Have you been experiencing both mental health issues and endometriosis? The chances are high that there are ties between your mental health and endometriosis. Endometriosis is a common chronic illness amongst women. In fact, 1 in 10 women in the United States live with the condition. Most women are diagnosed between ages 30-40, but endometriosis can affect girls as young as 11-years-old.
Endometriosis affects everyone differently. There are many different symptoms that women can experience. Aside from the variety of physical symptoms, women with endometriosis are also more prone to experience mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression.
People who suffer from chronic illness, like endometriosis, are 15-20% more likely to be depressed. Do you believe you are feeling depressed or anxious due to your endometriosis diagnosis? It’s important to know that you are not alone. Learn to recognize the different signs, symptoms and possible causes, and together we can raise awareness about mental health illness.
Living with Endometriosis: The Unexpected Challenges
There’s no doubt that life with endometriosis comes with unexpected challenges. The condition can negatively impact a woman’s quality of life, affecting everything from personal relationships to work performance.
Physical endometriosis symptoms can prevent women from participating in social outings, maintaining relationships or staying productive at work. These physical symptoms not only lead to a decreased quality of life, but can also impair the mental health of those suffering from the condition.
Increased Risk of Depression and Anxiety
Associated with endometriosis is an increased risk of many health conditions, including mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety. While endometriosis symptoms and experiences vary from woman to woman, all women with the condition are at risk for developing said mental health conditions.
So how is endometriosis tied to the development of mental health conditions? Unfortunately, there are no definite answers yet, but the connection is actively being investigated by experts.
The Relationship Between Mental Health and Endometriosis
Experts believe there are many different reasons why women with endometriosis have a higher risk of experiencing mental health issues.
Receiving an endometriosis diagnosis, or waiting to receive a diagnosis, is extremely stressful and can put a woman’s body under distress. Some endometriosis symptoms such as pain during sex, infertility and chronic pelvic pain can lead women to a negative sense of female identity, ultimately impacting their self-esteem and self-worth.
All of these experiences can lead to a decrease in one’s mental health. Some experts believe mental health and physical endometriosis symptoms exist together in a cycle, as in an increase in one leads to an increase in the other. It’s important to understand the signs of mental health illnesses, so you can advocate for yourself and take action when needed.
Endometriosis and Depression
There’s a complex relationship between endometriosis and depression. The connection is mostly determined by chronic pain. How can one tell the difference between being depressed and just feeling sad? Depression is much more than feeling sad. It involves more constant negative thoughts and feelings. It is intense feelings of sadness, emptiness, guilt, anxiety or hopelessness. Common signs of depression include significant and constant fatigue, restlessness, trouble sleeping, troubles concentrating, loss of interest and/or change in appetite.
Timely detection and treatment of depressive symptoms, through medication, talk therapy or a combination of the two, can improve one’s quality of life and physical symptoms. If you or someone you know is battling depression, talk to your doctor to get the help you need.
Endometriosis and Anxiety
Endometriosis has been linked to higher rates of anxiety, due to the many stress-inducing circumstances that endometriosis introduces. Anxiety involves extreme feelings of fear and worry. It can cause physical symptoms such as a racing heart, rapid breathing, or sweating. Common signs of anxiety include excessive worrying, feeling on edge, troubles sleeping, irritability, repetitive and sudden experiences of overwhelming fear, and/or lack of control of one’s own body.
Anxiety treatment can include counseling and medications. There are also measures of self-care that one can take to improve symptoms. These include avoiding alcohol, reducing caffeine intake, daily physical exercise, practicing relaxation techniques, stress management, and maintaining a healthy diet.
Help is Out There
There are a number of both mental health and endometriosis treatment options available. You don’t have to live with the pain. Along with treatments for endometriosis, there are steps you can take and resources you can use to help improve your overall emotional well-being.
In fact, 78% of women diagnosed with endometriosis believe that counseling post-diagnosis would be extremely useful and beneficial for one’s mental health. Whether you have been recently diagnosed or have been dealing with the condition for years, there is the help that you need for healing both physically and mentally. Here are just a few options.
Communicate with loved ones.
Keep open lines of communication with those close to you Though it may be hard, they truly want to help you. Let them know what you are going through, both physically and mentally.
Join a support group.
There are many different endometriosis support groups. Joining one will allow you to share experiences, and help with feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Focus on diet and exercise.
Taking care of your physical health will also help your mental health. Diet and exercise can improve overall emotional well-being. Worried about working out with endometriosis-related pain? Even light-impact exercises, like walks or stretching, can improve the body and the mind.
Recognize warning signs and find professional help.
It’s important to advocate for yourself and recognize your feelings. If you are experiencing signs of mental illness, know that you are not alone. Seek the professional support you deserve, there are many different resources out there including:
- SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Treatment Referral Helpline will provide you information and treatment service options. Call 1-877-726-4727.
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 – or 24/7 online chat is available.
You can also speak to our team at the Kaldas Center directly for personalized mental health care recommendations.
The Kaldas Center is here for you.
Having a difficult time finding a diagnosis for your pain? Concerned about the symptoms you are experiencing? Looking for more answers our team is available by phone to help you. We are one of the few endometriosis specialists and we are ready to help you by providing treatment and relief.
Call the Kaldas Center at 920-886-2299 to speak with one of our nurses about your symptoms, and how we can help.