Almost half of the women worldwide experience the conditions of endometriosis and a lot of them experience it as soon as early puberty. Even considering that this condition is common, most who experience the pain do not seek medical attention or look for treatment.
For the most part, this is not due to patients not wanting treatment, but to a lack of treatment options in general. Because of the manner in which this condition develops and the early signs that manifest as endometriosis, women who experience its effects look to common and temporary relief for the pain, rather than seeking more effective and lasting treatment.
Dr. Machairiotis emphasizes the urgency for effective treatment by explaining that, “. . . pain is one of the main symptoms of endometriosis and it has a deleterious effect on a patient’s personal and social life. To date, the clinical management of pain includes prolonged medication use and, in some cases, surgery, both of which are disruptive events for patients. Hence, there is an urgency for the development of a sufficient non-invasive medical treatment” (2021).
Relief from the pains of chronic endometriosis, although elusive, exists and can significantly improve the lives of women who understand and seek it out. Knowing and understanding what your body is going through is the first step to seeking effective and lasting treatment– a next-generation treatment that can be found through Neuragenex.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis develops within women and can best be explained as tissue that should remain inside the uterus growing outside the uterus instead. As Dr. Teresa Gruber and Sylvia Mechsner explain, endometriosis (EM) “. . . is defined by endometrial tissue-like lesions that occur outside the uterine cavity. Primarily, the disease is described as ectopic lesions on the peritoneum of the internal genital organs (endometriosis genitalis externa)” (2021).
Specific causes are debated among the medical community, but it is generally assumed that endometriosis is caused by cell differentiation when a female reaches puberty. This cell differentiation causes the lining of the uterus to be developed on the outside.
During each menstrual cycle, the body is designed to break down this tissue and be released but because the tissue has been developed on the outside of the uterus, it has nowhere to go.
Since it is unable to leave the body, the abnormal endometrial growth builds up, swells, and thickens with each menstrual cycle. This leads to severe complications such as widespread inflammation, cysts, scarring, and adhesions that bind reproductive organs together and prevent them from working properly. Ultimately, women with endometriosis are at greater risk of infertility, difficult bowel movements, pain during sex, and painful periods.
Although a definitive cure for endometriosis remains elusive, there is a lot that patients can do to relieve their symptoms and restore their reproductive health. Below, we’ll explore what research says and how Neurofunctional Pain Management for endometriosis represents a valid, non-invasive, and non-pharmaceutical alternative to surgery or medication.
What The Research Says About Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a widespread condition that affects millions of women worldwide. And yet, despite how common this disorder is, 90% of people with endometriosis report being disbelieved or dismissed by doctors and loved ones. The existing stigma surrounding this condition – coupled with the fact that its symptoms are not immediately outwardly visible – has delayed the search for a definitive cure.
Nonetheless, recent research is providing valuable insights into the causes, risk factors, and treatment options for endometriosis. Let’s look at this research in more detail below.
How A Patient’s Diet Is Connected To Endometriosis Pain
Dr. Mary Salliss and her associates summarize the experience of endometriosis as, “. . . a chronic, burdensome condition that is historically understudied” (2021). As far as the pathogenesis (or development) of endometriosis is concerned, the physicians continue to explain that the condition is “. . . influenced by estrogen metabolism and inflammation, which are modulated by several factors including the microbiome and the estrobolome (the collection of genes encoding estrogen-metabolizing enzymes in the gut microbiome). Therefore, there is increasing interest in understanding the role of microbiota in endometriosis etiology.”
To break this down, it should be understood that these doctors are specifically concentrating on the patient’s diet (microbiome) and how it can contribute to the increased/decreased pain (etiology) that patients experience.
Also, note that chronic inflammation makes an appearance in this chronic pain condition. Chronic systemic inflammation is a common characteristic of pain conditions and chronic pain in general.
The doctors continue to suggest that, “[t]here is evidence that a dysbiotic [imbalanced] gut or genital microbiota is associated with multiple gynecologic conditions, with mounting data supporting an association between the microbiome and endometriosis and infertility. These microbiomes likely play a role in the gut-brain axis [pathway for communication between the gut and brain], which further supports a putative [reported] association with the spectrum of symptoms associated with endometriosis, including infertility . . .”
In short, these physicians argue that a woman’s ability to maintain a healthy diet will greatly lessen the pain caused by endometriosis.
Why Endometriosis Is Hard To Diagnose
As one might imagine, the body would have an adverse reaction to being unable to release tissue that has broken down and is expected to release. This adverse reaction has even worse side effects when the tissue has grown into other organs surrounding the pelvic area and can cause severe complications and pain if not treated. However, most women who experience this pain do not recognize or differentiate it from the pain that is associated with a more common menstrual cycle.
In a study conducted by doctors Milica Markovic and associates determined from a sample of Australian women that “diagnosis is not always straightforward, and women and health professionals alike may have difficulties recognizing period pain as a sign of anomaly, considering it instead as an inevitable part of menstruation” (2008).
Because of the inevitable pain and discomfort associated with menstruation, many thousands of women do not seek diagnosis or treatment for endometriosis, making the condition much more unknown and elusive than other pain conditions.
Endometriosis is typically diagnosed based on the level of pain that a woman experiences during a menstrual cycle. Cramps that are worse than usual or an over-dependence on painkillers may signify that a doctor’s opinion is necessary.
Women suffering from the effects of endometriosis should look for any signs of pain surrounding or involving the pelvic region, and this includes pain during intercourse, urination, and tension or severe cramping in the abdomen.
Unfortunately, many women seek temporary solutions to the debilitating pain that do not ultimately have lasting effects, probably because they are unaware that they may even have endometriosis as a condition.
Because of the lack of knowledge involving lasting treatment, many women settle with and accept the conditions they have and move forward without ever seeking help. However, there may be options that can help.
Available Conventional Treatments For Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a difficult condition to diagnose and treat and, in most cases, patients only obtain a detailed clinical picture when dealing with unexpected infertility. Additionally, endometriosis can manifest itself with a range of symptoms, which are not always correlated to the amount of endometrial growth present outside of the uterus.
In simple terms, some patients can deal with severe lesions, excruciating pain, and inflammation arising from minimal endometrial growth; while others with advanced endometriosis have little to no symptoms.
Depending on the nature of your condition and the extent of it, your healthcare provider may recommend a specific line of treatment to address your symptoms, ease pain, and remove the endometrial implants. Here’s what you need to know about the treatment options traditionally recommended.
Medications that aim to ease the pain deriving from endometriosis are often the first line of treatment recommended for this condition. It is important to note that most pharmaceutical treatments only aim to address the symptoms of endometriosis, but they don’t slow down the growth of endometrial implants outside the uterus. Additionally, each pharmaceutical treatment comes with significant downsides, including gastrointestinal ulcers, headaches, mood swings, and even addiction.
Here are some of the most common medications prescribed for endometriosis:
- NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are affordable and accessible, and can be used to reduce the pain you experience during flare-ups. Although they represent a valid short-term treatment to manage your symptoms, taking NSAIDs chronically can increase your risk of addiction, stroke, heart attack, and stomach ulcers. What’s more, not all patients respond well to these drugs.
- Muscle Relaxants: Muscle relaxants are prescribed to relieve the tension and cramping of the pelvis muscles, which can occur due to inflammation and irritation. Without cramps, patients can experience a decrease in pain, better sleep quality, and less discomfort during bowel movements.
- Antidepressants: Antidepressants reduce pain by increasing the activity of the neurotransmitters in the spinal cord responsible for modulating pain signals. To see results from a pharmaceutical treatment based on antidepressants, you’ll need to take these medications daily for weeks at a time. However, when doing so, be sure to evaluate the side effects of this class of drugs, which include dizziness, sleep disturbances, and mood swings.
- Anticonvulsants: This class of drugs is used to prevent seizures, but it also has an inhibiting effect on the pain signals traveling from overactive nerves to the brain. Anticonvulsants like gabapentin and pregabalin may help in reducing endometriosis pain but, when taken regularly, they lead to nausea, weight gain, drowsiness, and fatigue.
- Hormone Therapy: Endometrial implants that grow outside of the uterus are hormone-dependent, just like the endometrium inside the uterus is. So, each month, during the menstrual cycle luteal phase, the abnormal endometrial growth thickens and expands, worsening the severity of your endometriosis. Hormone therapy like birth control pills and GnRH drugs suppress the hormones involved with the menstrual cycle to prevent further endometrial growth.
- Muscle Injections: Botox (Botulinum Toxin) injections into the pelvis muscles can cause these muscles to relax and prevent painful spasms and cramps. This may help you manage pain and limit distress when passing urine or stool.
Alongside medications, your healthcare provider may recommend non-surgical, conservative treatments that can help you manage pain and discomfort. Although these therapies are not equally efficient for every patient, they can help you improve your overall physical health and mental well-being.
These therapies include
- Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy: Through techniques such as trigger point therapy, pelvic floor exercises (i.e.: Kegel exercise), and deep tissue massage, pelvic floor muscle physical therapy can help you improve the function, strength, and coordination of your pelvic muscles. This can prevent cramps and spasms, and ultimately ease the pain deriving from endometriosis.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Initially developed in the 1960s, CBT can be used to address the psychological distress associated with endometriosis. Through CBT, patients can ease the anxiety derived from their fear of pain and ultimately improve their condition.
- Stress Management: Stress can significantly worsen your endometriosis symptoms. This is because high levels of stress are associated with high inflammation, which worsens the distress and pain you experience from thickening endometrial implants outside of the uterus. Additionally, stress increases fatigue and influences how you experience pain. Stress management techniques like yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can help you manage your condition in your daily life.
- Lifestyle Changes: Some habits such as caffeine intake, alcohol consumption, smoking, and limited physical activity may impact the synthesis of sex hormones. Positive lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, reducing caffeine, and eating a nutritious diet can help you combat pain by decreasing inflammation, boosting blood circulation, and toning your muscles.
Given the side effects associated with this treatment option, surgery for endometriosis is only recommended when the condition is recalcitrant, severe, or not responding to other lines of treatment. Your doctor may also propose surgery as a valid alternative if the pain you are experiencing is life-limiting, disabling, or impacting your ability to work and have a social life.
Known as laparoscopy, surgical interventions for endometriosis aim to remove portions of the endometrial implants that are growing outside of the uterus. This surgery is minimally invasive and may help slow down the progress of endometriosis, but 20% of patients require further treatment to manage their symptoms.
In more severe cases, you may need to undergo a hysterectomy to remove the uterus, cervix, or ovaries to ease pain and regain some of your pelvic function. This surgery is extremely invasive and irreversible, meaning that you’ll be permanently sterile.
Alternative-Medicine Strategies For Managing Endometriosis Pain
Some non-invasive treatment options based on alternative medicine may be used to manage the symptoms of endometriosis without medications or surgery. It is important to note that this approach isn’t always efficient.
Some of the alternative treatments you may consider trying include:
- Gluten-free diets: Studies conducted in 2012 show that following a gluten-free diet for at least 12 months is associated with a significant decrease in endometriosis pain. This is because gluten can influence hormonal activity and increase inflammation. Make sure to consult a specialized dietitian before switching to this nutritional plan.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture may relax tense muscles, ease stress, relieve pain, and trigger the release of the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins. According to a 2023 study, acupuncture can be used to shorten pain duration, relieve dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), and improve overall quality of life.
- TENS: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for endometriosis leverages mild pulses of electrical current that interfere with how pain signals travel to the brain. The pulses also stimulate blood circulation and trigger the production of feel-good hormones like endorphins.
- Botox: Botox injections may be used to support muscle relaxation and ease the painful spasms and cramps often associated with endometriosis. The muscle-relaxing effects of Botox injections can last up to six months.
Home Remedies For Endometriosis Pain
Some home remedies can be used to ease endometriosis pain during flare-ups that can help you temporarily, especially during menstruation or other critical times of the month. The following home remedies may reduce stress, increase blood flow to the area, relax tense muscles, relieve spasms, and reduce inflammation:
- Heat compresses
- Pelvic massages
- Supplements with relaxing or anti-inflammatory properties, such as turmeric and chamomile
- Light exercise
- Taking probiotics and prebiotics to improve gut health
Since some of these remedies may interact with medications or negatively influence your health, make sure to consult an expert before choosing this line of treatment.
Next Generation Neurofunctional Pain Management For Endometriosis
It should be a relief for patients to know that there are not only treatments for endometriosis, but that possible lasting and effective treatments can be found through Neuragenex and the use of Neurofunctional Pain Management treatment protocols.
The way our brains interpret pain is meant to signal to us that something needs to be done. Pain signals have the purpose of driving us to seek treatment or to stop using or agitating the affected area altogether.
With Neurofunctional Pain Management we are able to manage the pain signals that trigger the pain while treating the hydration and nutritional deficiencies of the patient, so pain is lessened over time.
Combined Electroanalgesia And Hydration Therapy
Neuragenex uses high pulse electrical stimulation to relieve chronic pain, combined with specialized hydration therapy to apply health restoration efforts to address the nutritional deficiency and restore health so that the pain relief effect will endure as long as possible. The combination of high-pulse electrical stimulation and specialized hydration therapy is called Neurofunctional Pain Management and is a proprietary treatment protocol offered exclusively by Neuragenex.
High pulse stimulation is the initial step in the process because it requires a high pulse frequency to deliver enough power to stimulate pain neurons in the tissues deep in the body that are causing endometriosis. The high pulse stimulation creates a depolarization effect that relieves pain.
The specialized hydration component is accomplished with nutritional deficiency application to balance the needed vitamins and minerals that are deficient based on blood test results.
Because there is never a one-size-fits-all solution for most pain conditions, Neuragenex performs thorough diagnostics so that the overall treatment is as effective as possible.
Lifestyle Counseling Education Program
In addition to Neurofunctional Pain Management treatment protocols, Neuragenex offers a robust and extensive lifestyle counseling education program that helps patients engage in a healthier lifestyle and ultimately produce the best possible pain relief duration.
Our goal is to educate patients who experience pain, offer treatment for that pain, and celebrate the results as patients return to living a manageable lifestyle.
With these therapies combined, our objective is to create lasting therapeutic applications for relieving pain.
Take The First Step Toward Managing Endometriosis Pain
With Neurofunctional Pain Management treatment protocols, Neuragenex is poised to be one of the only treatment options available for such a difficult pain condition as endometriosis. There are few conventional treatment options for endometriosis, so being able to offer a full treatment program specifically for this condition makes Neuragenex a next-generation pain management program.
Our mission is to relieve pain, restore health, and magnify the quality of life without drugs, surgery, or invasive procedures while maintaining a treatment program that is non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical, non-invasive, and non-chiropractic. Our vision is to be the first thought, first choice, and first step in your journey of chronic pain relief.