Coming of age for a young girl is denoted by changes to the body that may take some time to get used to. One of the big changes is the beginning of the menstrual cycle, which becomes a monthly companion until menopause ceases it.
And for most this period is accompanied by throbbing pain and discomfort in the lower abdomen in the days of the period.
But when you experience pelvic pain during your period and beyond, this chronic pain can be as a result of endometriosis.
Treatment for this condition can range from home treatments, like essential oils, to surgical procedures.
Unfortunately, endometriosis is more prevalent in women with infertility issues, although it doesn’t necessarily indicate infertility.
It can be a silent condition which rears up during period or intercourse for some women, while in others it causes chronic pelvic pain.
For those looking for an answer as to why this condition exists, scientific studies haven’t found the exact root cause of endometriosis, although certain possible reasons have been put forth to explain the condition.
An immune disorder may cause your body to reject the endometrial implants growing outside your uterus, destroying them in the process, resulting in endometriosis.
This is where the menses flow back into your fallopian tubes, entering the pelvic cavity instead of being discharged out through the vagina. These tissues coat the surface of the pelvis causing the condition.
After a C-section, the endometrial implants may append themselves onto the C-section scar, causing endometriosis. Another surgical procedure that carries the same risk is the hysterectomy.
As a result of hormonal or immunity factors, your body can change normal peritoneal cells into endometrial cells. Peritoneal cells are the tissues that line the abdominal cavity.
Symptoms of endometriosis
Apart from the obvious pain that sears through the abdomen area, there are several other symptoms of endometriosis that can help you identify whether you have the condition or not.
There are four known stages of endometriosis:
These classifications are based on the location of the lesions, as well as the number and how embedded they are.
If you have minimal or mild endometriosis chances are that you have a few lesions with little scarring.
The lesions are also not deeply embedded. Stage III and IV, moderate to severe endometriosis, is characterized by deeply embedded lesions and cysts with extensive scarring on the tissue.
These stages are more synonymous with infertility than the previous two.
With endometriosis, you can expect:
- Painful intercourse
- Cramps when having a bowel movement
- Excessive bleeding
- Intense pain during pelvic exams
Since menstrual pain is common in most women, endometriosis can go undetected and may be choked down to the usual menstrual discomfort.
To properly get diagnosed, an invasive procedure known as a laparoscopy must be performed. This procedure identifies exactly where these lesions are in your reproductive organs.
The good news is that endometrial implants or lesions are non-cancerous in themselves. The bad news is that ovarian cancer occurs more often in women with endometriosis.
In addition to laparoscopy, you can get a tissue biopsy, as well as an ultrasound, to diagnose the extent of the condition.
Conventional treatments for endometriosis
Medication and surgery have the most relied upon treatments for the endometriosis.
These conventional treatments work to alleviate the pain and other uncomfortable symptoms, while also dealing with the infertility issue.
Some of these treatments include:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
These medications are also known as NSAIDs and they include well-known drugs like Ibuprofen. They are used to alleviate the menstrual cramping pain that accompanies each menstrual cycle.
Their main effect is on the reduction of prostaglandin, which contributes to the pain through contraction of the uterine muscles, but not on the endometrial lesions.
Hormones are a known cause of endometriosis, especially when they transform the peritoneal cells into endometrial cells.
Hormone therapy can help stop the growth of lesions and prevent ovulation. In most cases, the doctors recommend estrogen pills or shots that prevent the ovaries from producing hormones.
You may also be put on oral contraceptives or stronger options, like progesterone, which halt your periods completely.
Surgical treatment entails removal of the endometrial patches.
The procedure can use lasers to apply heat to the lesions, destroying them in the process and remove the existing scar tissue.
This treatment option is more effective in women with moderate endometriosis. For severe endometriosis, the doctors may suggest a full hysterectomy, removing the uterus entirely.
Usually, doctors try to leave the ovaries in place, because they play an important role in the hormonal and endocrine systems.
It is important to note that having a hysterectomy doesn’t guarantee that the endometriosis will be eradicated. The lesions may return along with the pain.
Other surgical procedures may sever pelvic nerves. Such procedures include the presacral neurectomy and laparoscopic uterine nerve ablation.
This is the best option when you are battling endometriosis induced infertility.
The IVF treatment makes it possible to fertilize the egg and sperm in the laboratory making an embryo that is implanted into the woman’s uterus.
However, after pregnancy, you may still experience endometriosis. Also, keep in mind not all women can get pregnant with IVF.
Endometriosis can be relieved using alternative treatments like aromatherapy.
Essential oils do not have enough clinical research to make them the go-to treatment option for the condition, but they have properties that enable them to ease the discomfort and pain associated with endometriosis.
Studies have shown that using aromatherapy when you suffer from dysmenorrhea helps alleviate the symptoms significantly.
The pain during the period and excessive bleeding can be reduced by using essential oil.
With endometriosis comes immense inflammation of the endometrial cells, resulting in the pain.
Frankincense oil is a well utilized and popular anti-inflammation agent that can help alleviate the pain of endometriosis. Be wary of anyone who tells you frankincense can heal endometriosis.
However, this essential oil can definitely help balance hormones and reduce nausea, cramps, and constipation that accompany endometriosis.
How to use?
Dilute a few drops of frankincense into a carrier oil. In this case, we highly recommend jojoba oil because of its excellent absorption. Apply onto your lower abdomen, massaging it in slowly and carefully.
Do this a few days before, during and a few days after your period for the best results.
The best thing about ginger is that you can use the essential oil or ingest the root.
Gingerol, the active ingredient in fresh ginger, helps balance your hormones from within as well as reducing inflammation. The same effect takes place with the application of ginger essential oil onto your lower abdomen.
Seeing as hormonal imbalance and inflammation are the main culprits in endometriosis, blasting them from within and without is an effective strategy.
The refreshing scent of ginger also helps with nausea and the spice aids in digestion eliminating constipation.
How to use?
Prepare a cup of fresh ginger tea and drink it during the period of your menses. Alternatively, some people are comfortable chewing on ginger root, so take your pick.
Add a few drops of ginger oil into your massage blend and gently apply onto your lower abdomen. Mix in a blend with lavender and lemon oil to mask the scent of ginger if it is too strong for you or if you need a mood boost.
Derived from the cypress tree, this essential oil has natural blood-clotting abilities. It aids in stopping the excessive bleeding that comes with endometriosis.
Also, it is a natural anti-spasmodic, giving it the ability to reduce pain by alleviating the muscle contractions and pulls that cause cramping.
It also has a sedative element to it that can help you sleep better during your period.
How to use?
In a bath
Place a few drops into your bathwater, preferably warm water, and soak in it for at least 15-20 minutes. Dry yourself and apply a few diluted drops of cypress essential oil onto your abdomen, massaging it in gently.
Clary sage is a mildly scented essential oil, which makes it ideal if obnoxious scents make you even more nauseous.
Nausea is a symptom of endometriosis that can make everything seem unpalatable. This essential oil is an exceptional anti-spasmodic agent, which works fast.
If you do not want to use the prescribed hormones for the treatment of endometriosis, clary sage has a balancing effect on your hormones, lessening the discomfort of the condition.
It also relaxes the nervous system and reduces anxiety, helping your body get the much-needed rest during your period.
How to use?
Adding a few drops of clary sage oil into your massage oil blend works well.
Alternatively, add the drops into your lotion. Massage gently on your lower abdomen for 5-10 minutes.
The light scent of roses calms you and boosts your mood. This is in addition to balancing your hormones and helping with the healing of scars.
Endometriosis features scarring as an after effect of the needed surgery, so using rose geranium oil helps smooth those scars and heal them.
It goes further to reduce swelling in the endometrial patches and prevent inflammation.
How to use?
A few drops in your warm bath water should do the trick. Soak in the bath for at least 15-20 minutes and apply some more of the oil after drying off.
For relief during the day, carry some in a spray bottle and spray on your abdomen massaging it as the need arises.
Being a rosy scent, it can easily be assimilated into your daily skin routine.
Speaking of another sweet-smelling essential oil, lavender is a powerful antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory agent. Both these properties make it ideal for tackling the pain caused by endometriosis.
It also not only alleviates anxiety and bouts of nausea, but also has healing properties and aids with digestive problems, like constipation that accompany endometriosis.
How to use?
Inhaling the lavender scent will help with calming your nervous system giving you better rest. The scent is sweet without being overpowering, helping with nausea.
Lavender can be used in a blend or on its own as a massage oil. A few drops applied to your lower abdomen will reduce the muscle discomfort and alleviate the painful cramps.
A cup of lavender tea is also a great way to use lavender for endometriosis.
This is a potent anti-spasmodic essential oil that has a heavy scent. It can overpower other scents easily, which is why it is recommended to be used in a blend.
Eucalyptus oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties that quickly work to reduce pain within minutes.
It relaxes the muscles effectively, reducing the pull and contraction of muscles that results in endometriotic pain.
How to use?
A few drops together with some lavender, rose geranium and lemon or sweet orange will make a delicious scent that is palatable, especially if you are suffering from bouts of nausea.
This scent is mild but refreshing. The oil also features a strong anti-inflammatory presence and has been widely used over centuries for its healing ability, with emphasis to pain alleviation.
Endometriosis causes cramping and this oil smoothes the muscles that are cramped, effectively reducing pain and discomfort.
How to use?
Chamomile tea is the perfect way to ingest german chamomile and get it to work from within.
Add a few drops of the oil into your bath and soak in for 15 minutes. Apply the oil mixed with a carrier oil to your abdomen immediately after drying your skin for best absorption.
How to use essential oils blends for endometriosis?
- 3 drops of lavender oil
- 3 drops of peppermint oil
- 2 drops of ginger oil
- 2 drop of eucalyptus oil
- 1 tbs of jojoba oil
Mix these oils, adding one drop at a time until they are well blended. Use the mixture as your massage oil.
Put the oils in your warm bath water and stir in for 1 minute. Soak in the water working your abdomen gently with the oils to alleviate the discomfort.
Once you have patted yourself dry, apply some of the rose geranium oil onto your abdomen and massage until it is all absorbed.
In a bowl of hot water place these oils and cover your head with a towel to direct the steam infused with the scents towards your face. Stay under as long as you can.
In case you need to use the water later, do not discard but just add hot water to raise steam.
Ways to prevent endometriosis naturally
Unfortunately, it is not possible to prevent endometriosis. What you can do, however, is lessen the chances of developing it.
Here are two effective ways:
1. Dietary changes
Reduce your intake of red meat and trans fat in your diet. A diet that features vegetables and fruits, as well as white meat, can keep the condition at bay and also limit its progress.
Also, limiting your consumption of caffeine and alcohol will help.
Omega-3 fatty acids are great to keep your body healthy and reduce the chances of developing this condition.
2. Reduce stress
Stress can cause a hormonal imbalance, resulting in the progression of endometriosis.
Cortisol, the hormone produced when you are stressed, hampers the production of progesterone resulting in hormonal imbalances.
The usual stress-relieving exercises can be used including breathing and meditation.
Essential oils for endometriosis, when combined with a healthy lifestyle and awareness of your body, will go a long way in relieving the pain and discomfort that accompany the condition.
Of course, we recommend consulting your physician before using any alternative medicine or treatment.
Let us know how the above essential oils have helped you in your journey to beat endometriosis!
Did we forget to mention any? Well, let us know!