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Endometriosis

Aug 25, 2020 | Endometriosis, Periods | 0 comments

Unfortunately, it can take up to ten years for a woman to be correctly diagnosed with endometriosis. In the meantime, she may be suffering from any or all of the following symptoms: 

Common signs and symptoms of endometriosis include:

  • Painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Pelvic pain and cramping may begin before and extend several days into a menstrual period
  • Pelvic pain during the month
  • Pain during or after sexual intercourse
  • Pain during bowel movements or urination
  • Excessive bleeding during your period
  • Fertility issues 
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive related discomfort like diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, especially during your period

So what is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. In most cases, this endometriosis lesions are found in the area of your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis. In rare cases, endometrial tissue has been found in areas beyond the pelvic organs.

The endometrial-like tissue acts as endometrial tissue would — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with the changing hormones of the menstrual cycle however this tissue has no way to leave your body so it stays stuck in your pelvic cavity.

When endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas may form. Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions — abnormal bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other.

How do I know if I have endometriosis?
Firstly, if you have many of the symptoms in the above list, I suggest you make an appointment with a Dr who specialises in endometriosis. It’s important that you see a doctor who is familiar with endometriosis and all of the presenting symptoms. In Israel today, there are several centers that specialise in endometriosis. You should contact your local Health Fund and ask for a referral.

An early diagnosis is in your favour! In addition, finding a conventional doctor and holistic support may result in better management of your symptoms.

How will a doctor determine if I have endometriosis? 

Your doctor will listen to your symptoms, perform an internal ultrasound (the probe is inserted into your body via your vagina similar to ultrasounds in early pregnancy) and palpate your abdomen. Not all endometriosis lesions can be felt externally or seen on ultrasound.

The only real way to determine if you have endometriosis is via a surgery called laparoscopy. During the procedure the surgeon makes several small incisions in your abdomen and inserts a tiny probe with a camera and light which enables the surgeon to see what is going on inside your abdomen on a screen connected to the probe. If they find tissue that appears to be endometriosis, they will take a small sample to test it.

Many women decide they don’t want to undergo a laparoscopy and will commence treatment based on their doctor’s diagnosis without a laparoscopy. 

Why does it take so long to be correctly diagnosed with endometriosis? 

Some of the symptoms associated with endometriosis are also present in other conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or ovarian cysts. In addition, because many women with endometriosis have digestive upsets like diarrhoea, constipation, bloating or nausea and are incorrectly diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that causes bouts of diarrhea, constipation and abdominal cramping.

Does the level of pain I’m in indicate the severity of the endometriosis? 

There doesn’t seem to be a connection between how much pain you experience and the extent of your endometriosis. Some women experience extreme pain with mild endometriosis and other women have the opposite experience.

What causes endometriosis?

Unfortunately, there is no known cause for endometriosis. Several possible theories exist including: 

Retrograde menstruation: during menstruation, some of the endometrium lining (menstrual blood containing endometrial cells) escapes from the uterus via the fallopian tubes and enters the pelvic cavity. These cells then stick to surfaces of the organs in the pelvis eg bowels, ovaries, fallopian tubes, liver, even the lungs. Each time the uterine lining thickens in response to changing hormones in your menstrual cycle, these cells also grow and bleed. 

Immune system disorders: Another theory states that all women have some endometrial tissue outside of their uterus but mostly their immune system keeps it under check. However, in women with endometriosis their immune systems do not manage to control it.

Many women who have endometriosis also are more likely to suffer from other conditions like auto immune disease, rheumatism, fibromyalgia, etc.

Transformation of peritoneal cells. Some experts suggest that hormones or immune factors promote transformation of peritoneal cells — cells that line the inner side of your abdomen — into endometrial-like cells. 

  • Embryonic cell transformation. Hormones such as estrogen may transform embryonic cells — cells in the earliest stages of development — into endometrial-like cell implants during puberty.
  • Surgical scar implantation. Endometrial cells may attach to a surgical
    incision following a surgery, such as a hysterectomy or C-section causing
    endometriosis lesions.
  • Endometrial cell transport. Your body is constantly transporting blood and fluids around your body via the circulatory system and lymphatic system. One theory suggests  endometrial cells may be transported to other parts of the body via the blood or lymph.

Conventional medical approach to managing endometriosis

Pain killers

Usually the first conventional medical approach if pain exists is to use pain killers to stop the pain. You can ask your doctor for recommendations and see what works best for you. Numbing the pain is a temporary solution as it doesn’t treat the underlying cause of the pain.

Depressing the menstrual cycle

Many women with endometriosis are advised to take the birth control pill (and other hormonal options that depress the menstrual cycle) as a way of controlling the hormones that cause the endometriosis to grow and react 

Again, this is not a real solution to the issue but for many women this is an option that allows them to manage the symptoms of endometriosis. 

Surgery

The only real way to determine if you have endometriosis is via a surgery called laparoscopy. During the procedure the surgeon makes several small incisions in your abdomen and inserts a tiny probe with a camera and light which enables the surgeon to see what is going on inside your abdomen on a screen connected to the probe. If they find tissue that appears to be endometriosis, they will take a small sample to test it.

If your doctor finds endometriosis during the laparoscopy, she may be able to remove some of the tissue growths during the procedure. They are usually cut or burnt out with laser. 

A holistic approach to managing endometriosis

My work with women suffering from endometriosis has shown me how different the various symptoms and level of pain and suffering can be among women. However, regardless of the severity of symptoms or the length of time a woman has been suffering positive improvements can be made especially with the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Massage. 

These ancient Maya healing techniques helps eliminate the main cause of reproductive and digestions health issues – congestion in the pelvis and abdomen. While many approaches only treat the symptoms, we seek to apply these techniques to remove the cause of the disease and support the body’s natural healing capability.

During this treatment, which consists of massage techniques on the abdomen and back, we are gently encouraging improved blood flow to the organs in the pelvis – ovaries, uterus, intestines, etc and gently removing any restrictions that may be impeding that flow. In addition to blood flow, we are encouraging good flow of lymph, nerve energy and general energy (called Chi in Chinese Medicine and chu-el in the Maya tradition) to the whole of the pelvis. 

In addition to the performing the massage techniques on you, I teach you to complete a short massage technique on your own at home which complements the treatments with me.

Like any holistic approach, my intention is to help return the body to a state of balance and that sometimes necessitates a multi-faceted approach. We look together at lifestyle issues which may be impacting your condition, nutrition and movement that can support you in becoming pain free and having healthier cycles.

Be in touch with me

The first step to us working together is a short 20 minute FREE online consultation so I can hear what your issues are and see how I can help you. All the details on working with me.