Endometriosis and Stress

endometriosis pain

What exactly is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a pelvic inflammatory disease with endometrial tissue growths outside of the womb, affecting women in their reproductive years. Symptoms are pelvic pain and infertility.

Does stress affect endometriosis?

According to research it does. Studies made in both 2011 and again in 2018 showed that the test subjects who were put through stressful situations had bigger lesions and the level of damage was more severe.

Granted, we all experience stress and usually have very few side effects from it. But this isn’t the case with those suffering from endometriosis. So, the question is, why does stress affect endometriosis? Simply put, when a body is under stress, cortisol is produced which in turn hurts the immune system. That’s why you may seem to catch a cold or the flu when you are stressed. Your immune system doesn’t function optimally when under stress. And to make matters worse, it’s been shown that stress also increases the amount of inflammation and inflammation is a big part of endometriosis.

It’s a known fact that stress affects the physical and mental health of a person. Factor in that nearly half the women diagnosed with endometriosis experience depression and/or anxiety, and it’s easy to see how widespread this problem is. Stress and pain are cyclical – each cause and affects the other.

Stress management can be a strong tool in managing endometriosis. It won’t cure it, but it will help keep the level of pain and discomfort from increasing. And the number of flare ups will decrease. You can teach yourself how to cope with stress and return to a relaxed state of mind. There are many ways to manage stress, including:

Meditation – manages feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress

Exercise – helps reduce inflammation

Yoga – boosts strength, flexibility and induces relaxation

Therapy – keep a journal of flare ups including any triggers

My goal as a physician is to help women live their best life. Women with endometriosis may find it hard to imagine a “best life.” Each flare up reminds them of their disease. I can help reduce the flare ups by working with you on a regimen to reduce stress. It truly does help alleviate a lot of the pain. Don’t suffer any longer.

This information is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.  Should you have any questions or would like to discuss endometriosis, please contact the staff at Parveen S. Vahora, MD.  We are here to help.