Endometriosis leg pain relief: Causes, symptoms and treatments
Explore relief for leg pain caused by Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a condition commonly found in women which causes chronic pain. Pain occurs because tissue similar to the lining of the uterus starts to grow in places outside the uterus, for example around the ovaries and in the fallopian tubes. According to endometriosis.org the condition is estimated to affect 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years (between the ages of 15-49).
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful disorder that can affect women of almost any age, although it is most common in women in their 30s and 40s. In the UK alone, approximately 1.5 million people are living with the condition, according to Endometriosis UK. Endometriosis is caused when tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus (called the endometrium) is found outside uterus, where it causes chronic inflammation that can result in scar tissue. The endometriosis tissue is usually found around the pelvic and reproductive area, but in rare cases it has been found in the diaphragm and lungs.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
The primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, like the sort associated with period pain. However, those suffering from endometriosis typically describe pain from the condition as feeling far worse than menstrual cramps. Key symptoms include:
- Pelvic pain, this might be a dull ache or a sharp stabbing pain.
- Painful periods, this pain may begin several days before a menstrual period and can be sufficiently severe to prevent normal activities.
- Pain in the lower tummy or back that becomes worse during periods.
- Pain during or after sex.
- Excessive bleeding, both during a period and intermenstrual bleeding between periods.
- Pain when going to the toilet, particularly during a period.
- Feelings of sickness, constipation, diarrhoea or bloating, especially during a period.
- Leg pain, endometriosis can affect the nerves along the hips, groin and legs leading to leg cramps or sharp leg pain.
- Lower back pain.
Endometriosis can cause leg pain because tissue similar to that of the uterus spreads throughout the pelvis, putting pressure on nerves that send signals through the legs.
During your period the inner lining of the uterus sheds in response to changing hormone levels. For those who suffer from endometriosis, the endometrial-like growths also respond to this hormone change by shedding, however unlike normal uterine tissue, endometrial-like tissue has nowhere to go.
The resulting inflammation puts pressure on nerves such as the sciatic nerve. This nerve runs from the lower back all the way to the foot. Endometriosis leg pain can be caused when pressure is placed on the pelvic nerves or sciatic nerve.
Endometriosis can put pressure on the nerves in the pelvis and in the leg. This can result in pain that radiates throughout the pelvis and down into the hips and thighs. This pain is described as a sharp, aching or cramping sensation that may come and go in waves.
Some people describe endometriosis leg pain as radiating all the way down to the knees. While pain is one symptom, numbness, tingling or spasms can also occur.
Endometriosis pain can range from mild to severe. It is considered a chronic condition, with treatment aimed at controlling symptoms. Some of the pain relief measures available include:
- Heat – using a hot water bottle or taking a hot bath can help to reduce endometriosis symptoms in some sufferers.
- Painkillers – like ibuprofen or paracetamol are widely used to manage endometriosis pain.
- Physiotherapy – physiotherapists can develop a programme of exercise and relaxation techniques designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and reduce pain.
- Pain clinics – some hospitals offer pain clinics to people suffering from chronic conditions like endometriosis.
- Electrotherapy – using electrical waves or pulses to stop pain signals travelling through the nerve to the brain
BiowaveGO has been clinically proven to be an effective therapy for treating chronic pain. This small, portable device delivers long-lasting pain relief following just one 30-minute treatment, and begins working immediately.
- Electric waves block pain directly at the nerve for an effectiveendometriosis treatmentthat is 100% drug-free and without side effects.
- Simply place theelectrodes over the pelvis area, where it is most painful.
- Alternatively some sufferers report pain relief by placing the pads on the outside of the foot, in between the ankle and the achillies tendon. This is known as posterior tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS).
- Turn on your device for a30-minute treatment session.
- BioWave has an immediate effect, but there is also a cumulative effect on the nerve signals so prolonged used might have additional benefits.
- Ourrevolutionary pain-relieftechnology provideslastingrelief for up to eight hours.
Endometriosis surgery helps to alleviate pain by removing the endometrial cells from the body, and – although radical sounding – is a widely used form of treatment. Broadly speaking, there are two surgical options:
- Conservative surgery removes the deposits of endometriosis, while preserving the uterus and ovaries. It is a relatively minor, usually keyhole, surgery.
- Radical surgery refers to a hysterectomy, the removal of the uterus, or an oophorectomy, the removal of the ovaries – or both.
Endometriosis Leg Pain: Hormones
Because endometriosis responds and grows when exposed to the female hormone oestrogen, blocking or reducing the production of oestrogen in the body helps to relieve symptoms. Common hormone treatments for endometriosis include:
- Combined oral contraceptive pill (‘the Pill’).
- Mirena coil or intrauterine system (IUS) – similar to the coil, this releases a small amount of the hormone progestogen into the uterus.
- Progesterone steroids.
- Drugs like Danazol or Gestrinone – these release small amounts of the male hormone, testosterone.