Self-Management in Endometriosis – An Australian Study
Endometriosis typically follows a chronic or recurrent course, characterized by the growth of cells and tissue resembling the endometrium outside the uterus, including locations such as the pelvic wall, peritoneum, ovaries, and other organs.
The primary treatment involves surgical removal (excision) of these growths. Hormonal therapy is also an option, although it mainly alleviates symptoms and may come with distressing side effects.
Self-management strategies have proven beneficial.
Recent years have witnessed a growing body of scientific evidence highlighting the significance of ‘lifestyle changes’ – that is, measures that can be seamlessly integrated into daily routines—in significantly alleviating symptoms.
In an Australian study involving 484 women with surgically confirmed endometriosis, 76% of respondents reported the adoption of these strategies
What strategies do Australian women with endometriosis use?
Many Australian women with endometriosis employ various strategies in their daily lives to manage pain. The following measures were most frequently mentioned and reported:
- Warmth (70%)
- Rest (68%)
- Meditation/breathing exercises (47%)
- Dietary changes (44%)
- Exercise (42%)
- Stretching exercises (40 %)
- Yoga/Pilates (35%)
- Massage (32 %)
- Herbs (16 %)
- Alcohol (14 %)
- Acupressure (8 %)
- Cold (5 %)
- Hemp oil/CBD oil (3 %)
Effective Strategies for Managing Endometriosis Symptoms
In the surveys, participants reported that all of these measures reduced pain, whether in the short or long term.
Improvement was assessed on a scale ranging from 0 (no improvement) to 10 (complete relief).
Den größten Effekt auf Schmerzen und Schmerzmedikation hatten
- Healthy diet (not differentiated by type, such as FODMAP, gluten-free, vegan, etc.)
- CBD oil
- Relaxation techniques and acupressure
Slightly less effective but still having a pain-relieving effect were:
It is worth noting that some participants also found relief from pain through alcohol consumption. However, it is essential to discourage the use of alcohol for pain management due to its high health risks and the potential for undesirable side effects.
Reasons Why No Action Was Taken
24% of the women reported not implementing any self-management measures in their daily lives. The cited reasons included a lack of information, time constraints, and difficulties accessing such measures. Among this group, a quarter of the women who had not taken any measures had attempted to do so in the past without achieving success.
Self-management of endometriosis cannot cure the condition but can significantly alleviate pain. In an Australian study involving 484 participants, various self-management strategies, including heat, dietary changes, yoga, meditation, and more, proved effective in reducing pain, and, consequently, lessening the need for pain medication.
The critical takeaway is to identify the most suitable strategies for your needs and take the initial steps to manage your condition.
- Pain and Pain Management – Interview with Rehab Psychologist Teresa - 19. November 2023
- Physiotherapy for Endometriosis – Interview with Annika Cost – with Exercises - 19. November 2023
- Nutritional Counseling for Endometriosis: An Interview with Nicole Heinze - 19. November 2023