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Endometriosis Related to Stress? - Expert decodes the link

A lot of factors contribute to endometriosis, and stress could be one of those factors. Read on to know how chronic stress can lead to endometriosis in women.

A lot of factors contribute to endometriosis, and stress could be one of those factors. Read on to know how chronic stress can lead to endometriosis in women.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : February 17, 2021 5:31 PM IST

Endometriosis is a common gynaecological condition that affects a lot of women across the globe. It is a disorder in which the tissue similar to the tissue that forms the lining of your uterus (endometrium) grows outside of your uterine cavity. It occurs when endometrial cells grow on your ovaries, bowel and tissues lining your pelvis. These cells are controlled by female hormones. Although it's unusual for endometrial tissue to spread beyond your pelvic region, it is not impossible. Endometrial tissue growing outside of your uterus is known as an endometrial implant.

Symptoms Of Endometriosis

Signs and symptoms of endometriosis may vary. While some people experience mild symptoms, others may have moderate to severe symptoms. Dr Madhushree Vijayakumar, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Bangalore, says that the severity of the pain doesn't indicate the degree or stage of the condition. "Some people may have a mild form of the disease yet experience agonizing pain. It is also possible to have severe form but experience very little discomfort."

Some of the most common symptoms of the condition include:

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  • pelvic pain
  • painful periods
  • pain in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation
  • cramps one or two weeks around menstruation
  • heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
  • infertility
  • pain following sexual intercourse
  • discomfort with bowel movements
  • lower back pain that may occur at any time during your menstrual cycle

Risk Factors Of Endometriosis

When a woman suffers from endometriosis, there is bleeding inside her ovaries or around the uterus, every time a woman has her period. It is often referred to as a "missed disease" because it often goes unnoticed, under-diagnosed, under-reported and under-researched. While the causes of this chronic disease are still unknown, there are many studies that suggest that factors like stress has to do a lot in the onset of endometriosis.

Other risk factors of the disease include:

  • Your menstrual period starting early
  • An abnormality in the uterus that blocks the menstrual flow
  • Your mother or sister suffers from the disease
  • Your periods are more frequent than normal, or you bleed for a long time
  • You have not been able to get pregnant

To know the exact cause of your condition, you need to consult your gynaecologist.

How Your Stress Levels Lead To Endometriosis?

Studies suggest that lifestyle choices contribute a lot to the onset of endometriosis. One of the major factors contributing to the problem is stress. It is believed that women suffering from stress are more likely to suffer from endometriosis. Dr Vijayakumar says that endometriosis is a condition associated with high levels of chronic stress. "The stress intensity correlates with pain severity and disease extension. However, there is limited research on whether chronic stress is a primary cause of endometriosis, and if avoiding or treating it could reduce the risk of developing endometriosis."

Some theories suggest that when you feel stressed, it produces a hormone called cortisol, which can damage your immune system and disrupt its functioning. Producing too much cortisol can also make you more susceptible when you are stressed out. It also elevates inflammation in your body, and it also plays a huge role in endometriosis. More inflammation can ultimately mean more pain.

Is There To Manage Endometriosis Through Stress Control?

The expert suggests that one of the best ways to lower endometriosis pain is lowering your stress levels. But managing your condition by reducing your stress level is easier than done as these are mutually dependent conditions that can cause stress and stress can lead to this problem. The expert explains, "endometriosis can stress when it comes to employment, relationships, fertility, and more. Sometimes people also have an anxiety disorder and PTSD and having a mental illness can carry a constant level of stress in the body."

Studies have found that, rather than trying to avoid stress altogether, it's worthwhile to develop tools for dealing with stress when it comes up. Meditation, journaling, and seeking the support of friends and family are some of the things that might help.

Medical Treatment For Endometriosis

Here are some medical treatments available for endometriosis that you need to try:

Pain Medication

Over-the-counter pain relievers may include aspirin and acetaminophen, as well as prostaglandin inhibitors such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, indomethacin, and tolfenamic acid. In some cases, prescription drugs may be required.

Pain Relief

The expert recommends ProSirona that targets pain induced by endometriosis and fibromyalgia. It is an alternate pain-relief drug that contains essential oils, combined with a technologically advanced way to make them optimally effective.

Hormone Therapy

The aim of hormonal treatment is to put an end to ovulation for as long as possible, including oral contraceptives, progesterone drugs, testosterone derivative (danazol), and GnRH agonists. It may have some side effects, which could be a problem for some women.


Conservative surgery seeks to destroy the growth, relieve pain and even increase your chances of getting pregnant. This type of surgery can involve laparoscopy (outpatient surgery in which the surgeon can view the inside of the abdomen through a tiny lighted tube that is inserted through one or more tiny abdominal incisions; also referred to as "belly-button" surgery or laparotomy. Radical surgery, which may be necessary in severe cases involves the removal of all growths and ovaries, also known as hysterectomy.

What Should You Keep In Mind?

Endometriosis has impacted the lives of women for centuries. It is without question the disease remains, even now, a chronic, costly illness requiring long-term, multidisciplinary treatments. Endometriosis, a complex disorder that may go undiagnosed for years, with no absolute cure and reproductive health concern with highly negative and far-reaching effects.

Studies should focus on better clarifying stress-induced pain mechanisms as well as how to pave the way towards relaxation of stress in general life. Impaired quality of life of the affected contributes to the urgent need for continued research and improvement in diagnostic and treatment modalities. Though prevention remains elusive, increasingly research efforts will lead to more timely intervention and appropriate, multifactorial treatments to restore the quality of life, preserve or improve fertility, and lead to the long-term effective management of this mysterious disease.

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