March is National Endometriosis Awareness Month! If a doctor has diagnosed you with endometriosis, you know how painful experiencing this condition can be. However, we have a few tips you can try to help minimize your discomfort and not let endometriosis get in the way of enjoying your life!
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a disorder that affects 200 million women worldwide. 1 When a woman has endometriosis, tissue that behave like the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterus. This tissue grows in various places including the fallopian tubes, pelvic lining, ovaries, and in or around the bowel and bladder.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
Painful cramps and periods
Periods that are long
Heavy menstrual flow
Nausea and/or vomiting
Pain during sex
Bowel and urinary disorders
Your physician may recommend various medications and treatments for endometriosis. However, there are some things you can do yourself to help better manage your condition.
Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet and minimize your red meat intake. Some studies indicate that increased red meat consumption may greatly increase your chance of suffering from endometriosis while fruits and vegetables can help reduce your chances. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as mackerel, sardines, salmon and anchovies can also help.
Cortisol is a hormone involved in the stress response. Prolonged stress can lead to elevated cortisol levels, a hormone which may decrease progesterone levels. This hormonal imbalance may aggravate endometriosis.
A warm bath or heating pad placed on the lower abdomen can help to relax cramping pelvic muscles and reduce pain. Many women may find using heat as effective as pain relievers.
Some women find relief when being treated by a massage therapist. Massage therapy can help reduce menstruation pain associated with endometriosis. Massaging the pelvic area, including parts of the abdomen, back and sides shortly before the menstrual period begins is the most beneficial time to seek massage treatment.
Especially during menstruation, sufferers of endometriosis should get more rest. Lying on the side with the knees pulled to the chest can help reduce pain and pressure in the back.
Regular exercise helps to release endorphins, the “feel good” hormones that reduce pain. Exercise can also help to lower estrogen levels and improve symptoms.
When pain related to endometriosis is at its worst, women may experience nausea. Ginger is often used to help nausea. Many women drink ginger tea or eat ginger chews.
If you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis or need help coping with your endometriosis diagnosis, make an appointment with one of our providers at MMG Gynecology and Obstetrics.
1 Endometriosis Foundation of America. What Is Endometriosis? Causes, Symptoms and Treatments.
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