If you or a loved one have endometriosis, you may be aware that treatment options are sometimes limited. You may wonder, can the pain-relieving properties of CBD help? How can I take CBD to address endometriosis symptoms?
What does endometriosis feel like?
While a consult from your physician is necessary to receive a diagnosis, if you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s definitely time to schedule an appointment. According to endometriosis.org, 176 million women are affected by endometriosis, many of whom are left undiagnosed and untreated. Endometriosis commonly affects women of childbearing age and may result in infertility. It is essentially the growth of uterine tissue in abnormal places, often affecting the structures of the pelvis.
CBD has been shown to effectively address PMS, in which endometriosis encompasses all of these symptoms and basically exacerbates them. Cases vary, of course. Endometriosis is often more than just menstrual cramps, but pelvic pain is the most common symptom and can be severe. What is different about this condition is that pelvic pain may strike at any time during a woman’s cycle, making it frustrating and disruptive.
Other symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:
- Painful periods (dysmenorrhea): Again, cramping and pain can occur at any time during the month and will likely include lower back and abdominal pain.
- Pain with intercourse: This may occur during or after sex, and may be due to abnormal growths of endometrial tissue that can form cysts.
- Pain with bowel movements or urination: Typically during your menstrual cycle.
- Excessive bleeding: Either during or in between your menstrual cycle.
- Infertility: This symptom is sometimes what first indicates a diagnosis.
- Other symptoms: Other symptoms include fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea.
Topical CBD for cramps and pain
Muscle cramps are no fun in any situation; however, the cramps that come along with endometriosis can be unpredictable and severe. In this case, it may be helpful to use a topical form of CBD for endometriosis. This way, you can target painful areas whenever you experience symptoms, as many options come in convenient, portable packaging.
As you may know, CBD targets your body’s endocannabinoid receptors and can have calming, pain-blocking effects. CBD is also considered an anti-inflammatory, making specific topicals a viable option for endometriosis pain related to sex. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD can also help with bloating; however, this is more likely from ingested forms of CBD, detailed below.
What other forms of CBD are available to try?
It depends on the severity of your pain level and what products work best for you; however, you may also find that CBD tinctures or capsules may address your symptoms more gradually. CBD products, in general, can have calming or energizing effects, depending on a lot of factors specific to you (height, weight, diet, activity level etc.). This goes for just about any supplement you take.
If painful endometriosis cramps disrupt your healthy sleep patterns, you may also find that CBD products formulated for sleep may be beneficial. Getting a restful night’s sleep may also lessen the severe fatigue that often accompanies the condition. Many women with this condition or other conditions, such as severe PMS, do not emphasize fatigue when they are seeking treatment for fear of stigma.
What’s to come in the future of endometriosis and CBD
A troublesome fact is that endometriosis and other menstrual conditions are often underfunded and under-researched, according to the Society for Women’s Health Research. In a study published in the journal Pain, “approaches targeted at the endocannabinoid system represent a promising new direction for developing badly-needed new treatments for pain suffered by women with endometriosis.” Research is still ongoing when it comes to CBD as a treatment for endometriosis symptoms and many other conditions, but, as this study suggests, the outlook is promising.
If you find that CBD products help your endometriosis symptoms — great! As always, discuss your care regimen with your physician and never stop taking prescriptions without a consult.