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What Is Endometriosis And How Is It Managed?

What Is Endometriosis And How Is It Managed?

Endometriosis is a condition that is estimated to affect 6-10% of women of reproductive age, and can have a detrimental effect on daily living and fertility. Although we don’t understand the exact causes of endometriosis, there may be ways to prevent and to manage the condition. Continue reading to learn more!

What Is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition where endometrial tissue (tissue similar to that found in the womb) grows outside of the uterus. Symptoms of endometriosis include pelvic pain, severe period pain, heavy menstruation, fatigue, depression, painful urination and defecation, constipation or diarrhoea, infertility and painful sex. Women can have endometriosis lesions without any symptoms, and up to 50% of women who seek treatment for infertility are found to have endometriosis. 

The exact cause of endometriosis is not established, however it is thought that genetics, environmental factors, retrograde menstruation, immune cells, somatic mutations, structure of the endometrial tissue, and endometrial cells may play a role. Individuals who start their periods early, have menstrual cycles shorter than 27 days, have a low BMI, are caucasian, are aged 25-29, or those who consume excessive amounts of alcohol are at an increased risk of having endometriosis.

How Is Endometriosis Managed?

Diet plays an important role in the prevention of endometriosis - because endometriosis is an inflammatory condition, diets high in antioxidants can be beneficial due to their anti-inflammatory properties. High intakes of trans fats are also associated with a greater risk of endometriosis, although artificial trans fats are banned, they are found naturally in meat and dairy products. High meat intakes, both unprocessed and processed are therefore associated with an increased risk of endometriosis. 

Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, are generally used to reduce pain associated with endometriosis, however this is only a short term solution for pain relief. Because of the role of hormones in the development of endometriosis, hormonal suppression therapy is also often prescribed, this involves suppressing oestrogen production and ovarian function. 

In some cases, surgery is needed to remove excess tissue, and in more severe cases, a hysterectomy may be performed - this is when the uterus and cervix, and sometimes ovaries, fallopian tubes and other related structures are surgically removed. This procedure is irreversible, and unfortunately it does not guarantee that endometriosis symptoms don’t return.

Can Supplements Help Manage Endometriosis?

Unfortunately, there aren’t any supplements that can directly manage endometriosis, however there are supplements that can help manage the pain - in human studies, anti-inflammatory supplements like alpha lipoic acid and omega-3 have been found to improve endometriosis-associated pain. Curcumin, omega 3, NAC, vitamin C and ECGC can help decrease lesion size, and other supplements have also been found effective in preventing the recurrence of endometriosis, however more human studies are needed to confirm this.

Studies have also found that low levels of zinc, and vitamins D and E can lead to an increased risk of endometriosis, so it may be worth supplementing these for individuals suffering from endometriosis who don’t get enough of these nutrients through their diet!


Endometriosis is a condition that affects women, where endometrial tissue grows outside of the womb. The condition can lead to a range of symptoms such as pain and infertility, and can reduce a person's quality of life. There is no cure for endometriosis, but it may be managed with diet, medications, surgery, and supplements.

Do you suffer from endometriosis? Share your story with us in the comments below!
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