Period pain that puts your life on hold isn’t normal, but for one in nine women, and those who identify as gender diverse, it’s a common part of the Endometriosis (Endo) picture. March is Endometriosis Month considering how many people seek support or don’t know they have Endo, let’s take a look at common presentations in clinic, and symptoms that can factor into this picture.
The two main reasons people managing Endo are likely to seek treatment are:
- Pain management
There are often components of managing inflammation, regulating stuck blood, or building blood, and warming the womb from a Chinese Medicine perspective.
Pain management looks different for everyone. Contributing factors are usually based on where the Endo is located in the body and what stage of Endo is present.
Symptoms are varied but may include:
- Pain around your period that stops you
- Pain on or around ovulation
- Heavy or irregular bleeding
- Pelvic pain, lower back pain, or pain in legs,
- Pain during or after sex,
- Difficulty holding with a full bladder or frequent urination
- Pain with urination
- Pain with bowel movements
Common approaches may include herbs and supps, Acupuncture, moxa, womb massage, or integrative care including lifestyle changes.
It’s also important to know that whilst Infertility is a major issue, it’s still possible to still get pregnant with Endo. There are extra considerations amid this to factor in: location of endo ability to hold a pregnancy, and generally assisting in supporting a fertile environment. We encourage you prioritise pre-conception care as far out as possible so we can tailor an approach that allows you the best opportunity to prepare for your fertility potential, whether trying to conceive naturally (TTCN) or through IVF.
There are four stages/grades of Endometriosis depending on severity. Endo occurs when tissues similar to the lining of the uterus appears outside of this lining, and in other parts of the body. It’s only officially able to be identified via a laparoscopy and while it can be removed from certain parts of the body during this procedure ease a lot of symptoms, there’s still risk of it returning.
Things to know:
We see a lot of people who have been told contradictory info. The things that are important to know are:
1. Unfortunately, living with Endo is lifelong.
2. It can grow back even after a laparoscopy.
3. It’s not ‘fixed’ by getting pregnant or having a hysterectomy (endo has been also found in the brain, liver, kidneys, bone and heart).
THAT ALL SAID! Finding what works for you can be a gamechanger. Considering that 1 in 3 Endo warriors have been passed over for a promotion due to needing to manage their Endo, and 70% of Endo warriors have to take unpaid time off work, it’s SO important to have consistent support structures in place and to find spaces that support you.