We normally talk about low testosterone, menopause and low libido as they are to do with testosterone therapy and that’s our business but there’s something else we are specialist in as well: Progesterone deficiency and Estrogen dominance. These conditions affect millions of women worldwide along with low libido and menopause side effects but they are talked about less, unless you are a woman who suffers from them and go online to seek forums and support groups.
There are many disorders associated with Progesterone deficiency and Estrogen dominance but today we are going to focus on Endometriosis as we help a lot of women with this condition. Endometriosis is an endocrine disorder that only women can suffer from. In a nutshell it’s when the lining of the womb grows outside the womb and causes chronic pain, along with many other hormonal and physiological symptoms.
Symptoms of Endometriosis include painful menstruation, bleeding in between menstruation, painful sex, pain and cramping in the lower abdomen, pelvic area and stomach and even infertility. A woman can have Endometriosis for years and not know it though, sometimes symptoms are very mild and are just considered part of a regular menstruation cycle. Other times it is misdiagnosed as other conditions like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) Endometriosis can also affect other areas of menstruation like heavy or irregular periods. This is because the lining of the womb doesn’t break down properly. The womb lining is known medically as the endometrium.
Why does Endometriosis happen and what goes on inside the body when you have Endometriosis? Doctors don’t always know why Endometriosis strikes. It’s thought that when some women menstruate some of the tissue cells split away from the main cells find their way outside the womb and into the pelvic area. This can also happen when the cells flow backwards down the fallopian tubes. The cells in the pelvic area stay around ready for the next round of menstruation. During the menstrual cycle Estrogen causes the Endometrium cells to grow and swell, preparing the womb for pregnancy. When the pregnancy doesn’t happen it all breaks down ready and the next menstruation occurs. During this cycle the cells that have found their way outside the womb also react in the same way, the difference is that they do not have anywhere to go during the next menstruation so they stay where they are. The next cycle brings the same thing and so on. The tissue continues to grow and become Endometriosis. In bad cases of Endometriosis these patches of tissue can be responsible for adhesions and joining organs in the pelvic area together. In other cases they form into cysts which go on to bleed during the monthly menstruation. It can be incredibly painful and can severely affect daily life.
It’s thought that up to half of women suffer from Endometriosis but only a fraction of them have it very seriously. Due to the mild symptoms for many some doctors only put that figure as 1 in 10 women. In our opinion it’s 1 in 10 women who suffer badly and have severe Endometriosis and the other percentage who have fewer and milder symptoms. If the symptoms are mild and the growth outside the womb is minimal it is STILL Endometriosis though! Sometimes Endometriosis is mild and can stay that way for ever more. Other time the endometriosis and get worse and it can spread. Sometimes the Endometriosis can even get better by itself or with minimally invasive treatments.
In severe case surgery may be needed to remove the tissue growth that has formed outside the womb. In many cases, and even after surgery, using hormonal therapies like ProFeme progesterone cream, can help stop the spread and even reduce it. Topical progesterone creams also help to calm symptoms. It does this by countering the effect of the Estrogen levels in your body. Estrogen and Progesterone work together to create hormonal harmony in women of reproductive age. In the most basic terms, Estrogen stimulates tissue and Progesterone calms the effect of it. Here’s more about how progesterone creams work. Other forms of hormonal therapy can also be used and have been found to be effective. These include the combined birth control pills (taken orally, daily) or IUD’s (inserted into the vagina and replaced after 5 years), GnRH analogues and Danazol. All these hormone treatments work in different ways at different parts of the menstrual process but they all help curb Endometriosis and calm the symptoms. Some medications can only be used for 6 months at a time so make sure you take into account all the pro’s and con’s before you decide on a treatment.
Other ways of treating Endometriosis are with conventional and non-conventional painkillers. Conventional painkillers include Paracetamol, Codeine, Paracetamol combined with Codeine or Ibuprofens. Some women find other anti-inflammatories like Naproxen beneficial as well. Depending on what country or county you live in you might also be eligible for medical cannabis.
If you think you might have Endometriosis here are some things to look out for that might increase/decrease your chances of diagnosis:
- Increased risk of diagnosis: If other female members of your family suffer from Endometriosis you have a greater risk of it too. While Endometriosis is not genetic, it does seem to run in families.
- Decreased risk of diagnosis: Endometriosis normally develops anywhere from the late teenage years to the age of 40. It is highly unlikely that women who have been through menopause will get Endometriosis. This is because menstruation has stopped. When this happens your hormone levels change and your womb lining no longer sheds and regrows every month like it does for a women of reproductive age.
- Increased risk of diagnosis: Do you have high Estrogen hormone levels? Estrogen is needed for menstruation and the cycle of womb lining growth. If you have high Estrogen levels then it’s more likely that your symptoms point towards Endometriosis. If you have Estrogen deficiency you have little chance of developing Endometriosis. For example, after menopause, a woman has very little Estrogen and Endometriosis cannot start to develop.
- Decreased risk of diagnosis: If you are taking the pill for birth control and are using a combined pill, one that contains and Estrogen and Progesterone elements, Endometriosis is unlikely to develop. This is because Endometriosis stems from hormonal issues and the contraceptive pill helps protect against these hormone imbalances while it controls the risk of pregnancy and regular menstruation. Even when you stop taking the pill it can take between 6-12 months for the protective effect to wear off.
You can do an online self-assessment test too however, the only way to be 100% sure that you have Endometriosis is via a laparoscopy. So, go and visit your doctor, get some blood tests done to make sure nothing else is going on and then book in for a laparoscopy.