Experts are sharing natural methods to manage and relieve symptoms of endometriosis, as a new drug trial is announced in the UK. On 8th March, researchers in England and Scotland received almost £250,000 from the Scottish Government and the charity Wellbeing of Women to determine whether dichloroacetate could be a viable treatment for endometriosis. The drug, if successful, will be the first non-hormonal and non-surgical option for the condition which affects approximately 1.5 million women in the UK. It will also be the first new treatment for endometriosis in over 40 years.
Janet Lindsay, chief executive of Wellbeing of Women, said: “Too many women and girls are suffering from debilitating symptoms, such as chronic pelvic pain, fatigue and even fertility problems, and current hormonal and surgical treatments aren’t suitable for everyone.
“Endometriosis is an extremely under-funded area of women’s health, and with limited options currently available and no cure, advances like this are long overdue.”
Meanwhile, sufferers of endometriosis will continue to manage their symptoms and pain themselves through self-care methods like using heating pads or hot water bottles or taking warm baths with Epsom salts.
Wellness expert Zara Kenyon at Cannaray CBD shares other natural ways sufferers can lessen or reduce the intensity of pain during flare-ups.
Natural alternatives for endometriosis treatment
“Endo is a chronic condition that unfortunately can have a significant impact on the everyday life of those who suffer from it,” said Zara. “Many of the symptoms associated with this condition such as pain and inflammation – let alone the stress and anxiety of having the condition itself – are all common reasons why people turn to CBD as a health supplement to support their endometriosis symptoms.”
A 2021 study showed that 62% had tried a CBD product, and of those participants, more than half (59%) said they helped their pain, while two-thirds said the products allowed them to reduce their other pain medications.
Which type of CBD is best?
Zara explained: “The most effective way to take the product is dropping a little CBD oil into the mouth, under the tongue. You can also add drops of CBD oil to water to drink it through the day as you normally would, to extend the working effects of the product. But, there’s a whole range of options available, from muscle balms that can be rubbed directly into painful areas of the body like the lower back or abdomen, or gummies that can be chewed like a sweet as and when needed.”
Lifestyle impact of endometriosis
The chronic pain that comes with endometriosis can have a major impact on day-to-day life. Endo pain can limit the ability to leave the house and participate in social or work activities, potentially making certain life goals more difficult to achieve, while lethargy can make simple household chores harder, causing feelings of guilt or shame to develop.
In one endometriosis study, the impact on a person’s social life was among the most notable lifestyle worries. Participants reported staying home and missing out on social activities or giving up enjoyable hobbies during flare-ups. They also mentioned distancing themselves from others due to feelings of jealousy or experiencing conflict with others due to symptoms like pain and mood changes, which naturally led to feeling isolated.
Not only that, but many felt that endo negatively impacted their career opportunities, too. Many sufferers will have to take days off work or generally may be less productive due to severe symptoms, while one study revealed that 40% of participants believed that their career growth was directly impacted by endometriosis, citing missing out on bonuses and promotions and losing clients as examples.
This has led to many changing careers, with sufferers choosing less stressful jobs or part-time roles instead. Zara explained: “The fact that endo is an invisible disability makes it all the more difficult to maintain relationships with friends and family, let alone be able to give your everything to your work; no matter how much you want to.
“However, some of the recommendations from the latest research suggest there are a few things to try in order to help with symptoms.”
A 2022 study suggested that physical activity may reduce pain and improve the quality of life in adults living with chronic pain, although the researchers did not find this in all studies. However, in a 2016 study involving 15 women with pain-associated endometriosis, researchers found that practising yoga for 8 weeks helped the women manage their pain.
Diet and nutrition
There are also some foods that may have a positive or negative effect on endometriosis symptoms. Researchers suggest that taking fish oil capsules alongside vitamin B12 may have a positive impact on endometriosis symptoms.
However, consuming alcohol, red meat, and trans fats could cause negative effects. Instead, eating a balanced diet that contains a range of fruits and vegetables may help prevent endometriosis from developing or worsening.