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Endometriosis is a gynaecological condition that can seriously affect people's quality of life.


Endometriosis is becoming more common, yet diagnosing it is still problematic.

Understanding Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a chronic, benign, oestrogen-dependent gynaecological condition characterised by displacement of endometrial tissues (that normally lines the inner body of the uterus) to ectopic locations (meaning outside the usual place) in this case outside the uterine cavity (1,3).  These endometrial tissues fix themselves and develop in the ectopic locations, accompanied by chronic inflammation (2).

The main features of the condition which accompany displaced endometrial tissue seem to be chronic inflammation, immune system imbalances, and relative oestrogen excess (a relatively higher level of exposure to oestrogen compared to other women and in relation to progesterone levels) (3,4).

Endometriosis is estimated to affect 10 – 15% of menstruating women (5), and 70% of women with chronic pelvic pain (6) a common symptom. Delays in diagnosing endometriosis are common, in the UK the average time to diagnosis is 7.5 years (7).  Although preliminary diagnosis is done based on clinical history (2), the ‘gold standard’ for sure diagnosis is by surgical laparoscopy (which is looking inside the pelvic cavity with a camera) (8). Delays in diagnosis are perhaps at least partly because this invasive surgical method is not practical in all cases and is usually only resorted to after a series of other investigations have been carried out such as pelvic examination, blood tests, urinalysis, and ultrasound scan, none of which typically give a conclusive diagnosis of endometriosis but can be important in ruling out other conditions which present with similar symptoms (2).

Although a much-overlooked health condition perhaps due to its ‘invisible’ nature, endometriosis is becoming more well-known and better researched, especially as diagnosed cases have risen significantly in recent years (9).

Despite the increase in research though, endometriosis remains a somewhat complex condition which is difficult to diagnose and treat.  However, there are some dietary and lifestyle factors associated with the risks of developing endometriosis, and whilst these do not usually occur in isolation it does show promise for those who might be at risk, to be able to take preventative measures through appropriately changing those of the habits which are implicated and beneficial for overall health.

Many herbs are suitable for self-care. However if a health condition does not resolve with home remedies we recommend using the information in Herbal Reality along with your health advisors, especially herbal practitioners from the professional associations listed in our Resources page (‘If you want to find a herbalist”). When buying any herbal products, you should choose responsible manufacturers with independently assured quality standards and sustainability practices. Check the label carefully for the appropriate safety and sustainability information.

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