She could be your boss or your work wife. Your mother, sister or daughter. She might be you.
The disease, which involves tissue similar to tissues found in the uterine lining growing in places it shouldn’t, feels different for every woman.
You might experience heavy and irregular bleeding or periods that never go away. You could feel pain in your pelvis and lower back, during sex, after sex, going to the bathroom, during your period. Or pain all the time, so excruciating you can’t move. You might feel tired or bloated, or be struggling to conceive. Or, you mightn’t have any symptoms at all.
But the one thing connecting every woman living with endo is we haven’t found a cure for you, yet. All you can do is manage the disease and get on with living your life the best you can.
Here’s a quick snapshot of what endo looks like. Post continues after video.
Having worked as a Dietitian with endometriosis clients for many years, I’ve personally seen the improvements nutrition has made to their lives.
The role of nutrition in endometriosis is a relatively new concept, but when we consider that the way we eat has a broad influence on all functions of the human body it is easy to see how nutrition may help alleviate symptoms in those who suffer endometriosis.
So how do nutrition and endo relate?
How does gut health affect Endometriosis?
Endometriosis often coincides with bowel irregularity either constipation, diarrhoea or both, as well as bloating and gastrointestinal pain.
Managing this gut dysfunction helps improve symptoms and the quality of life in those with endometriosis.
Because many women with endometriosis also fit the criteria for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, improvements in symptoms often occur with the implementation of a low FODMAP diet, or simply manipulating their fibre intake, whether that be increasing fibre, decreasing fibre, or modifying the types of fibre in the diet.
Studies have shown differences in the gut microbiome (bacteria found in the large intestine) in those with endometriosis compared to those without which raises questions as to the role our gut may play in the development of endometriosis.
Our gut microbiota may also influence the regulation of oestrogen cycling. Dysbiosis, a bacterial imbalance of bacteria in the bowel, can increase circulating levels of oestrogen which may stimulate the growth of endometriotic lesions.
As a dietitian specialising in gut health, I am very interested in the role our gut microbiome may have in the development, treatment and progression of any disease but in particular diseases that tend to also coincide with gut symptoms, like endometriosis.
Not only is our gut responsible for digestion and excretion of waste, our gut is a major regulator of the inflammatory processes in our body, even processes outside the gastrointestinal tract.
Lena Dunham spoke about her endometriosis and the effects it has on her ability to carry children. But why aren’t we speaking about it more often? Post continues after audio.