Can Stress Cause Endometriosis to Flare Up?
When the tissue lining the inside of the uterus, the endometrium, grows outside the uterus endometriosis occurs. The endometrium should thicken during the menstrual cycle to prepare for possible egg fertilization. If there is no fertilization, this lining flushes itself as your period. If you have endometriosis, the tissue outside the uterus breaks down, but is unable to exit the body. This trapped blood can lead to the growth of cysts, which turn into adhesions and/or scar tissue that cause intense pain during your period, and sometimes infertility. Several factors determine your chances of developing endometriosis. These include:
- Reaching childbearing age
- Approaching menopause
- First degree relative with endometriosis
- Menstrual cycles less than 28 days
- Never having a child
- Menstrual flow that lasts longer than seven days
- Medical problems that inhibit normal blood passage
- Uterus damage as a result of previous infection
- Abnormal structure of vagina or uterus
All women that have menstrual cycles can be affected by endometriosis.
Stress and Your Body
The body uses stress to confront tough situations in an alert and focused manner. Stressors are those situations that cause stress.There are many kinds of stressors and they can range from absolute physical danger to simply asking someone out on a date. Research has revealed that cortisol levels (hormone levels closely tied to stress) are significantly higher in women with advanced endometriosis as compared to women without the disease. Here are a few options to help regulate stress levels:
PLANT FLAVONES: Studies indicate that flavones, a group of plant chemicals, can inhibit an enzyme called aromatase that converts androgens into estrogens. Parsley and celery are good food sources of flavones.
GREEN AND CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES: Other foods that improve estrogen metabolism include brussels sprouts, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, kale.
SUPPLEMENTS: Alternative practitioners commonly recommend these nutrients for stress reduction, B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium. It's absolutely true that a wide variety of factors can increase stress levels among women with endometriosis. These situations include money worries, relationship problems, job security, and a host of other problems related to the disease itself. However, there are many ways to keep stress to a minimum. If you have endometriosis you may want to try one or more of the following:
- Deep breathing
- Practicing yoga
- Long walks in nature
- Positive affirmations