10% of women and girls of reproductive age worldwide suffer endometriosis. These figures provided by the World Health Organization highlighted the need to learn about and raise awareness of endometriosis, a condition that is difficult to detect and is often confused with menstrual pain.
To shed light on this condition that affects approximately 190 million women worldwide, read on to find out what endometriosis is, its symptoms, and how it differs from menstrual pain. Also, how to treat endometriosis with medical cannabis thanks to cannabidiol, a potent analgesic, and anti-inflammatory.
What is endometriosis?
Talking about endometriosis means acknowledging that today, even though there are more and more studies, it is still a somewhat invisible disease due to the lack of knowledge about it. Hence the importance of this type of article, with which we want to raise awareness of this condition and discover the benefits of medical cannabis to alleviate the pain it causes women, among other symptoms.
Endometriosis is a disorder or disease in which tissue like the endometrium (lining of the uterus) grows outside the uterus. This tissue outside the uterus that can cause pain lies in the pelvic organs. It most commonly affects the tissue lining the pelvis, fallopian tubes, or ovaries.
Endometrial-like tissue that grows outside the uterus acts just like the endometrium. Meaning it first thickens, breaks down, and finally bleeds when the menstrual cycle occurs. However, this tissue cannot leave the body and becomes trapped in the areas mentioned, resulting in pain.
There are different types or levels of endometriosis depending on the lesions it causes in the woman:
- Superficial endometriosis:
- Cystic ovarian endometriosis.
- Deep endometriosis
- Endometriosis outside the pelvis (a very rare case)
It should also be noted that beyond the pain caused by this condition, it is also possible that it can lead to infertility problems.
Symptoms of endometriosis
Despite the ignorance and lack of knowledge still existsting today about endometriosis, one thing is clear to most people who hear about the condition: it causes pain.
Pain is the main symptom of endometriosis, although we talk about different types of pain:
- Pain (pelvic, when defecating or urinating).
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse
- Painful menstruation (dysmenorrhoea).
- Excessive bleeding.
Beyond pain, there are other symptoms related to endometriosis:
- Abdominal bloating
Although the main symptom of endometriosis is usually pelvic pain, all these symptoms vary depending on the individual. In other words, any one of them can combined with pelvic pain. In addition, some other symptoms or signs could relate to endometriosis, such as diarrhea, constipation, or bloating.
Can endometriosis be treated with medical cannabis?
In this context, as medical cannabis has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, it is possible to treat the pain caused by endometriosis with medical cannabis, always following the guidelines and recommendations of a medical specialist.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is involved in several actions in our body, such as metabolism, inflammation, and immune function. It is distributed throughout the body but is particularly abundant in the central nervous system, our immune system, and female reproductive systems, suggesting that it may relieve pelvic pain in women with endometriosis.
A study in Australia found that 1 out of 10 women with endometriosis used cannabis to relieve the pain. Thus, those who suffered the most pain were more likely to treat their condition with medical cannabis. In addition, study participants also reported improvements in other common symptoms of endometriosis: depression, anxiety, sleep, nausea, gastrointestinal problems, etc.
The same study also looked at the efficacy of cannabis treatment for endometriosis depending on the method of ingestion. Thus, while the inhaled option offered a faster onset of analgesic effect, oral consumption of medical cannabis was more effective for gastrointestinal symptoms or for improving mood. In any case, although studies such as the one mentioned above demonstrate the usefulness of cannabinoids for treating endometriosis, further research is needed to offer a solution to this condition that so many people suffer from around the world.