As information about CBD (Cannabidiol) oil circulates and people are continuously giving testimony to its wonder effects in the treatment of many health conditions, it is not uncommon it should make its way into the world of Endometriosis treatment. Before we begin to talk about the role CBD oil plays in the treatment for Endometriosis, it important to have knowledge of what both are, independent of each other.
What is CBD?
CBD (Cannabidiol) is found in cannabis and has shown to have massive benefits in the treatment and management of multiple medical conditions.
CBD is the compound in cannabis that does not give people the “high” psychoactive feeling like its counterpart THC.
CBD dominant cannabis is used in the treatment and management of various medical conditions such as chronic pain management, mental health and cognitive disorders, seizure disorders and chronic inflammation.
If CBD can provide people with chronic illness relief without the side effects of a THC high, it seems like a win-win for the medical community.
The last symptom listed, chronic inflammation, connects the link of treatment with CBD oil and Endometriosis, a disease that affects 10% of women worldwide.
Endometriosis is a common health issue for many women with very little facts known about how it develops or how to treat it.
Endometriosis is a condition where the endometrial tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus and attaches itself to other parts inside the body. These growths, sometimes called deposits are more likely found to attach themselves on female reproductive organs like the ovaries, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus.
It can also grow in areas around the reproductive system like the vagina, cervix, uterine tissue, and pelvis, bowels, urinary tract, intestines and abdominal wall.
Why is this painful? Inflammation.
The inflamed adhesions cause severe pain and swelling of the locations in which they are attached, which in turn makes it easier for it to attach itself to other places in the reproductive cavity. In some rare cases, endometriosis has been known to attach itself to the lungs and brain.
What are the symptoms of Endometriosis?
Symptoms of endometriosis can vary in severity from case to the amount of deposits, or adhesions, has no correlation with the severity of pain. For instance, a woman with very few adhesions can suffer a great deal of pain while someone with many adhesions might never know they have the disease. With that in mind, here are a few of the many symptoms in which women with endometriosis suffer:
- – Serious painful cramps during menstrual period, that becomes more chronic and severe over time.
- – Chronic pain in the lower back and pelvis
- – Painful intercourse, during or after sometimes resulting in bleeding.
- – Pain in digestive and intestinal tract and bowels with diarrhea, constipation, bloating and nausea (often mistaken for IBS).
- – Pain in urinary tract, often mistaken for a UTI of bladder infection.
- – Bleeding between menstrual periods
- – Inability to get pregnant
- – Fatigue, muscle weakness.
Why does endometriosis cause so much pain and other health issues?
Even though women with endometriosis are more susceptible to certain types of cancers, endometrial deposits are not cancerous, but benign growth. To understand fully how an endometriosis affects a woman’s body, it’s important to know how a woman’s cycle works. On a monthly basis, as hormones are released, tissue and blood vessels build up in the lining of the uterus. If there is no pregnancy that month, that lining is shed in a women’s menstrual period.
When a woman has endometriosis, those growths within her body respond as the lining of the uterus would. They accumulate more tissue and blood and become inflamed causing severe pain and scar tissue. The more tissue that accumulates the worse the disease gets. Endometrial growths ‘feed’ so to speak and grow from tissues and blood that shed in to other areas inside the body instead of coming out through a menstrual period. As it grows, it can accumulate over the ovaries or fallopian tubes, causing blood to become trapped in the form of cysts. Severe inflammation from the car tissue and adhesions can sometimes bind organs together and thus causing other health issue, most commonly in the bowel and bladder. The scar tissue can also make it very difficult for a woman to become pregnant, sometimes resulting in infertility.
How Does CBD Help With Endometriosis Treatment?
Treatment for Endometriosis is limited, or rather; it is limited in treatments that work. Most GYN’s are not specialized in the most effective way to treat Endometriosis, excision surgery. There are few MD’s who can actually perform excision with expertise in cutting out all of the disease from affected areas.
Most GYN’s try to treat Endometriosis with suppressing estrogen, which Endo adhesions need to grow, multiply and be active. They will treat with birth control pills, Lupron (originally developed for prostate cancer) and surgical ablation (burning adhesions, creating more scar tissue).
All of the treatments that the majority of GYN’s use for Endometriosis come with nasty side effects.
Lupron is becoming the ‘drug’ of choice in treatment.
It over stimulates the hormones to shut them down, forcing women into a menopausal state, which can sometimes be irreversible as well as permanent bone loss. Side effects are so severe that a patient can only be treated for 3 months at a time. It suppresses hormones, not inflammation; therefore most patients are still in a great deal of pain.
Unfortunately, most women do not have access to a specialist who can perform excision surgery and if they do, many insurance providers will not cover the cost because it is deemed not essential for treatment. Basically, there are other treatments that are cheaper so you are forced to pay for them your whole life. In addition, their side effects leave you paying more for new treatments and pills due to those side effects the ‘covered’ treatments caused. It’s a money game, plain and simple.
Even if you do have access to have excision specialist, not all cases are successful and many patients report that their symptoms come back in 6 months to a year. Support groups have been formed for women around the world to share their thoughts and emotions about a disease that so few have knowledge about. They share their treatments of what has been successful and what has not. Many people who have not had excision and do not have the means to do so have relied heavily on narcotic pain medication and anti-depressants. Obviously, this causes more problems for women while putting a band aid on the symptoms.
The Endocannabanoid System runs off of endocannabanoid chemicals. These chemicals help balance many important bodily functions. Some of these functions include immune system and pain Reponses. The body has CB1(found in the brain) and CB2(found in the immune system) receptors, both of which are found in immune cells.
It has been shown that when these receptors are further stimulated, it helps the regulate pain and immune system response (reducing inflammation). It is only speculated that Endometriosis could be auto immune but none the less, the inflammation response of adhesions is the top factor in causing severe pain in patients with Endometriosis.
CBD is known to reduce inflammation in individuals with or without auto immune diseases by limiting the immune response and releasing anti inflammatory properties.
In addition, women with endometriosis tend to have or be more susceptible to other diseases, such as auto immune (Hashimotos, Lupus, RA, MS to name few) as well as certain types of cancer and anxiety/depression.
Research shows that CBD oil not only suppresses the immune response reducing symptoms of highly inflammatory diseases but is also known to shrink tumors in certain types of cancers as well as relief from anxiety and depression that often comes with having a chronic illness.
Having an option that treats more than one symptom with little to no side effects and is actually a success, is here. CBD in high doses is a benefit to any individual with a chronic illness. Women within the endometriosis community are finally finding an alternative to narcotics and starting to have hope in their journey to wellness and managing their disease.