How Endometriosis Impacts Emotional Health

The inside of your uterus is lined with a special tissue called the endometrium, which collects blood and nutrients in preparation for nourishing a baby. If you don’t get pregnant, the endometrium sheds its extra blood-rich layers, which exit through your vagina as your monthly menstrual blood.

But if you have an abnormal condition known as endometriosis, your endometrial tissue may line the outside of your uterus, too. It can even grow on your fallopian tubes, ovaries, and bowels. 

But the endometrium can’t shed when it grows outside your uterus, causing pain during your period that could lead to infertility. 

Sharon Smith, MD, our an expert gynecologist at OBGYN Care of Houston, treats endometriosis and helps you stay comfortable during your periods. If you’ve finished your family, she may recommend a procedure called endometrial ablation to remove the abnormal tissue. 

When you have endometriosis, you may also experience a range of emotional challenges related to your condition. Here’s how endometriosis can affect your emotions, and what you can do about it.

Pelvic pain and trauma

Numerous studies suggest that pelvic pain, and even conditions that cause it such as endometriosis, may be associated with chronic stress or acute trauma. Because your body and your emotions are related, distress can cause physical pain and vice versa.

Dr. Smith works with you to identify both the physical and emotional aspects of your endometriosis and pelvic pain. In addition to treating your endometriosis, she may refer you to a knowledgeable and supportive counselor.

Depression and anxiety

When you learn that you have endometriosis, you may feel disappointed in your body or ashamed that you have a condition. Endometriosis is common and isn’t your fault.

The heavy bleeding associated with endometriosis can also lead to another physical condition called anemia, in which you don’t have sufficient red blood cells. If you’re anemic, Dr. Smith prescribes iron supplements to help you attain normal levels and feel more energetic.

Insomnia

If you have endometriosis, you may need to change your tampon and menstrual pads every hour or two. That’s disruptive enough to your daytime routine. At night, it can prevent you from getting restorative sleep.

Insufficient sleep impairs your body’s ability to produce hormones that keep you physically and emotionally healthy. Lack of sleep could also make you feel groggy, depressed, and short-tempered. 

Worries about fertility

Even though most women with endometriosis can have a healthy baby, the condition may complicate your attempts to become pregnant. It’s normal to feel disappointed and frustrated if you can’t start or complete your ideal family.

If you’d like to become pregnant, Dr. Smith may put you on a short-term course of hormonal birth control, which stops your body from storing blood in the endometrium. Once your pelvic area has healed from the break of painful, monthly periods, you stop the birth control and try to conceive.

Relief from endometriosis pain and stress

To reduce the stress on your body and psyche, Dr. Smith may recommend long-term hormonal birth control if you’re not planning to become pregnant any time soon. When you don’t experience painful monthly periods and heavy bleeding, you may find your mood improves, too.

During your consultation, Dr. Smith asks you about present and past trauma, including any physical, sexual, or emotional abuse you’ve suffered. She may refer you to counseling so you can process your trauma and find new ways of responding to your environment.

If you don’t ever want to have a child, she may advise removing the endometrium through a procedure called endometrial ablation. Dr. Smith performs endometrial ablation as a same-day procedure. She may also recommend hormonal therapy to thin your uterine lining.

Contact our Houston, Texas, office today if you want relief from endometriosis. Dr. Smith also offers virtual consultations in case you have questions about your period or gynecologic health.

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