For many women, endometriosis can cause more than just physical symptoms. Indeed, due to the many effects of endometriosis on a woman’s reproductive health – including potentially causing infertility – many sufferers experience bouts of intense emotional distress. The danger is that over time these feelings can actually worsen the condition, causing greater harm to both physical and mental health. Stress is of particular concern, as it has been proven to influence the effects of the condition.
One of the first steps towards lessening the effects of your emotions on endometriosis is by acknowledging their existence. Read on for an explanation of some of the common feelings experienced by women with endometriosis, as well as advice on stress relief techniques that really do work.
Emotions Experienced by Women with Endometriosis
Some of the most common feelings sufferers of endometriosis will go through include:
- Frustration, since getting a diagnosis often takes time, leading to feelings of confusion and embarrassment about the condition. In addition, the pain and tiredness that often accompany endometriosis can lead to irritation.
- Depression is also relatively common in women with endometriosis, not only due to the emotional roller coaster that the effects of the condition can cause, but also due to the effects of hormonal treatments. Aside from depression, these treatments can also lead to irritability and mood swings.
- Women with endometriosis may also experience feelings of isolation, depending on the level of support they receive from their partners, families and friends.
- Because endometriosis can also lead to infertility, many women may experience feelings of inadequacy and disappointment. In fact, it is not uncommon for women to need time to grieve for the life they had planned.
Lifestyle and Financial Effects of Endometriosis
Besides the emotional side effects, endometriosis can also affect other parts of a woman’s life. For one, the pain and fatigue the condition often brings may mean that women will have to alter their lifestyles, which may include limiting time for leisure activities, as well as work and family time. Their relationships may also be affected, as endometriosis can restrict sexual activity and enjoyment.
Finances are likely to also be affected. Endometriosis can force women to take time off work, or restrict the number of hours they can tolerate work activities. For some, this may pose limitation on their career choices, or limit the amount of progress they can achieve in their job. In addition, the cost of treatment – particularly surgery and infertility treatment – can become a significant strain.
Learning to Cope: Stress Relief for Endometriosis Sufferers
When you are stressed, your body tends to tense up, which can worsen the pain you are experiencing. On the other hand, the pain itself can lead to stress, creating a vicious cycle. By learning to control your stress, you can also gain better control of your overall health.
Most importantly, reduce your exposure to people and places that cause you to feel stress. You should make an effort to do something you enjoy every day.
It can be as simple as drinking a mug of herbal tea, taking a bath, or chatting with your friends. Whatever it is, it should be something that brings you pleasure.
Breathing and relaxation exercises are another excellent way to de-stress your body and mind.
Here is one relaxation exercise that is recommended for everyday, especially when you are experiencing pain:
- Find a place that is quiet and free of distraction. Sit or lie down and close your eyes.
- Starting from your feet, focus your mind on every part of your body up to your head. If an area is causing you pain or discomfort, breathe in deeply, and when you exhale imagine yourself releasing that tension.
- Once you have done that with every part of your body, imagine yourself in a relaxing place, such as in front of the ocean or in a field. Allow your mind to create a complete picture, and let yourself become immersed in it.
For more information, read an article on coping tips for endometriosis.