Last Updated on April 5, 2023
Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory, often painful disorder in which the tissue that lines the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside the uterus. The development of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterus can cause a variety of debilitating symptoms, including pelvic pain, painful periods, painful sex, painful bowel movement, endo belly, neuropathy, and, in some cases, infertility. While these symptoms are most common during monthly periods, endometriosis flare ups, also known as endo attacks, can occur at any time, causing extreme discomfort and a lower quality of life. Endometriosis is incurable, however, potential new treatment options for endometriosis are being investigated every day to help women through their debilitating condition.
As a result, several factors can increase or trigger inflammation in the body, resulting in these flare ups. This article will go over endometriosis flare up symptoms, causes, and management strategies.
What is Endometriosis and an Endometriosis Flare Up?
Endometriosis is a painful condition in which tissue that generally lines the inside of your uterus—the endometrium—grows anywhere outside of it. Some of the areas most commonly affected by endometriosis include ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining the pelvis. Rarely, tissue resembling endometrium can be found outside of the pelvic region.
Each menstrual cycle causes the endometrial-like tissue in endometriosis to thicken, degrade, and bleed as endometrial tissue would. However, this tissue becomes trapped because it cannot leave the body. Cysts known as endometriomas may develop when endometriosis affects the ovaries. Adhesions—bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other—and scar tissue can form due to irritation to the surrounding tissue.
Since it is an inflammatory condition, there are several things that can make it worse or set it off, leading to flare-ups. An endometriosis flare up is a time when the condition is more severe and causes more discomfort and worsened symptoms.
What Causes Endometriosis Flare Ups?
Although experts are unsure of the precise causes of some endometriosis flare ups, they do notice patterns in women who experience these flare-ups frequently. Endo flares frequently result from the following factors:
—The inflamed tissue is what is responsible for the symptoms of endometriosis. Typically, the more the pain, the more the inflammation. Nevertheless, particular factors can make inflammation throughout the body worse. These include regularly consuming foods that are high in fat or sugar, which can cause tissue swelling throughout the body. Caffeine use and alcohol consumption are two additional significant causes of inflammation. Even though changing your diet won’t get rid of your endometriosis flare ups, it’s possible that avoiding these sources of inflammation will help keep your pain and other symptoms under control.
Lack of sleep
— as with any medical condition, getting enough restful sleep at night is one of the most crucial things you can do to feel better. But if you suffer from chronic pain, it is much easier said than done. Regrettably, pain can seriously interfere with your sleep cycle and even lead to episodes of insomnia. Sometimes you can improve the quality of your sleep by putting strategies into place like going to counseling, stretching before bed, and using other pain management techniques. Your body will feel stronger and be better able to deal with the inflammation and all other endo symptoms as a result, which will help you.
— Many chronic diseases are made worse by stress. It is obvious that there is a link between elevated stress and higher pain levels, whether this is a result of the body’s physiological reaction to stressors or hormones released during times of distress. This also applies to those who have endometriosis. Stress, depression, and other mental health issues can frequently exacerbate endo-flare symptoms and make it more difficult to recover from them. As a result, endometriosis sufferers must make an effort to manage their stress whenever possible. Before the excess stress has an adverse effect on the body, certain interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and even talking with others who have endometriosis or other more chronic conditions can be helpful.
Common Symptoms of Endometriosis Flare Ups
The main sign of endometriosis flare up is pelvic pain, which is frequently related to menstruation. Although many women experience cramping during their periods, those with endometriosis frequently report far more severe menstrual pain than usual. Over time, the pain may also worsen. The following are typical endometriosis symptoms:
Painful periods (dysmenorrhea):
Before and for a few days after a period, pelvic pain and cramping are common. Additionally, lower back and stomach pain are possible.
Pain during intercourse:
Endometriosis often causes pain during or after sex.
Discomfort while urinating:
These symptoms are most likely to occur during a menstrual period.
Periodically, women might have heavy periods or bleed between periods (intermenstrual bleeding).
Sometimes women seeking infertility treatment are the ones who are first diagnosed with endometriosis.
Especially during menstrual periods, one might experience fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea.
How to Cope with Endometriosis Flare Ups?
In actuality, endometriosis flare ups can be agonizing and disabling. Various treatment options can assist in managing the pain and all of the other endo symptoms in addition to preventative measures. Endo pain is typically treated using one of two strategies: either short-term fixes or long-term preparation.
To keep you comfortable and stop further damage from happening as a result of endometriosis flare ups, long-term pain management techniques are essential. Using birth control pills, which can assist in controlling the hormones that contribute to the expansion and irritation of endometrial tissue, is one possibility. To help reduce the amount of inflammation, taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is another option.
Surgery may occasionally be required to treat this condition. To lessen the pain, a doctor may remove some endometrial tissue from the affected areas. However, the symptoms can occasionally return as the tissue sometimes grows back.
Unfortunately, the inflamed tissue causes some women with endometriosis to have fertility issues. If this describes your situation, the above-mentioned treatment options might not be suitable for you. Ask your doctor about endometriosis treatments that won’t affect family planning if you’re trying to conceive right now or hope to in the future.
Dealing with endometriosis can be challenging on a physical and emotional level. It is a chronic, and highly complex condition that affects 190 million women and girls in their reproductive ages, globally. Endometriosis flare ups are however periods of worsened pain and other symptoms that hormonal changes and increased inflammation trigger in the body.
Stress, a lack of sleep, drinking alcohol, and eating inflammatory foods can all be the triggers for endometriosis flare up. Medication, surgery, and self-care methods like avoiding triggers, managing stress, using heat, and exercising can all help you feel better and have fewer severe flare-ups.