Can Endometriosis Affect Your Sex Life?
There is a significant connection between endometriosis and sexual health. Here we will examine the symptoms of endometriosis, its impact upon both the sexual health and sex lives of stricken individuals and medical and natural methods that can help soothe the discomfort associated with this common concern.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a health concern that affects women, and is caused by an abnormal growth of the uterus lining. With endometriosis, uterine tissue may present itself immediately outside the uterus or in other areas of the reproductive tract such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries and surrounding areas like the bowel region.
What Are the Symptoms of Endometriosis?
Manifestations may vary depending upon where abnormal tissue is growing within the reproductive tract. In certain instances, some affected women experience no symptoms. That said, the malady often produces several signs that might indicate its presence including pain in the pelvic region (between the abdomen and thighs), discomfort when urinating or defecating, blood in the urine, back pain, irregular menstrual cycles, fatigue, the development of cysts in the reproductive system, scarring of reproductive tissue and fertility problems. In more severe instances, significant internal bleeding might occur. Typically, this manifestation will necessitate emergency medical intervention.
How is Endometriosis Diagnosed?
If a doctor suspects endometriosis, he or she will perform a thorough physical examination and might order any one or a combination of diagnostic tests like a pelvic investigation, ultrasound of the reproductive tract or, if none of those tests prove conclusive, laparoscopy, an exploratory procedure in which a surgeon actually examines the reproductive tissue.
Endometriosis and Sexual Health
Aside from the associated physical manifestations and infertility risks, endometriosis may also precipitate several sexually-related issues, most notably painful intercourse. For some women, the condition can become so painful, they might avoid intercourse altogether. Further complicating the situation is the embarrassment many stricken women experience. Uneasiness about discussing the condition with their partners can lead to confusion and conflict in their relationships adding emotional stress to the already existing physical pain.
Endometriosis Treatment Options
Though endometriosis has no known cure, there are many medical and natural methods women can employ to try and, at the very least, alleviate the bothersome, painful and sometimes life-altering manifestations associated with the ailment. Therapeutic efforts may also focus on both treating the condition and helping women cope with the sexual issues in an effort to regain a productive and enjoyable sexual experience.
Medical Treatment Options
Medical therapeutic protocols are often employed in accordance with the severity of the condition and the age and general health of the patient, in addition to her desire to conceive children in the present and future. One common form of treatment is the administration of hormone therapy. For unknown reasons, estrogen, the chief female reproductive and sexual hormone, is believed to stimulate the occurrence and severity of endometriosis. Therefore, treatment is often geared towards curtailing an impacted individual's bodily production of this hormone. Specific drugs often used for this purpose are birth control pills and preparation containing progesterone, another key female hormone thought to balance estrogen levels.
In instances where an affected woman sustained significant scarring or heavy internal bleeding, surgical intervention might prove the most beneficial form of medical treatment. That said, this type of surgery is especially delicate and medical professionals recommend those women considering undergoing such a procedure should have it performed by a surgeon with experience executing endometriosis operations.
Natural Treatments for Endometriosis
Some health experts opine endometriosis is caused by hormonal imbalances. Others believe the condition may be precipitated by environmental toxins and allergens. However, many are in agreement that the condition can be improved upon or potentially prevented by practicing better dietary habits. Foods such as organic products free of pesticides, vegetables, fish and essential oils may help alleviate the manifestations of the disease, while consuming processed edibles, non-organic dairy products, a high sugar intake, caffeine and alcohol might elicit or exacerbate endometriosis.
Repeated instances of stress are thought to increase bodily concentrations of cortisol, one of the noted "stress hormones." Scientists believe that continual elevated levels of cortisol may precipitate the hormonal imbalances that could lead to the development of endometriosis.
Alleviating Pain During Sex
Women stricken with endometriosis may employ certain suggestions designed to help them overcome or cope with the sexual pain that might be precipitated by endometriosis. Tips include limiting one's participation in penetrative sexual actions and partake in activities such as oral sex, using sexual toys, practicing massage techniques and increasing foreplay.
That said, it is difficult, if not impossible to avoid penetrative sexual intercourse. A woman afflicted with endometriosis might be able to avoid or ease the associated discomfort by observing slower and gentler penetration techniques, only engaging in penetrative sex during the two-week period following a menstrual cycle, using lubrication to enhance and hasten the penetration process or taking pain killing medications prior to penetrative sex.