What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition affecting people with female sexual organs, where tissue from the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. It can affect people of any age and can have far-reaching health effects that last throughout the lifetime.

It is notoriously hard to diagnose, so many medical professionals and those suffering from the disease are trying to raise awareness about the condition. It’s estimated to affect one in ten women in the UK.


What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

One reason why endometriosis is so hard to diagnose is that the symptoms can vary widely from person to person. There are also many symptoms that are shared with other conditions, meaning that doctors often look into other conditions before endometriosis.

That being said, there are some key symptoms to look out for. They include:

  • Pain in the lower stomach or back, also known as pelvic pain (this will often become worse during periods)
  • Period pain that stops the person from completing everyday activities
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Pain when urinating or defecating, most often during periods
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Experiencing constipation, diarrhoea, or blood in your urine during periods
  • Fertility issues

Living with endometriosis often means living with chronic pain, as these symptoms can persist indefinitely. Many people with endometriosis can only hope to manage their symptoms.


What causes endometriosis?

There is no definitive answer on what causes endometriosis. Nonetheless, experts have made several educated guesses. These include:

  • Retrograde menstruation
  • Genetically inherited
  • Lymphatic or circulatory spread
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Environmental causes, such as being exposed to certain toxins
  • Metaplasia, a response to inflammation that causes cells to morph into another cell

All of these potential causes are simply working theories for the moment; more research is underway to find a clear cause for endometriosis. The NHS maintains that it is likely to be caused by a combination of factors.


What treatment options are available for endometriosis?

There’s currently no cure for endometriosis, so many of the treatment options are focused on managing the symptoms and improving the quality of life. Some treatment options include:

  • Over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol
  • Hormone medicines, such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues
  • Contraceptives, such as the combined pill, the contraceptive patch, an intrauterine system (IUS)
  • Surgery to cut away patches of endometriosis tissue in particularly affected areas
  • An operation to remove part or all of the organs affected by endometriosis – such as surgery to remove the womb (hysterectomy)

Doctors will analyse a patient’s symptoms and needs, and will advise them on the best treatment for their situation. For example, the surgery that cuts away patches of endometriosis tissue can help people with fertility issues, making it more likely that they can get pregnant. On the other hand, a hysterectomy will leave a person infertile. All of these factors and more are taken into consideration when choosing treatment options.


How can medical cannabis help with endometriosis?

Medical cannabis is often prescribed to help patients suffering from chronic pain, as those living with endometriosis do. What’s doubly interesting about the relationship between medical cannabis and endometriosis, however, is that medical cannabis has been known to actually inhibit the development of endometrial cysts.

These cysts can develop as an unpleasant knock-on effect of endometriosis. The fact that THC, a component of medical cannabis, has been known to hinder their growth, is a positive sign that medical cannabis can be beneficial to those living with the condition. Not only that, but medical cannabis has been proven to help manage pain symptoms and bring comfort back to the lives of people living with chronic pain.

For some, medical cannabis can provide welcome relief to people suffering from endometriosis, alongside traditional forms of treatment. Your medical cannabis prescription can be tailored to suit your individual circumstances and needs, with ongoing support and adjustments made as necessary.

At The Medical Cannabis Clinics, we offer personalised treatment plans and private, confidential care for our patients. Our expert specialist doctors will guide you through treatment options via online video link consultations.

Appointments start from only £70. Book a private consultation today and one of our expert specialist doctors will be able to walk you through your potential treatment options.

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