(Endometriosis and menstrual pain)
Menstrual pain can make life unpleasant. Seven of ten menstruating women suffer from these pains. Dysmenorrhoea is the medical term for abdominal pain during menstruation. The primary pain is caused by ovulation; this condition is called primary dysmenorrhoea. One of the most common causes of secondary dysmenorrhoea is endometriosis. Over 10% of women suffer from endometriosis.
In addition, pelvic pain occurs due to excessive irritation of pelvic nerves. This is also known as pelvic pain syndrome. Finally, there is also the chronic bladder pain syndrome. Some women can even experience a combination of these different pain syndromes.
Signs and symptoms
- Abdominal pain during menstruation (primary dysmenorrhoea)
- Severe abdominal pain during menstruation (secondary dysmenorrhoea)
- Pain during intercourse and after penetration
- Pain during urination and emptying the bowels
- Pelvic pain/chronic pelvic pain
- Neuropathic pain
Menstrual pain and endometriosis develop during women’s fertile period.
Endometriosis is a chronic disorder in which tissue from the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside the endometrium. Endometriosis can damage nerves when it develops in the uterine and the pelvic cavity where there are many nerves. Endometriosis can also cause in-growth of nerves, which subsequently causes neuropathic pains. There is a higher concentration of mast cells in areas of endometriosis, which can cause an inflammatory response and make the nerves more sensitive.
Diagnosing endometriosis is fairly simple. Continuous pelvic pain and low back pain are typical symptoms of this disorder, as well as pain during intercourse (especially in cases of deep penetration). You might notice blood in the urine or defecation. Nevertheless, the diagnosis is only final when a gynaecologist has taken a look in the abdominal cavity by means of an endoscopy and has taken a biopsy for confirmation.
Neuropathic pain questionnaires, such as the DN-4 (a 4-question questionnaire about neuropathic pain that was developed by a French research group), can indicate whether the pain is neuropathic.
Diagnosing unexplainable vaginal pain, vulvodynia and the bladder pain syndrome is more difficult; it can only be established after ruling out other causes, such as infections, skin diseases and cancer.
Endometriosis pain is very difficult to treat. The rampant growing tissue can be surgically removed, but usually it grows back. Analgesics, such as Ibuprofen, often cause heavier menstrual bleeding, even bleeding in the stomach, and can also cause stomach pain. The side-effects alone of these types of analgesics lead to many deaths per year.
Recognising neuropathic pain is important in order to get optimal therapy. There is a higher concentration of mast cells in areas of endometriosis, which can cause an inflammatory reaction and make the nerves more sensitive. This can result in neuropathic pain.
PEA calms the overactive uterine and nerve tissue. It contains the activated mast cells and in this way functions as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. The mechanism of action of this analgesic perfectly fits the body’s analgesic mechanisms of action.
Various studies have examined the effect of PEA on endometriosis complaints. Pelvic pain and pain during intercourse in particular were unpleasant for many women and the positive effects of PEA were precisely the greatest in these areas. In addition to pain reduction, echograms also showed that endometriosis areas appeared to have shrunk slightly after treatment with PEA. Thanks to the positive effect of PEA, women were able to reduce the use of other analgesics, which sometimes made the side-effects also disappear.
In addition, echograms also show that after treatment with PEA, endometriosis areas shrink.
In 2010 and 2011, results were presented in various conferences, including in Montpellier (39), Parma (40) and Pars (41).
PEA is a 100% natural remedy. In order to get the most out of PEA, it is recommended to use PEA for at least two months.
If after one month, you have the feeling that PEA is not working optimally, you can double the dosage.
The use of PEA over a period of two months is a realistic evaluation period. After these two months, you can determine the follow-up treatment.
After all, some patients might respond more slowly because the effects of PEA occur through the natural mechanism of the body.
The two most common PEA products on the market are PeaPure, produced by JP Russel Science Ltd, which is a supplement that can be ordered worldwide and PEA tablets, produced by Epitech Group S.r.l., an Italian preparation available in pharmacies in Italy and Spain, among others places.