Endometriosis is a painful condition associated with menstruation. So far, there is hardly any cure to it. CBD is also unable to cure endometriosis, but it helps against the pain and provides relaxation.
What is an Endometrium?
Endometriosis arises from the woman’s monthly cycle. As part of each cycle, the body develops an inner layer of mucous membrane inside the uterus, which is called the endometrium. It builds up at the beginning of the cycle, and gets destroyed again at the end. This endometrium consists of intermediate tissue, cover tissue and glands. The production of the mucous membrane layer is controlled by hormones – mainly estrogen and progesterone are involved.
Estrogen exerts the most influence during the first half of the cycle. Here the hormone ensures that the upper layer of the endometrium is strengthened or built up. In the second half of the cycle, progesterone takes over and ensures increased blood circulation and glandular secretion. This is to ensure that the mucous membrane is better able to feed an embryo. If there is no fertilization, the two important hormones disappear. Their absence causes the upper layer of the mucous membrane to fall off, which is known as a menstrual period.
What is Endometriosis?
During endometriosis, a tissue, such as an endometrium, settles outside the uterus. There is a lack of research to identify the cause of it. In any case, it is problematic that the endometrium follows the cyclical course of the hormones. This endometrium grows in the first half of the cycle. It becomes critical towards the end of the cycle. The lack of hormones can lead to internal bleeding. It is important for the course of the disease where this tissue settles in the body.
Most often they are located in the fallopian tube or in the ovaries, less often in the area of the bladder or intestine. Surprisingly, these tissues can deposit in the lungs or brain, but this is very rare. If women are in pain, they can experience two types of pain. For one thing, there may be a cyclical pain that only occurs in the second half of the cycle. Chronic pain is also possible, in which the woman is permanently confronted with the pain.
We cannot make exact statements about the frequency of this disease. Endometriosis remains undiagnosed in many cases.
The Symptomatic Phenomena
At this point, we should mention that endometriosis does not necessarily have symptoms. The disease often remains undetected because there are no symptoms. However, you should see a doctor if you identify the following symptoms:
Exaggerated menstrual pain:
In the context of endometriosis, the typical cramps and associated pain before and during the menstrual period can be intensified. In medicine, this phenomenon is called dysmenorrhea. Pain is particularly severe when the endometriosis is located in the uterine muscles. In some cases, the pain is so severe that women can no longer carry out their work and everyday life. Anyone who feels such pain should visit a doctor immediately.
Regardless of menstruation, endometriosis can result in abdominal pain. Occasionally, this pain radiates, mainly in the legs. The cause of this pain is often that different organs and tissues grow together as a result of endometriosis. In this case, permanent pain often occurs. Moreover, it may release inflammation substances into the body from the foci of endometriosis, which can lead to additional problems.
Pain During Sex:
The pain does not necessarily have to occur during sex, it can also occur afterwards. Women describe this type of pain as burning and cramping. It often occurs when endometriosis is anchored in the elastic tether of the uterus. This type of endometriosis can lead to great stress in partnerships, as women may completely avoid sex.
Pain in the Toilet:
Most likely there is endometriosis in the bladder or intestines. On the one hand, pain occurs in the toilet, whether during bowel movements or when urinating. Occasionally, small amounts of blood may also be expelled.
Endometriosis often causes psychological pressure. Not only is the pain incredibly annoying, the constant visits to the doctor quickly become annoying. As soon as you notice the given symptoms, it is best to visit your doctor for testing.
Most women with endometriosis can no longer get pregnant. Exact reasons for this have not yet been recognized, so if you still want to have a child, you should talk to your doctor about it.
Causes of Endometriosis
As mentioned at the beginning, despite intensive research, the cause of this disease is still unknown. There are some theories about this, but there is a lack of proof for those. Theories include transplantation theory and metaplasia theory.
The Diagnosis of this Disease
If you suspect you have endometriosis, you should see a gynecologist. At the beginning, he will take a medical history, asking, among other things, the symptoms, how long they have been present and to what extent they restrict everyday life. If there is any suspicion, the doctor may carry out a gynecological examination. The gynecologist scans the critical areas for this. Pain, hardening or adhesions can indicate an existing illness. The gynecologist can obtain further information from ultrasound examinations, in which he examines the abdominal wall and the vagina.
If the doctor identifies a problem, they will usually need a tissue sample. To do this, he takes a piece of the tissue from endometriosis, usually by means of an abdominal mirroring. This determines whether it is an endometriosis or, if necessary, a malignant disease. Depending on the type of endometriosis, they may schedule further examinations. If the problem is in the bladder, the doctor may perform bladder mirroring. Other imaging methods such as magnetic resonance imaging or computer tomography are often used.
How to Treat Endometriosis
There are several approaches to treating endometriosis. Pain relievers are said to relieve pain, hormone preparations can interfere with the growth cycle, operations can eliminate the whole problem in one swoop. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often used as pain relievers. These include aspirin, diclofenac or the well-known ibuprofen. Generally, women often use these drugs for menstrual pain. There is still no scientific evidence that they help against the pain of endometriosis. In any case, these drugs have side effects such as upset stomach, headache or nausea.
In very severe cases of endometriosis, the doctor can also prescribe opioids. These pain relievers do their job, but make you very addicted. Common side effects of opioids are nausea and constipation. When you develop a dependency, completely different side effects occur during withdrawal. Therapy with hormone preparations is meanwhile suitable for women who no longer want to give birth to a child. Endometriosis is dependent on estrogen. When there is more estrogen in the body, the problematic tissue grows. Hormone supplements aim to completely stop the production of estrogen. So far, we are not clear whether we can completely cure endometriosis with hormone preparations.
Different preparations are used – a popular representative is the birth control pill. This can prevent much of the pain if you take it continuously. However, the withdrawal bleeding that occurs after taking the pill over a cycle can be very painful. That’s why you should take the birth control pill non-stop, which is prohibited in many regions. Yet, many people go with this practice. Some other preparations are called GnRH analogs or progestogen preparations.
Endometriosis is treated in particularly severe cases. If it occurs in the ovaries, intestines or in the bladder and hinders the proper functioning of these organs, an operation becomes unavoidable. As part of the operation, the doctor should completely remove the endometrium. This goal is achieved using lasers, electric current and the scalpel. Occasionally, they have to remove a piece of the attacked organ.
Otherwise, the uterus, including the ovaries, can be surgically removed. Women choose this practice, who on the one hand completely overcomes the pain and on the other hand no longer wants to have children. By removing the ovaries, endometriosis is deprived of the estrogen to grow, as it is mainly produced in the ovaries. It should be noted that removing the ovaries immediately puts every woman in the state of menopause. Menopause symptoms are treated with estrogen supplements, which in turn would stimulate the growth of endometriosis and bring the symptoms back.
CBD as the Healthy Alternative
At this point, the cannabinoid CBD can effectively intervene. This is a non-psychoactive ingredient of the hemp plant, which has recently gained increasing popularity.
This cannabinoid develops its effects via the endocannabinoid system, which consists of the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The body already produces endocannabinoids that bind to these receptors. In this way, the endocannabinoid system influences regulative functions of the human body, such as sleep, appetite, memory, fertility and emotions.
Experiments in rats have shown that endocannabinoids can inhibit the growth of endometriosis. Endocannabinoids, i.e. the cannabinoids that were produced independently by the body of the rats, were explicitly examined here. However, the study leaders of this experiment pointed out that other cannabinoids could have the same effect.
In any case, it has been scientifically proven that women have comparatively fewer CB1 receptors in their endometrium. For this, there are more CB2 receptors in this tissue. The CB1 receptor is now significantly involved in pain sensation. A clear connection between this phenomenon and the mode of action of CBD has not yet been established.
Since there is clearly a lack of studies, one should turn to case studies. There are no clinical studies on this topic yet. However, there are women who report positive effects. This could be due to both the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis or the cannabinoids THC and CBD. It is clear that CBD can actually help.
In any case, we cannot deny that CBD generally helps against pain and is also used by many women against menstrual pain. In addition, cannabidiol is quite impressive for the fact that it has hardly any side effects and these also disappear as soon as the dose is reduced a little. So before trying opioids to relieve pain, try CBD for pain relief.