March - Endometriosis Awareness Month

As a Naturopath with endometriosis, I am extremely passionate about educating, raising awareness, creating conversation and above all, advocating for my clients. 

Although research is evolving, unfortunately there is still a lot of misinformation about endometriosis. 

Endometriosis is defined as the growth of cells SIMILAR to the endometrium (not the endometrium itself) that grow anywhere in the body. The most common area for these cells to grow is within the reproductive system (uterus, ovaries, pelvic wall etc.) however it can grow on the bowel, bladder and other organs in the body.

The symptoms of endometriosis can vary from person to person but the most common symptoms are:

  • Heavy periods 

  • Painful periods 

  • Painful ovulation 

  • Pelvic pain throughout the cycle 

  • Pain during intercourse

  • Digestive upset (IBS)

In my personal and professional opinion, endometriosis is a whole body disease that affects more than just the reproductive system. Constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, nausea, fatigue & nutritional deficiencies are just some of the symptoms experienced alongside endo.  

The BIGGEST misconception about endo is that it is diagnosed via an internal (transvaginal ultrasound). Yes, some endo can be seen on ultrasound however the GOLD STANDARD for endometriosis diagnosis is laparoscopic surgery (keyhole surgery under general anesthetic). 

Another fact that is often overlooked in endo sufferers is that the AMOUNT of endometriosis a person has does not define the amount of pain they experience. For example, a person with only a small amount of endometriosis may experience 10/10 pain. 

My role as a Naturopath is to: 

  • Advocate for my patients – recommend and refer to an advanced excision gynecologist/surgeon for investigation 

  • Use herbal and nutracerucal interventions to manage symptoms, e.g. period pain 

  • Investigate other underlying causes that are potentially exacerbating endo symtoms, e.g. IBS & SIBO

  • Ensure my patients are listened to – often by the time my patients find me, they have been dismissed by several different medical professionals

If you or someone you know experiences period pain, pelvic pain, heavy bleeding or has suspected OR diagnosed endometriosis, it’s time to see a Naturopath.

Written by Todd Clinics Naturopath Shannon Jolly, Gut Health & Women’s Health Naturopath