Hi everyone, Connie Jeon here.
As a women’s health specialist, I see a diverse range of issues, from simple urinary incontinence to severe endometriosis or PCOS.
Within the last week, I’ve seen three patients, two of which couldn’t conceive because of endometriosis and one that is experiencing so much fatigue she can’t finish school.
The interesting thing is that these women also had a host of other issues. Issues like Hashimotos, hypothyroid, hormonal imbalance, digestive problems, AND fatigue.
For those of you who don’t know, Hashimoto disease is an autoimmune condition which attacks your thyroid.
So going back to what sparked my curiosity time and time again in my 19 years of clinical experience, I find that the conventional medical system really misses the mark when a patient has a slew of symptoms that overlap multiple diseases.
So today, I want to go more in depth about endometriosis: what is Endometriosis disease, its symptoms, causes, and treatment.
Then I want to provide you with my two cents about the condition.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful, chronic disease that affects over 6.3 million women and young girls all over the world.
It’s when the tissue that lines the uterus, known as the endometrium, grows outside the uterus — typically in the abdomen (on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ligaments that support the uterus), the area between the vagina and rectum, the outer surface of the uterus, and the lining of the pelvic cavity.
Other less common sites for these endometrial growths may include the bladder, bowel, vagina, cervix, vulva, and in abdominal surgical scars.
This abnormal growth develops lesions which respond to the menstrual cycle in the same way that the tissue of the uterine lining does; each month the tissue builds up, breaks down, and sheds.
Typically, menstrual blood flows from the uterus out the vagina. However, the blood and tissue from endometrial growths have no way of leaving the body.
This ultimately leads to systemic inflammation, causing pain, infertility, scar tissue formation, adhesions, and bowel problems.
What are the Symptoms of Endometriosis?
- Pain before and during periods
- Pain with sex
- Painful urination during periods
- Painful bowel movements during periods
- Gut issues, such as bloating, cramping, constipation, and diarrhea
And many other slew of symptoms, such as:
- Chemical sensitivities
- Frequent yeast infections
- Autoimmune symptoms
- Celiac disease
A discouraging fact is that diagnosis of endometriosis is considered uncertain until proven by laparoscopy, which is a minor surgical procedure done under anesthesia.
A laparoscopy can identify the location, size, and extent of the growths. This helps the doctor and patient make better treatment choices.
But according to a 2016 article written by Obstetrics and Gynecology, it was found that “fewer than 25% of women undergoing laparoscopic or abdominal hysterectomy for chronic pelvic pain have endometriosis at the time of surgery.”
Essentially, 3,768 women with chronic pelvic pain were offered a hysterectomy to treat their pelvic pain because it was believed they might have endometriosis. Out of those 3,768 women, about 2,826 of them got a hysterectomy and did not end up having endometriosis.
Another problem I see is that because the underlying inflammation is never addressed appropriately, patients with endometriosis develop more adhesions after such laparoscopic surgeries. This is where I meet my patients.
It’s really sad when I see a teenager who can’t eat, but gains weight, has severe pain, is depressed and so fatigued, and is talking about removing her ovaries. All before she’s 21!
What Causes Endometriosis?
Yet, it is easy to understand what is Endometriosis disease. But, Like Lupus and various autoimmune conditions, the cause of endometriosis is still unknown.
But there is the Retrograde Menstruation Theory (aka Transtubal Migration Theory), which suggests that during menstruation some of the menstrual tissue backs up through the fallopian tubes, implants in the abdomen, and grows.
Some experts believe that all women experience some menstrual tissue backup, and that an immune system problem or hormonal problem allows this tissue to grow in the women who develop endometriosis.
There are other “theories” about the migrations of uterine tissue via the lymph tissue and “theories” about genetic predisposition.
But this still doesn’t answer the question.
In fact, limited research is done on measuring inflammatory biomarkers and/or assessing patient’s lifestyle habits in order to deduce some logical answers to the problem.
The patients that I see are ones that have had multiple surgeries, are on a host of meds to control pain, have depression, and constipation. They have very little hope even after multiple surgeries.
My experience and research indicates that our systems, such as endocrine (responsible for hormone synthesis), digestive, neuromusculoskeletal, cardiometabolic, and immune systems become disruptive with toxic overload.
Because we live in a toxic world, the chronic burden of eating junk foods (those infested with chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones), breathing toxic air (pollutants from exhaust), and experiencing stress from our occupation (being constantly connected to our various devices, which take up our mental space) collectively perpetuate inflammation and disease process.
Endometriosis is only one of many conditions that are on the rise today. I want to let you know that all disease process is reversible with a common sense approach to health and wellness. But it does require YOUR effort.
As someone who’s lived with a chronic medical condition, I can tell you that you CAN build resilience and create health from disease.
And endometriosis does not have to take over your life!
It saddens me to see many older patients who had given up their ovaries to the condition, and as a result had given up their chance at creating life. That to me is a huge consequence.
I too was told against having kids due to the risk. I took my chance and did it not once, but twice….successfully.
This is where I really get fired up about taking an active stance on your health.
For me at the end of the day, I’ve had to take an active role in keeping my inflammation down by continuing to put forth the effort to do the following:
- Eat nourishing foods to build up your gut health and decrease systemic inflammation because “Food is Medicine”.
- Build resilience to stress by actively checking in to your body and tuning in. This is simple: just breathe and close your eyes. Allow your heart rate to stabilize and use imagery to help shift your autonomic system to a state of calmness.
- Move your body to enhance detox and build strength and stability to create a healthy environment for your cells to thrive in. It’s also anti-inflammatory.
Those of you who follow my blogs know that I feel very strongly that inflammation is the root cause to all disease.
So to me, it’s quite simple. Every disease process starts with inflammation. The answer lies in helping your body establish an anti-inflammatory environment.
I’ve done so in my life and I am living proof that your efforts do pay off.
I encourage you to take an active role in creating your health so that you can age successfully.
Thanks so much again for joining me.
As always, please like, share, and subscribe to my social media channels and I will see you next time.