Guest post by Melissa Turner
My personal background and experience has been from endometriosis and dealing with its cascade of symptoms for more than 20 years. It became my life’s mission to change my personal situation and in that process, I was lucky to transform the lives of 1000’s of women through my online platform and with personal clients. Endometriosis is a condition which really reaches deep inside of a women and mucks up a huge amount of her life and her true potential. It is associated with painful periods, painful sex, pain when you go to the toilet, and all sorts of hormone fluctuations and incredible feelings of exhaustion. It can also cause fertility issues for many women.
As I have helped women with managing their endometriosis over the years, I noticed that many of these women also experienced symptoms associated with PCOS. Though the conditions have very distinct differences, they also share some common ground. Before we begin, I want to delve into the condition of endometriosis a little bit further for you, so you can understand the condition and then we can recognize some of the similarities.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where the cells which are normally found lining the uterus, end up outside of the uterus and within the abdominal cavity. These cells grow and change with our hormones, and over time develop into lesions and adhesions which stick together. Our organs within the abdominal area are meant to glide past each other and move easily. When they become stuck due to these lesions and adhesions, it becomes very painful. Much of the pain women experience with endometriosis is due to adhesions and the restrictions of the organs within the abdominal cavity. These include bowels, bladder, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. As you can imagine, it would restrict fertility when so much inflammation is going on.
What are some of the commonalities with PCOS and Endometriosis?
With PCOS, we are dealing with some key hormone imbalances which are closely linked to insulin resistance. These cause the menstrual irregularities and the struggles for the body to ovulate. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and in the case of PCOS, that means too much testosterone and limited production of progesterone. Without progesterone to counter the effects of oestrogen, it can cause cysts to grow on the ovaries.
With endometriosis, women tend to experience too much oestrogen. The condition is commonly associated with oestrogen dominance. This means, there is not enough opposing progesterone to keep oestrogen levels low. Too much oestrogen triggers growths within the body. Women with endometriosis frequently experience cyst growths, heavy periods, and clotty dark periods.
Other indicators of oestrogen dominance include PMS symptoms, sore breasts, depression, anxiety, migraines, and fluid retention. You may experience many of these related symptoms with PCOS.
It is easy to see how a woman could suffer from both conditions. Unopposed progesterone, triggers too much oestrogen, resulting in a variety of hormone related symptoms.
When I initially considered endometriosis, I really believed that it was solely a hormone related condition as the only prescription my doctor seemed to focus on was hormone treatments. As I dove deeper, it became clear that endometriosis, much like PCOS, is an inflammatory condition. When the body becomes in a permanent state of inflammation, it can cause all sorts of responses within the body. Endometriosis has now been recognized as an auto-immune condition. It is like the body is in a permanent state of overdrive and feels the need to inflame and protect every dispersed cell within the abdominal cavity. It is heightened and extreme as would be the case if you have hay-fever or other allergic reactions. When I discovered this connection, I realized the importance of supporting our immune system.
There are foods we eat which trigger a heightened inflammatory response within the body. Interestingly enough, consumption of sugar and the release of insulin are known to be factors with PCOS and endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a very challenging condition to diagnose as it typically requires surgery to verify it being there. In my experience, it is fairly easy to recognize some of the key symptoms of the condition and then decide if you truly need a surgical verification for it.
Here is a list of some of the most common symptoms of endometriosis:
- Painful periods. If you constantly pop pain-killers for your period, it is an indication that things are not normal. Women with endometriosis tend to suffer extreme periods and will often describe not being able to move as the pain is so intense. *Some women don’t experience such pain and still have endometriosis.
- Pain during sex. This is a big indicator as the endometriosis lesions sit outside of the uterus, and this can easily be felt during sexual intercourse.
- Pain with urination or defecation. Women may also experience more intense pain if they “hold on” for too long.
- A general feeling of bloating or “fullness” in the abdominal cavity
- Hormone fluctuations and indicators like PMS, painful breasts, a change in bowel movements before your period, depression, anxiety, and headaches (see oestrogen dominance insights above)
- Allergic reactions, food sensitivities, and a body which seems to be susceptible to infection.
Where to from here?
If you said “yes” to many of the symptoms listed above, then you may have endometriosis. You can opt to have surgery to have a look at what is going on inside, or you may decide to treat it holistically and successfully reduce many of the symptoms.
My approach to managing endometriosis is quite different from many of the conventional treatments out there. I approach our bodies with a technique I developed over the last 5 years, called the REACH Technique©. It focuses on rebalancing your body and ensuring that you provide it with the best means to be healthy again. I have seen women successfully reduce their pain and associated symptoms with endometriosis and go on to have beautiful babies, thriving careers, and really happy fulfilled lives.
Melissa Turner is an expert on endometriosis and women’s health. She is incredibly passionate about changing the lives of women with endometriosis and is tired of women being restricted by the condition. She knows there are more beneficial ways to treat the condition beyond surgery, hormone treatments, and pain-killers. Having overcome stage 4 endometriosis, she is a guiding light for women with endometriosis who are keen to use a more natural and holistic approach.
You can find out more about Melissa and her work on her website: www.endoempowered.com