What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrial cells of the female uterus grow abnormally. The endometrial cells, which made the outer lining (Endometrium) of the Uterine cavity proceeds to grow out of place in fallopian tubes, pelvis tissue lining, and ovaries. This can cause serious pain and discomfort.
The function of endometrial cells is to collect nutrients to nourish the Ovum during ovulation. In case, the ovum is not fertilized, the endometrium cells dissolve and release all the nutrients it contains in the flowing blood in the menstruation cycle. This is supposed to happen only within the uterus.
In case of Endometriosis, the endometrial cells spread and grow out the uterus. This outgrown cells also dissolve and bleed during menstruation can cause unbearable pain.
Sometimes, the cells grow in such places from where it can not exit the body with the flowing blood. Such cells are trapped in the system and can later form cysts and tumors. This happens when the endometrium cells start to grow in ovaries or narrow fallopian tubes.
The first symptoms of endometriosis appear as deep pain while menstruation. Patients have described the pain to be much severe than the abdominal cramps and pain they feel during normal menstruation. Let’s take a look at symptoms of endometriosis in detail:
- Excessive or Abnormal Bleeding: You may feel irregular or excessive bleeding during menstruation. The heavy flow of blood (menorrhagia) may also contain lumps of blood.
- Pain During Sexual Intercourse: You may feel mild to severe pain in your uterine cavity and vagina during sexual intercourse.
- Pain in Lower Abdomen and Pelvic Region: Patients with endometriosis may feel regular pain in the lower abdominal, groin and pelvic region. This pain can be persistent, regardless of menstruation.
- Dysmenorrhea: Severe pain during menstruation. Also, abdominal cramps and pelvic pain building days before the date of menstruation.
- Infertility: Endometriosis can cause infertility in women. In fact, first cases of endometriosis were reported in the women who complain about failing to conceive and get pregnant.
When should you consult a Doctor?
If the pain is severe and unbearable, you should consult a doctor immediately. Sometimes the pain caused by endometriosis feels like a persistent pelvic pain. The symptoms can be easily confused with pain caused by other conditions such as ovarian cysts, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or pelvic inflammatory disorder (PID). You can consult a doctor to eliminate such possibilities. Also, IBS and PID can accompany Endometriosis and worsen the pain.
The exact cause of Endometriosis is unknown. However, there are certain conditions that can transport the endometrial cells into different parts of your uterine cavity, fallopian tubes, and to ovaries. Let’s look at those factors in detail:
- Backflow of Menstrual Blood (Retrograde Menstruation): Menstrual blood is supposed to flow out of the vaginal cavity. Retrograde menstruation is a condition in which the blood flows backward in the uterus. This blood can transport some endometrial cells to fallopian tubes, ovaries and into the pelvic cavity.
- Surgical Mishap or Scar Implantation: Small endometrial cells can transmit to other parts of the uterus with the instruments used for the surgery. Women happen to go through many surgeries such as C-section delivery, hysterectomy etc.
- Transformation of Embryonic and Peritoneal Cells: Sometimes, estrogen – the female hormone induces changes in the structure of embryonic and peritoneal cells and transform them into endometrial cells.
- Failure of Immune System: The function of immune system in our organs is to find and eliminate any foreign cell or particle. Sometimes the immune system fails to remove the endometrial cell found outside of the uterus. Endometrial cells can transport to other organs using lymphatic fluid or the blood.
It cannot be prevented. Since the endometrial cells can transmit using various means, any women can get endometriosis, and it can affect any women at any age.
Home Remedies for Endometriosis
The remedies listed below, cannot stop the spread of endometrial cell, neither they can remove the cells scattered in the vaginal cavity. However, these remedies are effective against symptoms like pain and inflammation. Let’s take a look at 5 most effective Home Remedies for Endometriosis:
1. Hot Massage
Massaging with a hot water bottle can provide instant relief from pain and cramps. Heat relaxes the muscles in the vaginal and pelvic region and prevents stiffness. Also, bathing in hot water or a bathtub filled with hot water will provide sufficient relaxation from the pain and cramps.
2. Ginger-Honey Tea
Ginger is an exothermic spice, means when consumed, ginger generates heat in the body. Due to this quality ginger is widely used in the treatment of coughing and other inflammatory condition. Furthermore, a patient with endometriosis can sometimes feel nausea and other abdominal discomforts. Ginger-honey tea is one of the best home remedies to treat abdominal cramps, nausea and inflammation.
Boil a cup of water and add finely chopped ginger roots in it. Keep the mix boiling for 2-3 minute then strain out the ginger roots. Mix honey to sweeten it. You ginger-honey tea is ready to use. Drinking this tea twice a day will provide relief from pain and cramps.
Turmeric is a widely popular spice. It has strong anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. You can take Turmeric capsule to soothe the symptoms of endometriosis.
Turmeric tea is also as beneficial as turmeric capsule. Boil a cup (200 ml) of water and add half a teaspoon turmeric powder and half a teaspoon finely chopped ginger roots in it. Keep the mix boiling for 3-4 minutes then strain out the residue. Add few drops of fresh lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey in it. You can drink this tea 3 times a day. Turmeric tea can be used relieve the symptoms in long-term as well.
4. Massage With Castor Oil
Castor oil has been traditionally used for the treatment of pain and inflammation. But it is only effective when you use it as you notice the first signs of cramps and feel pain. Massage your abdomen and pelvic area with castor oil to get relief from the symptoms. Another way to use castor oil is wet towel massage. Drop 8-10 drops of castor oil in hot water, also add few drops of eucalyptus oil in it. Soak a small towel in this water. Now place the hot soaked towel on your back and rest.
Flaxseeds are loaded with antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids. These substances are capable to prevent the outgrowth of endometrial cells. Also, flaxseed help to eliminate toxins from your body. You can eat flaxseeds in many ways, such as ground flaxseeds sprinkled over yogurt, smoothies or salads. Another way is to soak 4 tablespoons of seeds overnight in a glass of water and drink the water next morning.
Sadly, Endometriosis is one of such conditions which cannot be cured. However, the symptoms and unbearable pain caused by it can be treated with the use of various medicines and medical procedures. Let’s take a detailed look at those:
1. Pain Killers
You can take painkillers to reduce the pain and cramps. Painkillers and other over the counter medicines such as ibuprofen can be useful for you. However, these medicines are not the cure for endometriosis.
2. Hormonal Therapy and Hormonal Contraceptives
Taking hormonal supplements can sometimes decrease the pain and also prevent the growth of endometrial cells. Similarly, hormonal contraceptives alter the hormones that promote your fertility capabilities. They also prevent the growth of endometrial cells, which build up during your monthly cycles. Contraceptive Medicines such as Progyluton, Arimidex, and Daphne pills works against estrogen and prevent painful bleeding.
3. GRNH Therapy
GRNH therapy is used to prevent the production of Estrogen hormone. Estrogen is the hormone responsible for Sexual features in females. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) stops the production of estrogen and create menopause-like symptoms. Symptoms may include hot flushes, vaginal dryness etc. This prevents the monthly cycle and thus solves the pain and other symptoms of endometriosis.
4. Steroidal Medicine
There are few steroidal medicines, which can be used to control the production of estrogen. Danazol is one such medicine. However, this also is not a definitive cure. Danazol is generally prescribed for the treatment of hirsutism, acne and excessive body hair growth.
5. Laparoscopic Surgery
Laparoscopic surgery is a form of laser surgery. In this procedure, the doctor will make a small incision in your abdomen to insert the laparoscopic tube. Then using a controlled frequency and intensity of laser beams, he will vaporize or burn the overgrowth of endometrial cells.
If the medicines and home remedies don’t seem to work, then you can proceed for laparoscopy. However, this surgery can only destroy the out of place growth of cells. This can prevent the cell from growing again.
Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure in which the doctor will operate you and remove your uterus completely. This is final approach to solve the symptoms and pain caused by endometriosis. The doctor will also remove your cervix and ovaries as they produce estrogen.