Chronic pain and bloating in a woman's abdomen may point to an abnormality of the endometrial tissue. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
About This Condition
Endometriosis is a progressive and chronic condition in which endometrial tissue (the inner lining of the
uterus that is shed each month during menses) is found outside of the uterus and implanted within the pelvic
Endometriosis is believed to affect as many as 10% of all women in the United States and is the third
leading cause of gynecologic hospitalization and a leading cause of hysterectomy.1 Although many theories exist, the cause of endometriosis is unclear. However, there does appear to be a
genetic link--women who have a mother or sister with endometriosis are more likely to develop this
Women with endometriosis may have symptoms including pain before and during menstrual periods, pain with sexual intercourse, abdominal bloating, pain during urination or bowel movements, pelvic tenderness, premenstrual spotting, abnormally heavy or long menstrual periods, rectal bleeding during menstrual periods, and an inability to become pregnant.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Preliminary studies suggest that women who exercise two to four hours per week have less risk of developing endometriosis.2, 3 However, the benefit seems to be limited to those women who participate in vigorous exercise, such as jogging or other activities that raise the heart rate. Whether exercise will reduce the symptoms of existing endometriosis is unknown.
According to preliminary reports, regular meetings with other endometriosis sufferers may help women with endometriosis learn about the disease and cope better with the many psychological and emotional issues that often accompany this condition.4 One preliminary study found that women who had the opportunity to speak with other women with endometriosis, as well as to meet with their physician, had a higher satisfaction with their overall care.5
Acupuncture has been reported anecdotally to help control the pain associated with some cases of endometriosis,6 but no controlled studies have confirmed this claim. One small, preliminary study found that auricular acupuncture (acupuncture of the ear) was as effective as hormone therapy in treating infertility due to endometriosis.7
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2014.