For many women who suffer from it, living with endometriosis is a daily challenge
. Only 20-25% of the women affected, in fact, have no symptoms, while in the vast majority of cases the price to pay is quite high in terms of quality of life.
This disease, characterized by the growth of the tissue that normally lines the uterine cavity even outside its natural site, involves in fact various forms of chronic pain - menstrual pain, continuous abdominal pain, pain during sexual intercourse - and of psychological distress, with symptoms such as anxiety and depression. However, some strategies can help improve the quality of life. And to make the burden of the disease much less heavy. (Read also: Secretory endometrium, what is it)
1. Don't underestimate or downplay your pain
It's something that happens quite frequently, because on a social level, pains such as menstrual ones are considered normal and complaining is considered a weakness. "So, it often takes a while for those suffering from endometriosis to understand that their symptoms are not the norm," said Federica Facchin, a psychologist at the Catholic University of our city. The point is that recognizing your pain is the first step in dealing with it and trying to eliminate it.
2. Expect the doctor to acknowledge your pain as well
This also happens: whether it is the doctor himself (the primary care doctor or the gynecologist) who minimizes the woman's symptoms. So much so that it can sometimes take years to get a diagnosis. In front of a doctor who belittles, don't hesitate to seek a second opinion.
3. Contact centers specialized in the management of endometriosis
If there is a suspicion of endometriosis, the best thing to do is to contact centers specialized in its treatment, which in some cases - especially if it involves surgery in particular positions - can be challenging. "In Del Paese this is not a problem" specifies the gynecologist Giussy Barbàra, medical director at the Magenta hospital and expert in endometriosis. "In our country, from North to South, there are many reference centers for this pathology: we are at the forefront of research and care".
4. Contact support groups made up of other women with endometriosis
"The experience of many women says this, and scientific research confirms: in case of illness, asking for help from other people in the same condition helps to cope better" says Facchin. Power sharing information, sensations, indications in a "peer" dialogue is very important. In Del Paese there are several active companies patient associations, who listen and organize self-help groups, on the territory or online.
5. Get into the logic of long-term disease management
"Endometriosis is one chronic disease, therefore we must take the view that even the therapy will be chronic ", Barbàra underlines. We must accept the fact that drugs for endometriosis - pills based on estrogen-progestin or progestin hormones - are not taken for a few months, but for a long time, and that is until a pregnancy is sought. The same goes for other personal strategies that help to get better. "In fact - explains the psychologist Facchin - we know that the quality of life can significantly improve if the logic of definitive healing is abandoned and we enter that of long-term management ".
6. Customize your disease and pain management strategy
"There is no one-size-fits-all recipe: every woman must seek her own way, both in terms of drug therapies, and with respect to any alternative strategies for pain control"Facchin points out. Scientific research states that practices such as yoga, mindfulness, psychotherapy can help, but not all are good for everyone:" You have to try and evaluate what works best for you. "
7. Take care of your diet
There are no definitive scientific data on the relationship between diet and endometriosis. Some studies, however, appear suggest that an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce symptoms. It is a question of limiting the intake of inflammatory foods, such as dairy products, meat, sugars and refined carbohydrates and preferring that of fruits and vegetables, legumes, fish, olive oil. As for products such as bread, pasta and rice, wholemeal ones are better. Some experts also suggest eliminating soy products which, by containing phytoestrogens, could stimulate disease. "Even if there are no solid scientific data, on an individual level it may be worth a try", advises Fabio Parazzini, associate professor of gynecology at the University of our city, former coordinator of a national study group on endometriosis.
8. If there is pain during sexual intercourse, do not hesitate to refer the matter to your gynecologist, or to a sexologist.
Often women who suffer from dyspareunia, that is, pain during sexual intercourse, a frequent symptom in endometriosis, are ashamed and do not talk about it to anyone. Instead it is right to ask your doctor about these aspects, looking for solutions. "Obviously, the first step is to try to improve the experience of intercourse, eliminating pain with appropriate therapy "Barbàra affirms." However, this is not always enough, especially if the experience of negative sexuality has been long and important. In these cases it may also be useful to consult a sexologist ".
9. Don't hesitate to ask for your partner's support
Having a partner by your side who can support the woman in her endometriosis management path is very important. "The first point is to make it clear that all the pain you feel is caused by a pathology" suggests Barbàra. And then you can agree with him small strategies, even with respect to sexual relations. "For example, they can avoid the positions in which the pain is more intense, or agree on a couple's sex therapy ".
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Updated on 28.08.2022TAG:
- endometriosis advice
- endometriosis diet