Periods were never fun to begin with, but endometriosis can turn this annoying monthly visit into something excruciating and in some cases dangerous. Studies have shown that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in this illness, which may mean that CBD can help with endometriosis.
Cannabidiol (CBD) may be able to help with the pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis by its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. By elevating chemicals, stimulating receptors, and opening pathways in the brain it may offer as a tool to assist people who are experiencing this visceral pain.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is when the tissue that makes up the uterine lining is also found on other organs or other areas in your body. Usually, it is in the lower organs like in your lower abdomen or pelvis, but it can be found anywhere from your lungs to your thumbs.
Symptoms Of Endometriosis
- Pain during menstruation
- Pain During Sex
- Constant pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic region even off your period
- Painful bowel movements
- Painful urination
- Blood in urine
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Difficulty getting pregnant
- Fatigue and muscle weakness
With endometriosis, you don’t even have to be on your period when you are feeling the pain. Sometimes it can be constant. Usually, the pain will be at its worse right before your period starts and then get better over time. You can also be a woman who doesn’t show any symptoms at all, and will only know about having this condition if you ever undergo surgery. Being a woman is so fun!
How Is Endometriosis Diagnosed?
You can go to your gynecologist and tell them about this pain, but they won't be able to actually know if you have endometriosis or not until they open you up. The surgery is called a laparoscopy, and the surgeon opens up your abdomen and looks inside with a camera for any uterine cells outside of the uterus.
What Causes Endometriosis?
There are several theories on why endometriosis happens. The first is retrograde menstruating which is when during the woman’s period, the blood and tissue travel through the fallopian tubes and go into the abdominal cavity.
Another idea is that the cells outside of the uterus can change into the same kind of cells that line the uterus. This is a theory that mostly explains why there have been accounts of endometriosis in places like the thumb.
The cells that are in the uterus lining could be traveling through blood vessels or the lymphatic system which spreads to other organs of the body, which could be why the uterine cells have been found on lungs.
Most women experience retrograde menstruating without developing endometriosis. Scientists believe that it is the difference in each’s immune system. Researchers have found that it is more common to develop endometriosis if another family member has it because genetic makeup may also play a part in development.
Why Is Endometriosis painful?
Before your period comes, estrogen levels rise, and it prompts the production of the uterine lining. The uterine lining is there so the embryo can sit on the wall and get fertilized by sperm. But when the body recognizes that no babies are being made and the egg goes unfertilized, it sheds the lining and the blood in the uterus.
When someone has endometriosis, the uterine cells on the outside of the uterus react to this chemical change and act the way the cells do inside the uterus. This can cause swelling, bleeding, and scarring of normal tissue which causes the excruciating pain.
Can You Prevent Endometriosis?
There is no known total preventative measure that you can take for endometriosis, but there are ways you can reduce your risks. The main way is to reduce the estrogen levels in your body. You can do this by taking hormones, or you can change your diet.
Exercising can also prove to be beneficial, helping to reduce the levels of bad estrogen and raising the levels of good estrogen. You don’t even have to go into weight training or excessive work out routines, just a moderate amount of exercising for thirty minutes a day can help you regulate your hormones.
Cutting down on the alcohol can help you as well. Studies show that alcohol can raise your estrogen levels, which is something that can lead to endometriosis. You can still enjoy a glass of wine before bed, but don’t overdo it.
Treatment Options For Endometriosis
There are several different options you have for treatment, and sometimes it depends on how severe and invasive the endometriosis has developed. Non-steroid medications and hormones are often prescribed and suggested to help with the pain and inflammation. But if it’s severe, your doctor may recommend surgery.
The cells that act like uterine lining tissue can be surgically removed which can help with the pain as well as fertility issues that come along with endometriosis. In some cases, surgeons will remove the ovaries and the uterus, unfortunately making the woman infertile.
With new studies emerging linking the endocannabinoid system and endometriosis, it is now thought that cannabinoids like CBD may be able to help make the pain involved more manageable in this condition.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol is a chemical that we find in the cannabis plant. It can come from either a hemp plant, which makes it legal in all fifty states or the marijuana plant which may contain higher amounts of THC. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t have any intoxicating effects which is one reason why doctors are so intrigued by its potential. The reason it has so many possible healing benefits without offering intoxicating effects is because of how it indirectly interacts with the endocannabinoid system.
What Is The Endocannabinoid System?
Your endocannabinoid system is what keeps you functioning normally, also known as homeostasis. This system interacts with different parts of your body to make sure that the vessel it runs, you, stays alive. When you get an infection, this is your endocannabinoid system telling your immune system to fight off pathogens that could be harmful. Without your endocannabinoid system, it would be like a band without a conductor.
Main Parts Of The Endocannabinoid System
One way that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system is by elevating endocannabinoids. The two main ones that we study today are anandamide and 2-AG. Each endocannabinoid binds to both cannabinoid receptors but has a stronger bond with a specific receptor. Anandamide binds mainly to the CB1 receptor while 2-AG binds to the CB2 receptor.
Both cannabinoid receptors are found all over the body, though the CB1 receptors are more densely populated in the brain. The CB1 receptors mediate the neurological functions which include your appetite, sleep cycle, mood, and sensitivity to pain. The CB2 receptors regulate your immune functions and play a key role in reducing inflammation.
The Endocannabinoid System And Endometriosis
Scientists studied rodent models and found that CB1 receptors were found in their uterus and blastocyst which contributes to fetal implantation as well as failed implantations. With the knowledge that the endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in controlling pain sensitivity, this leaves scientists to believe that the endocannabinoid system is involved in endometriosis and its association with pain via the CB1 receptors.
Cannabidiol elevates the endocannabinoid anandamide which binds to the CB1 receptor. Through this chemical change, CBD hemp oil may be able to reduce your body’s sensitivity to pain. When anandamide binds to the cannabinoid receptor, it sends a message to the cell to stop sending out so many pain signals essentially numbing the discomfort.
Pain and inflammation go hand in hand in many cases. When any part of your body is inflamed, you’re likely to feel it. Researchers believe that cannabinoids like CBD may be able to help with the visceral pain involved in endometriosis because of its relationship to the CB2 receptor.
When inflammation occurs, it is your body’s way of attacking foreign substances, so they don’t harm your body. When you have uterine lining where it isn’t supposed to be and blood having contact with other organs, it can trigger inflammation.
By elevating the endocannabinoid 2-AG, CBD hemp oil may be able to help reduce inflammation. The endocannabinoid reaches the CB2 receptor and mediates how many attack cells are sent to an affected area. Research shows this is how it can reduce pain and inflammation on your internal organs.
Talk To Your Doctor
If you have endometriosis, you might already be on medication. If this is the case, you need to involve your doctor with your medical decisions. They can help you determine whether or not the CBD oil is going to interact with the medication they are giving you or not.
Even if you aren’t on medication, it is still always a good idea to have your doctor involved when taking any type of medication. They can help monitor you and make sure this is the best treatment option for you. After the go-ahead from your doctor, stop by our shop and check out the wide variety of options we have that may be able to get you to feel less pain so you can live your life to the fullest!
Do you have endometriosis? What have you done to help with the pain? Have you used CBD hemp oil? We would love to hear your story in the comment section below!