Jo and I both have endometriosis and ADHD, and other neurodiversities. The geek in me has felt the two are linked for a while, so I wanted to delve into this area. I know a fair few women in my community that are also neurodiverse and have this condition. It got me thinking of links, this is where my laser focus comes alive. Hope you find this interesting.
Endometriosis is a medical condition that affects approximately 1 in 10 women of reproductive age worldwide. It is a painful and chronic condition where the tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus, causing inflammation and scarring. Endometriosis can affect many parts of the body, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the lining of the pelvis.
Recent research has found a link between endometriosis and neurodiversity, which refers to the idea that individuals with different neurological conditions (such as autism, ADHD, and dyslexia) should be celebrated for their unique strengths and abilities. In this blog post, we will explore the link between endometriosis and neurodiversity and what it means for those who live with these conditions.
The link between endometriosis and neurodiversity
Studies have found that individuals with endometriosis are more likely to have neurological conditions such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD. In fact, one study found that women with endometriosis were twice as likely to have ADHD as those without the condition. Another study found that women with endometriosis were more likely to have depression and anxiety, as well as other chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia.
One theory for this link is that endometriosis is an inflammatory condition, and chronic inflammation has been linked to a higher risk of developing neurological conditions. Additionally, the chronic pain associated with endometriosis can cause significant stress, which can exacerbate underlying neurological conditions.
Another theory is that there may be a genetic link between endometriosis and neurodiversity. Both conditions are known to run in families, and studies have found that there may be shared genetic risk factors between endometriosis and ADHD.
Lifestyle changes and supports:
There are several lifestyle changes that may help individuals with both ADHD and endometriosis manage their symptoms:
1.Exercise regularly: Exercise has been shown to improve mood, reduce stress, and decrease inflammation. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
2.Maintain a healthy diet: A healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health.
3.Manage stress: Chronic stress can exacerbate symptoms of both ADHD and endometriosis. Practice stress-management techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
4.Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep is important for overall health and can improve symptoms of both ADHD and endometriosis. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
5.Consider cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of talk therapy that can help individuals with both ADHD and endometriosis manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
6.Consider hormone therapy: Hormone therapy, such as birth control pills or a progesterone-only intrauterine device (IUD), may help manage symptoms of endometriosis.
7.Using essential oils that are commonly used for their relaxing or pain relieving properties like peppermint, basil, clary sage, ylang ylang and lavender.
8.EFT can be used as a tool to help manage stress and anxiety, which can exacerbate symptoms of both conditions. If you are interested in trying EFT, it is important to work with a trained EFT practitioner (like Jo and I) which can guide you through the process and help you address specific issues or symptoms.
What does this mean for those with endometriosis and neurodiversity?
For individuals with endometriosis and neurodiversity, it is important to seek appropriate treatment for both conditions. Treatment for endometriosis may include pain management, hormonal therapies, or surgery. Treatment for neurodiversity may include therapy, medication, or accommodations at work or school.
It is also important for healthcare providers to be aware of the link between endometriosis and neurodiversity and to screen for neurological conditions in individuals with endometriosis. This can help ensure that those with both conditions receive appropriate treatment and support.
Finally, it is important to recognise that living with endometriosis and neurodiversity can be challenging, but it can also provide unique strengths and perspectives. By celebrating neurodiversity and advocating for better understanding and treatment of endometriosis, we can help ensure that all individuals have the support they need to live happy and healthy lives.
Martin, V. T., & Vij, B. (2014). Endometriosis and migraine: epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment. The Journal of Headache and Pain, 15(1), 1-8.
Havens, J. R., Whitaker, A. K., Feldman, S., Ewertz, E. M., & Taylor, R. N. (2021). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and endometriosis: a population-based case-control study. Journal of Women's Health, 30(7), 1028-1035.
Schumacher, C., Molsberger, F., & Mühlen, M. (2019). Endometriosis and fibromyalgia: a systematic review. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 299(2), 275-284.
D'Hooghe, T. M., & Hummelshoj, L. (2014). Multi-disciplinary centres/networks of excellence for endometriosis management and research: a proposal. Human Reproduction Update, 20(2), 309-319.
Flores, A. R., & Steinauer, J. E. (2021). Women's health and neurodiversity: a new frontier for the obstetrician-gynecologist. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 138(3), 359-365.