Here is how herbal remedies can assist with endometriosis

Endometriosis pain
Endometriosis pain

Sometimes, my job involves normalising conversation topics that are often considered taboo or impolite.

Sometimes, my job involves normalising conversation topics that are often considered taboo or impolite.

I regularly see people cringe or blush when I ask them about their toilet habits, period or reproductive health.

Why are some parts of our biology so difficult to talk about? While I respect everyone’s right to privacy, when things start to go wrong, avoiding talking about these things leads to delayed diagnosis and treatment.

Menstruation is spoken about more openly than in bygone years.

It’s no longer cause for shame and secrecy, leading to much healthier and open conversations.

Endometriosis is a condition characterised by intense period pain and heavy menstrual bleeds. If you or someone you know suffers with these symptoms, your doctor can offer tests to look for this.

Endometrial tissue, the tissue that lines the womb, can grow in areas that it is not supposed to grow.

This could be on the Fallopian tubes, the ovaries or other areas in the pelvis.

Every month, this tissue thickens and bleeds, along with the normal lining of the womb. This can be incredibly painful as well as causing bowel upset, heavy bleeding and nausea.

It can leave women bedridden and unable to function in their daily life during the time of their menstrual bleed.

Standard pain killers can help, but when I speak to women suffering with this type of pain, they often exceed the maximum recommended dose of ibuprofen and paracetamol, to levels that make me seriously concerned about their health.

Yet with children, careers and lives to live, sometimes it’s the only way to get by.

Pain killers and contraceptives are the two main ways that your doctor will suggest you manage endometriosis.

If this doesn’t work, you may be offered surgery to remove the offending tissues or the organs they are attached to. Due to the risks of surgery, you or your doctor may not be comfortable with this line of treatment.

Luckily, herbal medicine is incredibly effective at managing pain and heavy periods, including cases of endometriosis. Pain is caused by the contraction of the uterus muscles and by the hormones that cause this.

The hormones create inflammation and the contractions cause cramp, providing dual sources of pain.

Years ago, during my training, I did a case study on one of our endometriosis patients.

Every month, during her period, she felt unwell with flu like symptoms accompanying her pain.

Researching this phenomenon, I discovered that people with endometriosis have been shown to have much higher inflammatory markers in the blood that circulates through their whole body. So her body was undergoing an immune response, despite the fact that there was no infection present.

My most recent patient was using up to 16 ibuprofen and 10 paracetamol per day for the first few days of her 11 day period.

That’s almost two weeks of pain and bleeding, despite using far more pain medication than she should be, she still didn’t feel like these days were manageable. I echoed her concern about what effect this medication was having on her liver, as well as worrying about her iron levels due to such frequent blood loss.

In both of these women, I used the anti-inflammatory herbs calendula and feverfew. These reduce the levels of the hormones that cause contraction and inflammation, to bring down feverish symptoms, pain and the heavy blood loss. Both ladies saw significant improvements in less than two months. The lady with the feverish symptoms found that she no longer had to schedule time away from work each month and she stopped using pain killers entirely. My most recent patient managed to reduce her cycle from 11 days to a much more manageable five and her pain medication went from up to 26 tablets a day to six per day. In addition, she only needed to take these on the first day of her bleed, rather than for the first four. Her liver will already be thanking her.

So if you or someone you know is struggling to manage symptoms like these, don’t suffer in silence. Talk to someone about other options for making your period more manageable.

For more information on managing endometriosis or period problems with herbal medicine, contact Nicola on 01524 413733.