While endometriosis commonly involves ovarian cysts, period pain and abdominal discomfort, did you know that uncommon symptoms of endometriosis may also be in play and involved in the disease? Read further to learn about some of these uncommon symptoms of endometriosis.
Disclaimer: While informative, this is not medical advice to diagose or treat a medical condition. Please seek medical advice for those things.
What are Uncommon Symptoms of Endometriosis?
Some of the common endometriosis symptoms that prompt most women to seek the help of an OB/GYN are severe menstrual pain, irregular bleeding and infertility. Many women who track their cycles notice the subtleties from month to month, and learn through education what deviations from the norm mean.
However, there are a lot of symptoms that can also have a strange correlation of occurrence with endometriosis. Less wellknown symptoms include low stomach acid, histimine reaction and dysautonomia. These atypical or less wellknown symptoms you can actually impact your daily quality of life and your endometriosis progression.
- Endometriosis Flare Up: Causes, Symptoms and How to Relieve
- Endometriosis and Adenomyosis: 5+ Things You Should Know
- Integrative Medicine for Endometriosis – 5 Things to Know
Now, just because you have these symptoms does not mean you have endometriosis. Also, not everyone with endo has these uncommon symptoms of endometriosis because the flavor of endo is highly specific to each individual woman.
1) Low Stomach Acid
Many factors can inhibit one’s stomach acid. Did you know that long term stress can deplete stomach acid? It’s also true that non-stop snacking can deplete stomach acid, because enzymes are constantly being required to handle digestion and don’t have time to rest and replenish. Eating poor quality food (such as processed foods) as a staple can also inhibit stomach acid. There are load of reasons why especially in this day in age.
Low stomach acid can lead to difficulty breaking down food, especially protein. You may have felt this yourself and started a vegan or vegetarian diet largely because of the way proteins made you feel. Bloated and full with difficulty feeling like digestion would ever end.
Low stomach acid can also lead to dysbiosis because stomach acid is really good at killing off pathogens and bacteria that are on our food products. But if this line of defense is compromised, then these pathogens can get into our intestines and begin to take over.
A lot of women will raise their hand to having bloating and bowel troubles (including painful bowel movements or constipation). But it can be hard to know if you have low stomach acid, and what that all entails.
Luckily there are easy enough tests you can do from the comfort of your own home to detect this issue and a safe and effective supplement to take to help your stomach begin to produce adequate stomach acid again. (With the guidance of a health coach or practicioner is best).
Spices can increase the secretion of bile and digestive enzymes. Curcumin stimulated lipase activity by 80%, and a single dose of mint led to a 43% increase in lipase activity. Other lipase stimulating foods include garlic, onion, and ginger among many others.
(Oversimplification alert: When it comes to bloating, know that low stomach acid is only one possibility as a cause. There are many other resources for gaining a better understanding of the root cause of your bloating and gentle helps to assist with its alleviation. I merely hightlight low stomach acid as an less known uncommon symptoms of endometriosis and how it can lead to bloating in one example.)
2) Histimine Reaction
Histime reaction, or histimine intolerance as it is called occurs when a person has difficulty breaking down histimine and as a result symptoms develop. Signs of a histimine reaction include hives (itchy welts that usually turn white with a red ring around them), skin that becomes red and raised when it is gently scratched, migraines, asthma or even ADHD.
Mast Cell Activation
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) is typically diagnosed by an allergist or immunologist. The syndrome is named so because mast cells use an enzyme to make histimine out of the amino acid histidine. The mast cells release histimine in response to a variety of stimuli including food, exercise, stress and bug bites.
How is this related to women with endometriosis, you astutely ask?
Women with histamine intolerance of MCAS often have severe menstrual cramps. Estrogen and histamine strongly interact with one another and histimine actually increases the production of estrogen, which releases prostaglandin F2-alpha, and makes the uterus contract. And, estrogen also increases sensitivity to histamine.
There are many low histimine diets you could look into, and low histimine foods including nutrients which stabilize the mast cells from producing too much histimine. Some of the best evidence based foods include quercetin and astragalus (but I don’t have those links here, so make sure to look into that if you are interested).
Do note that caffeine and chocolate contains histimine.
Fatigue may be one of those uncommon symptoms of endometriosis as well. For those newer to learning about endometriosis, when you find out your fatigue has an actual cause it may feel less out of control.
Fatigue can be hard to describe to someone who does not have the chronic fagitue life experience, and it can be one of the most frustrating and destructive parts of endo in terms of managing expectations in your relationships. Have you ever had to cancel on someone because you were tired, but weren’t educated in how to explain that you have a chronic illness and have a fatigue flare up, but instead felt like or were treated as a flake and labeled a bad friend?
Dysautonomia is a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system and may affect biological processes that should work properly (sweating, heart beating, pupil dilations, etc.). Abnormal autonomic nervous system signaling is measured by low vagal tone (vagus nerve) in both mouse models and humans. In the mouse models, surgical denervation of the vagus nerve can accelerate the growth and development of endometrial lesions; disruptions can also cause changes in the body’s inflammatory response. Reduced vagal tone in women with ovarian endometriosis has been demonstrated in the literature.
Dysautonomia is a rather severe and one of those uncommon symptoms of endometriosis you may have never heard of before.
Stimulating the vagus nerve has been found to help dysautonomia.
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By becoming more educated, you can not only better understand what your body is expressing but also learn how to nourish yourself with lifestyle and holistic practices. These uncommon symptoms of endometriosis may be a part of your complex and unique endo story. Wishing light and life for you!