Millions of women around the world suffer from endometriosis. But the pain is only part of the anguish. Endometriosis can also cause depression that in some women may be quite pronounced and difficult to manage. When a condition like endometriosis persists on a month-to-month basis, it impacts your lifestyle in a very significant way. It's important for you to know how to control endometriosis so that you can reduce your risk of encountering depression and live a more enjoyable life.
How Endometriosis Occurs
Endometriosis is still a puzzling condition for many medical experts. It is a common condition that affects women during their reproductive years. It involves the displacement of endometrial tissues that line the inner area of the uterus.
Endometrial tissues form inside the uterus during every menstrual cycle, providing a cushion for a fetus should a woman get pregnant. If she does not conceive, the uterus simply sheds the lining as part of her menstrual period.
Endometriosis occurs when microscopic endometrial tissues grow outside the uterus, usually attaching themselves to the surrounding reproductive organs.
Sometimes, endometrial implants can even extend to the intestines and bladder and in some rare cases, can also grow in the lungs and on the skin. These misplaced endometrial tissues still function as those inside the uterus do, and will still be driven by hormone stimulation.
Because the implants continue to grow, endometrial tissues will break down and bleed during each menstrual cycle causing pain and internal inflammation and scarring.
Dealing with this month after month can also lead to feelings of depression. These feelings can spiral downwards as endometriosis is a progressive condition and the symptoms worsen as time goes by.
Controlling Depression in Endometriosis
Endometriosis tends to be a chronic condition; but that doesn't mean that women have to endure depression each month. Depression can be described as a feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness, everyday life becomes a struggle and people tend to lose interest in the world around them.
One of the main triggers of feelings of depression in women who have endometriosis is their inability to manage or stop pain. Others include poor nutrition, hormonal fluctuations, a lack of exercise, problems with your sex life, lack of emotional support from family and partners and not trusting your health provider.
Pain is the overwhelming symptom of endometriosis and can cause chronic pelvic pain, pain during menstruation, painful bowel movements, and pain during sex, and lower back pain and painful urination during periods.
All this pain can really start to effect your overall quality of life with work, social and sex lives being disrupted on a regular basis.
One way to tackle the pain is through taking pain relievers with both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. These medications can be in an over-the-counter form or you can speak to your doctor about a stronger prescription medication.
Hormone treatments or oral birth control pills may also be prescribed to control ovulation and help in reducing pain and depression. Hormone treatments have been shown to be effective to at least 80% of women, but results vary from one woman to another. Depending on how a woman responds, her relief can last for several months or longer.
Birth control pills are only effective for women who do not plan on getting pregnant. A combination pill containing progestin and estrogen is frequently used. Birth control pills work by controlling ovulation and prevent endometrial tissues from swelling, effectively reducing pain and allowing the growths to diminish and inflammation to reduce. This method is not as popular these days because of the availability of other treatments, but it may offer relief from pain and depression for some women suffering from endometriosis.
Surgery is another option you can consider for reducing endometriosis pain. Surgeons can remove the errant tissues that grow outside the uterus using laparoscopic surgery. This can bring relief, however it may not last, as many endometrial implants are so small and so they get missed and the endometriosis returns.
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While you are seeking treatment for the pain, there are a number of steps you can take to combat depression.
Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling and whether they have any suggestions for medication or lifestyle changes. See if you can get a referral to a therapist that deals with women's health or people with chronic pain. That way they should have the right kind of knowledge to help you.
Try and find other women suffering from endometriosis. Sharing experiences can help and knowing that you are not alone makes a big difference. Isolating yourself away from the world will only exacerbate the depression. Talk to your family and partner, ensure they understand exactly what having endometriosis means. Give them a copy of this article! Once people realize the implications of having endometriosis they should be more flexible with their demands on you when you're have a bad day symptom-wise.
As you can see, there are a number of ways to control endometriosis and any associated depression. Start with your doctor to learn more about which of these options is right for you.