Is There A Cure For Endometriosis?
The short answer to this question is no, there is no cure short of a hysterectomy or menopause. However your endometriosis doesn't have to control your life. There are ways to relieve symptoms in order to live a healthy lifestyle.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium (tissue that lines the inside of the uterus) also grows outside of the uterus. The endometrium, during your menstrual cycle, thickens to get ready for the egg. If the egg is fertilized, it will attach to the endometrium and begin to grow. If the egg is not fertilized, the endometrium breaks down and is flushed from your body as blood (your period). If you have endometriosis, the tissue outside the uterus, called implants, breaks down but cannot leave the body. This usually occurs on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or tissue lining the pelvis. Very rarely does this happen in other parts of the body. The trapped blood can lead to the growth of cysts, which in turn may form scar tissue or adhesions, causing pain especially during your period. The scars and adhesions may cause fertility problems.
How Can I Relive Painful Symptoms of Endometriosis?
There are a number ways to relieve the pain caused by endometriosis, and they are similar to the ways women can relieve cramping caused by menstruation. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen can reduce pain, but should not be taken for more than a few days at a time as they can cause stomach problems. A simple heating pad over the painful area will ease cramping and pain. Deep breathing during the pain can also help you cope. Birth control hormones in all forms are the safest medication used to relieve symptoms because they stop the monthly ovulation cycle, which is when endometriosis can be the most painful. Other hormone therapies often have negative side effects and aren't as safe as birth control hormones. If you have severe endometriosis, your doctor may prescribe surgery as a means of reducing pain. Surgery can locate and remove the endometriosis implants and scar tissue, and removes cysts if they are present as well. For very severe endometriosis, your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy. However, due to the variety of serious complications, this should only be as a last resort.
Lifestyle Changes Can Relieve Pain from Endometriosis
Consider some lifestyle modifications to reduce painful symptoms of endometriosis. Painful periods can interfere with your work schedule, relationships and has been known to trigger emotional of depression and anxiety. Consider a support group for women with endometriosis, or therapy to help develop long term coping skills. Regular exercise has been proven over and over to be beneficial to all aspects of your health. Exercise produces endorphins, or natural pain relievers, and increases blood flow to the body. It's also known to aid in the relief of depression. Stress management techniques can go a long way as well. By managing stress, and particularly the stress caused by painful symptoms of endometriosis, you can better cope with your condition.