosis may also experience a wide variety of other symptoms including painful sexual intercourse, painful menstruation typically involving abdominal cramps, difficulty in defecating, painful or difficult urination, gastrointestinal complaints, and lower back pain.1
Endometriosis can severely affect the quality of life of women suffering from it. Mild to moderate anxiety is quite common. Depression is also highly prevalent in women with endometriosis, especially those with pelvic pain. The connection between endometriosis and depression comes by way of hormones. Women suffering from endometriosis will often have too much estrogen or too little progesterone in their body. This may cause symptoms such as anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, difficulty in concentration, irritability, mood swings, and insomnia 23
How is Endometriosis Treated in Allopathy?
Endometriosis is usually treated with birth control pills or other hormonal medication along with analgesics to relieve the pain. Surgery is recommended in some cases. The hormonal medication comes with its own share of side effect ‒ prolonged use could be detrimental to health and is especially harmful to the liver. Even in the case of surgery, chances of recurrence are high.
How to Deal With Endometriosis Pain Naturally?
Many women use natural methods to alleviate pain or manage the other symptoms of endometriosis. Natural therapy for endometriosis focuses on balancing the hormonal cycle, restoring organs such as the liver and lymphatic and endocrinal systems, and improving circulation to pelvic organs. Nutrient deficiencies which intensify the symptoms are also tackled.4
A study on herbal medicine and endometriosis at the Southampton University revealed that Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) was found to be more effective than mainstream treatments for endometriosis pain relief. There were no side effects either.5
Herbal medicines can be useful as a treatment for pain, heavy bleeding, scarring, and infertility. They help by restoring the hormonal balance and also by stimulating the liver. Herbs known to relieve the symptomatic pain of endometriosis include blue and black cohosh, cranberry, plantain, peppermint, valerian, false unicorn, evening primrose oil, chasteberry, St. John’s wort, uva ursi, couchgrass, red raspberry, yam, and white willow. A herbalist will fix up the regimen and the dosage for you. Essential oils such as calla lily, scarlet monkey flower, tiger lily, and mariposa lily also help balance hormones, reduce symptoms, and aid healing.6
Acupuncture brings relief to women suffering from endometrial pain, menstrual cramping, and post-operative pain as well. Placement of the needles on the various points linked by the meridians is believed to restore the balance and flow of energy, which will eventually help eliminate symptoms and reduce pain.
Dietary Measures: According to a study by Harris et al. in the American Journal of Epidemiology, a balanced, nutritious diet can help manage endometriosis, “including effects on inflammation, smooth muscle contractility, immune function, and estrogenic effects.”7 Aim at a diet high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and include lots of vegetables and fruits. Eating a serving or two of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, collard greens, cabbage, mustard greens, and turnips is recommended. A diet rich in phytohormones, such as soy foods, helps prevent the excess stimulation of estrogen receptors. If you must eat meat, opt for organic, grass-fed meat. Avoid processed and factory-farmed meats, as they contain growth hormones which can exacerbate the problem.8
Eat freshly prepared, unprocessed food, free of additives, transfat, and pesticides. Avoid refined white sugar, white flour, and white rice as the chlorination process used to bleach foods leaves dioxin residues in the food. Dioxins can cause endometriosis by virtue of its ability to disrupt immune and endocrine system functions. The chemical additives in processed foods are also highly inflammatory.9
Exercise: Exercise can help reduce pain, relieve stress, and fight depression by releasing “feel good” chemicals called endorphins. These naturally occurring hormones work like pain-relievers to lower pain. Regular exercise also lowers the amount of estrogen in the body, thus improving endometriosis symptoms.
Yoga and Meditation: It is believed that yoga can minimize pain by natural secretion of painkillers. It also helps rebalance the hormonal system, correcting the estrogen/progesterone ratio.10. Restorative postures such as supta baddha konasana (goddess pose), cobra pose (bhujangasana), and supta virasana (reclined hero pose) are very beneficial yoga poses for abdominal pain.11 Stress tends to intensify endometriosis so meditation and deep-breathing techniques will help calm you and find your emotional bearings
Castor Oil, Sitz Bath, and Pelvic Massage
- Castor oil is a very effective remedy for endometriosis. Castor oil helps the body get rid of excess tissues and toxins. Applying castor oil directly on your lower stomach will reduce the severity of symptoms.
- A hot and cold sitz bath is also recommended for reducing symptoms of endometriosis. The hot bath will relax the pelvic muscles, which in turn reduces cramping and pain. The cold bath will reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
- Studies show that massage therapy helps relieve pain associated with endometriosis.12 Massage the pelvic area and lower abdomen with various essential oils like lavender or sandalwood.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Bloski, Terri, and Roger Pierson. “Endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain: unraveling the mystery behind this complex condition.” Nursing for women’s health 12, no. 5 (2008): 382-395.|
|2.||↑||Reproductive Health: Endometriosis & Emotions, Women’s Health Information.|
|3.||↑||Lorençatto, Carolina, Carlos Alberto Petta, Maria José Navarro, Luis Bahamondes, and Alessandra Matos. “Depression in women with endometriosis with and without chronic pelvic pain.” Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica 85, no. 1 (2006): 88-92.|
|4, 6.||↑||Natural Therapies for the Treatment of Endometriosis, Women’s Health Victoria.|
|5.||↑||Flower, Andrew, Jian Ping Liu, Sisi Chen, George Lewith, and Paul Little. “Chinese herbal medicine for endometriosis.” The Cochrane Library (2007).|
|7.||↑||Harris, Holly R., Jorge E. Chavarro, Susan Malspeis, Walter C. Willett, and Stacey A. Missmer. “Dairy-food, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D intake and endometriosis: a prospective cohort study.” American journal of epidemiology177, no. 5 (2013): 420-430.|
|8.||↑||Parazzini, F., F. Chiaffarino, M. Surace, L. Chatenoud, S. Cipriani, V. Chiantera, G. Benzi, and L. Fedele. “Selected food intake and risk of endometriosis.” Human Reproduction 19, no. 8 (2004): 1755-1759.|
|9.||↑||Rier, Sherry, and Warren G. Foster. “Environmental dioxins and endometriosis.”Toxicological Sciences 70, no. 2 (2002): 161-170.|
|10.||↑||Petigara, Jill Mahrlig, and Lynn Jensen. Yoga and Fertility: A Journey to Health and Healing. Demos Medical Publishing, 2012.|
|11.||↑||Rakhshaee, Zahra. “Effect of three yoga poses (cobra, cat and fish poses) in women with primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized clinical trial.” Journal of pediatric and adolescent gynecology 24, no. 4 (2011): 192-196.|
|12.||↑||Valiani, Mahboubeh, Niloofar Ghasemi, Parvin Bahadoran, and Reza Heshmat. “The effects of massage therapy on dysmenorrhea caused by endometriosis.” Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research 15, no. 4 (2010).|