top of page

Sexual Trauma and Endometriosis

Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women worldwide and as many as 1 in 3 women with endometriosis have a history of sexual abuse.


The condition occurs when the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, known as the endometrium, grows outside the uterus, usually on the ovaries, fallopian tubes. The tissue continues to act as it normally would - thickening, breaking down, and bleeding - but because it has nowhere to go, it causes inflammation, scarring, and adhesions. Women with a history of childhood trauma, particularly sexual abuse, have a higher risk of developing endometriosis and experiencing chronic pelvic pain. Research suggests that as many as 1 in 3 women with endometriosis have a history of sexual abuse. In this blog post I explore the connection between childhood sexual trauma and endometriosis in adulthood. Please reach out to me if you are ready to heal the root causes. You can also listen to the podcast below where Meredith Ochoa talks about her personal experience of healing endometriosis naturally, after addressing and healing from early childhood sexual trauma.



Common Symptoms of Endometriosis


Symptoms of endometriosis vary from person to person, but common ones include:

  1. Painful periods: This is the most common symptom of endometriosis, and it is usually described as severe cramping or sharp, stabbing pain in the lower abdomen or back. The pain may start a few days before the period and last for several days.

  2. Pain during sex: Pain during intercourse, or dyspareunia, is another common symptom of endometriosis. The pain can be deep and intense and may occur during or after sex.

  3. Chronic pelvic pain: Endometriosis can cause chronic pain in the pelvic area that can be debilitating and affect a person's quality of life.

  4. Heavy periods: Women with endometriosis may experience heavier periods than usual, with more clotting and longer duration.

  5. Painful bowel movements or urination: Endometriosis can cause pain during bowel movements or urination, particularly during menstruation.

  6. Infertility: Endometriosis is a leading cause of infertility in women, and up to 50% of women with infertility may have endometriosis.

Other symptoms of endometriosis may include:

  1. Digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhoea, or bloating

  2. Fatigue

  3. Painful intercourse

  4. Infertility or difficulty getting pregnant

  5. Pain in other areas of the body such as the lower back, legs, or arms

  6. Headaches or migraines

  7. Allergies or sensitivities to certain foods or environmental factors

  8. Depression or anxiety

  9. Interstitial cystitis (chronic bladder pain)


The Psychological Impact of Endometriosis

Women with endometriosis are more likely to experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders compared to those without the condition.

A study conducted in the United States revealed that women with endometriosis reported a greater prevalence of symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. Similarly, research conducted in Brazil found that women with endometriosis experienced lower quality of life alongside heightened levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. The chronic pain and unpredictable nature of endometriosis can lead to a cascade of emotional challenges: Frustration, isolation, and feelings of hopelessness often accompany the persistent discomfort. Sexual intimacy can become difficult or shameful. This can affect a woman's self worth and close relationships. Dissociative conditions may arise, further complicating the situation as it becomes difficult to ground and be in the body


The Emotional Toll of Endometriosis

The chronic pain, unpredictable symptoms, and potential infertility associated with the condition can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and frustration. In fact, studies have shown that women with endometriosis are more likely to experience anxiety and depression than women without the condition. Research suggests that the emotional impact of endometriosis is often overlooked or dismissed by healthcare providers. A study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that women with endometriosis reported feeling that their condition was not taken seriously by their doctors, leading to feelings of frustration and helplessness. In addition, the chronic pain and unpredictable nature of endometriosis can also impact a woman's relationships, social life, and ability to work. Women may feel isolated and unable to participate in activities they once enjoyed, leading to further feelings of sadness and frustration.



How Chronic Stress & Trauma Impact Estrogen Levels

Estrogen is primarily produced in the ovaries. Throughout the menstrual cycle, estrogen levels vary depending on the stage of the cycle. This sex hormone controls the growth of the lining of the uterus in the first stage of the cycle (known as the follicular phase).


Childhood trauma, particularly sexual abuse, can cause dysregulation in the nervous system, leading to chronic stress and an imbalance in hormones such as cortisol and estrogen. This can result in an overproduction of estrogen, leading to estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance has been linked to the development and progression of endometriosis. Studies have shown that women with endometriosis have higher levels of estrogen in their pelvic fluid and tissue than women without the condition. This excess of estrogen can stimulate the growth of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus, leading to the formation of endometriosis lesions.


In summary, nervous system dysfunction and estrogen dominance are two factors that can contribute to the development and progression of endometriosis. By addressing these factors through healing, somatic reintegration of the nervous system, womb healing, lifestyle changes, stress management etc it may be possible to reduce the risk of developing endometriosis or improve symptoms.

Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

  • Tender, lumpy, and fibrocystic breasts

  • Estrogenic cancers such as breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer

  • Fibroids and uterine polyps

  • Endometriosis

  • PMS

  • Heavy periods

  • Irregular periods

  • Thyroid nodules

  • Cellulite and stubborn fat on the butt and thighs

  • Water retention

  • Weight gain, especially around the butt and hips

  • Infertility

  • Lack of ovulation

  • Mood swings and irritability

  • Headaches or migraines

  • Brain fog or difficulty concentrating

  • Decreased sex drive

  • Dry eyes, mouth, and skin

  • Decreased muscle mass and strength

  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease

  • Autoimmune disorders

  • Allergies and sensitivities

  • Gallbladder problems

  • Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhoea

  • Skin problems such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis

  • Hair loss or thinning

  • Increased body hair growth, especially on the face and arms.



How is Endometriosis Diagnosed?

key hole surgery endometreosis diagram

The diagnosis of endometriosis has increased in recent years due to increased awareness and improved diagnostic methods. A study published in the Journal of Women's Health found that the diagnosis of endometriosis increased by 46% between 2006 and 2015. Another study conducted in the United States and published in the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology found that the incidence of endometriosis diagnosis increased by 65% between 2000 and 2014.


Endometriosis is typically diagnosed through laparoscopic surgery, during which a surgeon inserts a thin tube with a camera through a small incision in the abdomen to examine the pelvis and remove any abnormal tissue. The symptoms of endometriosis can vary widely, but often include pelvic pain, painful periods, painful intercourse, heavy bleeding, and infertility.


Endometriosis is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed for years, leading to prolonged suffering and a negative impact on quality of life. It's important for women to advocate for their own health and seek medical attention if they suspect they may have endometriosis. With early diagnosis and proper treatment, many women with endometriosis are able to manage their symptoms and live fulfilling lives.



Childhood Sexual Trauma and Endometriosis

Recent research has brought forth a captivating revelation: a potential link between childhood sexual trauma and the development of endometriosis in adulthood. This emerging understanding shines a light on the intricate interplay between past experiences and the enigmatic nature of this condition.


One noteworthy study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, delved into this connection by examining the experiences of women with and without a history of childhood sexual abuse. Astonishingly, the findings revealed that women who had endured childhood sexual abuse were significantly more likely to have endometriosis compared to those without such experiences. Furthermore, the study uncovered a compelling correlation between the severity of the abuse and the likelihood of developing endometriosis. Women who had experienced more severe abuse demonstrated a higher incidence of this perplexing condition than those who had encountered milder forms of abuse.


Supporting these findings, another study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine shed light on the relationship between childhood sexual abuse and the manifestation of symptoms associated with endometriosis. The research demonstrated that women with a history of childhood sexual abuse were more prone to experiencing painful periods and chronic pelvic pain, both of which are common indicators of endometriosis.


Delving deeper into the mechanisms behind this intriguing link, scientists have discovered that childhood trauma can lead to alterations in the body's stress response system. This dysregulation impacts the intricate interplay of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a crucial hormonal network responsible for managing stress. Consequently, this dysregulation can contribute to an imbalance in estrogen levels, known as estrogen dominance, which has been associated with the development of endometriosis.


This groundbreaking research offers valuable insights into the complex relationship between childhood sexual trauma and the enigma of endometriosis. By further exploring these connections, scientists and healthcare professionals can pave the way for improved understanding, early intervention, and tailored support for those affected by this challenging condition.


Embark on a Powerful Healing Journey with This Online Course - Healing Childhood Sexual Abuse



Womb Healing Practices from the Kimiya Healing Podcast




Herbs for Endometriosis

Certain herbs have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, which may help reduce the symptoms of endometriosis.

  • Turmeric: Contains curcumin, a natural anti-inflammatory compound that has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis.

  • Ginger: Has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, and has been shown to reduce pain and menstrual bleeding associated with endometriosis.

  • Cinnamon: Has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, and may help regulate menstrual cycles in women with endometriosis.

  • Licorice root: Has been traditionally used to regulate menstrual cycles and has anti-inflammatory effects that may help reduce pain associated with endometriosis.

  • Red clover: Contains isoflavones, compounds that have estrogen-like effects and may help balance hormone levels in women with endometriosis.

  • Chasteberry: Has been shown to have a regulatory effect on hormones and may help reduce pain and other symptoms associated with endometriosis.

  • Evening primrose oil: Contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory effects and may help reduce pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis.



Supplements for Endometriosis

Supplements are often used as a complementary therapy to manage endometriosis symptoms. Here are some supplements that may be helpful:

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3s have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which can help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis.

  2. Magnesium: Magnesium is important for muscle and nerve function and can help relieve cramps and pain associated with endometriosis.

  3. Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for bone health and immune function, and may help reduce inflammation associated with endometriosis.

  4. Curcumin: Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric that has anti-inflammatory effects and may help reduce pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis.

  5. N-acetylcysteine (NAC): NAC is an antioxidant that may help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress associated with endometriosis.

  6. Iron: Endometriosis can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, which can lead to iron deficiency anemia. Iron supplements can help prevent or treat anemia.


 

You might also like to read:

bottom of page