Adrenal Fatigue and the Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis

The signs and symptoms of endometriosis are experienced by many sufferers of Adrenal Fatigue. Is there a connection?When the inner lining of the uterus, which is called the endometrium, becomes inflamed, this condition is called endometriosis. The most common cause is a hormone overload or imbalance, generally stemming from the hormone estrogen. Some common signs and symptoms of endometriosis include heavy periods, abdominal pain, pain during intercourse, bowel movements or exercise, and even infertility. About 20%–40% of infertile women are affected.

Normal uterine tissues thicken and break down during the menstrual cycle, which partially explains why some women will experience pain before their periods. Endometriosis also occurs when the uterine-lining tissue develops outside the uterus, which includes such areas as the exterior of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and intestines. As the excess misplaced tissue starts to engorge from the effects of circulating reproductive hormones, certain areas or organs of the body can feel pressure, resulting in pain before periods. Endometriosis can actually lead to cysts and scar tissue.

Endometriosis is conventionally dealt with in several ways. It may be relieved with pain medications, a variety of different hormone therapies, conservative surgery, or a hysterectomy. Although some of these traditional remedies might be useful, the exact cause of the condition must be fully understood because, although they have possible benefits, they may also pose great risk and harm.

Estrogen and Progesterone

To look at the signs and symptoms of endometriosis you need to look at estrogen production. Three main areas of the body are responsible for estrogen production: fat cells, ovaries and the adrenal glands; this is where the connection between endometriosis and Adrenal Fatigue occurs.

Estrogen can be high, either on an absolute basis, such as taking in external estrogen with an oral contraceptive, or it can also be high on a relative basis, usually in comparison with progesterone, the body’s natural opposing hormone to estrogen. This relative increase, when excessive, is also known as estrogen dominance (ED). With ED, laboratory estrogen levels can be normal, yet in an excessive estrogen state, because estrogen dominance may be related to a body that lacks the proper amount of progesterone, which functions specifically by offsetting or counterbalancing estrogen. If not enough progesterone is present, estrogen levels will naturally rise.

Most hormones and even compounds have opposing patterns that occur in the body. Calcium, for example, counteracts magnesium, sodium counteracts potassium, and copper opposes zinc. This process is how the body strikes a natural balance through different vital elements.

When suffering from both conditions, it can be hard to identify the signs and symptoms of endometriosis vs. those of Adrenal Fatigue.Estrogen and progesterone certainly fall into this same category and are part of the pattern. When the amount of estrogen is high relative to the amount of progesterone in a woman’s body, this inevitably leads to estrogen dominance, even if estrogen levels are normal. Progesterone is very important in the body, which is why having an insufficient amount can be damaging.

Estrogen dominance occurs quite often when a woman goes through menopause. During menopause, while both progesterone and estrogen levels start to decline, progesterone levels decline much more drastically, which results in a relatively higher level of estrogen compared with the amount of progesterone.

Cause of Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a very common issue and directly related to estrogen levels. When progesterone and estrogen are both in balance, a woman will be healthy and generally feel good, but issues develop whenever an excess amount of estrogen is present.

The more estrogen in the body, the thicker the uterine lining becomes during menses, which results in heavier bleeding when the time comes. With heavier bleeding, a greater chance exists for the endometrial tissue that is getting sloughed off to be misplaced or travel to other parts of the body, which can then result in endometriosis.

Signs of Estrogen Dominance

What is estrogen’s function in the female human body and where does it travel? Estrogen is particularly important because it builds up in the uterine lining on a regular monthly schedule, which causes the menses to become heavier. When too much estrogen is present, a woman generally experiences heavy bleeding during her cycle.

Several other indicators may alert a woman that her estrogen levels are too high. These include endometriosis, fibrocystic breast disease, PCOS, and fibroids. In the most severe cases, endometrial cancer can occur.

Endometriosis and Adrenal Fatigue

Progesterone levels can be affected by cortisol levels or steroids, which are downstream hormones. This is generally what occurs when the body suffers from Adrenal Fatigue. There may also be shunting of progesterone which causes estrogen dominance.

It is easy for an individual to be affected by PMS, heavy periods and signs and symptoms of endometriosis, but have no idea as to the inherent cause. If the condition is evaluated thoroughly enough, the answer may be revealed; for example, Adrenal Fatigue may be a factor, and/or other causes may be involved.

What’s important is to understand that endometriosis is not the core problem, but it is a symptom. If only the symptom is corrected, then the body does not recover to full health. It is not unusual to look closely at the signs and symptoms of endometriosis and see that it is connected to an estrogen hormonal imbalance and consequently often related to Adrenal Fatigue.

Without properly understanding a specific health concern, it is difficult to determine the correct course of action for anyone’s health problems, so it is especially important for a proper health plan to be developed that will lead to a full recovery. For more information, please see the article “Estrogen Dominance,” Linked above.

© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Signs and symptoms of endometriosis
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Dear Dr. Lam
I am an endocrinologist from Armenia. I have found your website 2 years ago, I always read your articles and treat my patients according your advices and have great results. Thank you very much for wonderful information.
Thank you.