Before learning about the essential oils for endometriosis it is important to know all about endometriosis, because it is not a rare condition. According to a survey of women between 15 and 44, it was found that 11% of them had Endometriosis. The problem with endometriosis is that its symptoms are often confused with other ailments and sometimes diagnosis can happen after several years. It is an intricate disease with no specific treatment.
Research has shown progress, but no concrete method of treatment has been found yet. The prevalence, distribution of the disease and even the economical burden of endometriosis has been published in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America in June 1997. (1)
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition wherein the tissues that are similar to the uterine lining start growing outside the uterus. Endometriosis is also referred to as Endo. When the tissues are found outside the uterus, particularly in the pelvic regions and the reproductive organs, it reacts to the hormonal fluctuation experienced during menstruation.
This tissue growth outside the uterus starts growing new nerves and blood vessels, which results in pain and inflammation. The long term effect of leaving Endo untreated is chronic pain and infertility. The tissue growth is also said to spread to the bladder and rectum thus causing disruption in the smooth functioning of these organs. (Essential oils for endometriosis work because it has properties that boost the functions of several body parts.)
Symptoms Of Endometriosis
As mentioned earlier, the symptoms of the ailment can be deceptive. In some people Endometriosis causes extremely painful menstruation. However, some women with endometriosis have reported only minor pain. Doctors advise that any women with severe pelvic pain must have the condition evaluated. Some of the common symptoms associated with endometriosis are: –
- Pain in the pelvic region during menstruation. The pain may persist even without menstruation.
- Inability to conceive (Infertility)
- Pain during sexual activity
- Pain during urinating or bowel movements
A study was conducted on the subject and published in the Obstetrics and Gynecology on May 1992. (2)
Some of the uncommon or regular symptoms of Endometriosis that were reported are: –
- Irregular menstruation
Causes Of Endometriosis
The exact cause of Endo is still not determined. Some of the explanations given by doctors are mentioned here. It is said that endometriosis happens in a family, which means that it may be genetic.
Other cause may be the backflow of the menstrual lining into the fallopian tubes and invade other organs. Women who start menstruating at an early age are also at risk. Retrograde menstruation is common and the immune system takes care of it. However, in some women the immune system allows the propagation of the tissues.
A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology on February 1990 concludes that estrogen production and retrograde menstruation are the main causes of endometriosis. (3)
Risk Factors For Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a common condition and 11% of women in the States are affected with it. So, who are the women most at risk of endometriosis? It is seen that endometriosis can start with the first period, but it is mostly seen in women around 40 years. It is common in:
- Women who never had children
- Family history of women with Endometriosis
- Short menstrual cycles
- Menstruation that last longer
- Any medical condition that blocks the flow of menstrual blood
Treatment Of Endometriosis
Medications and surgeries are the ways of treating endometriosis. These are treatments and cures and both methods have its pluses and minuses. Doctors however recommend medications. And since estrogen promotes endometriosis, medications that lower estrogen are suggested. Some treatment that help as follows: –
- Birth control pills
- Pain medications
- Hormonal intrauterine device
- Strict dietary rules.
- Physical activity
- Herbal supplements
Essential Oils For Endometriosis
Essential oils do not cure endometriosis; however, essential oils and aromatherapy with essential oils do treat the conditions and its symptoms. Essential oils are an excellent supplementary treatment for endometriosis. It is one of those conditions where blends of essential oils offer more support than standalone oils. Using an essential oil (sometimes even a drop) address the pain and is used as complementary therapy for endometriosis treatment.
Also there is a need for more research on how essential oils have an effect on endometriosis. There are a few researches that have shown that using essential oils in inhalation aromatherapy or massage aromatherapy can lower the symptoms of endometriosis.
A study published on November 2018 in the Journal of Clinical Medicine evaluated the effect of essential oils in reducing the pain during primary dysmenorrheal. The results that aromatherapy, both inhalation and topical application, could reduce the pain of primary dysmenorrhea. (4)
A study published in 2018 has shown that using essential oils in aromatherapy (massage oil) could lower the pain associated with pain of primary dysmenorrheal.
So, what are some of the essential oils that are used in treating endometriosis symptoms?
Lavender Essential Oil
The effect of aromatherapy massage with lavender essential oil was evaluated in a study published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. The research published on February 2015 used lavender essential oil to massage women having menstruation and their pain level was measured.
The study conclude that massage aromatherapy with lavender oil decreased the pain caused by primary dysmenorrheal. (5) Women suffering with endometriosis may have a similar effect on their pain when massaged with lavender oil.
Blend of Lavender, Clary sage and Marjoram Essential Oils
Clary sage essential oil from Salvia sclarea has an estrogen (hormone) balancing effect. It also calms the nervous system, soothes the mind during mood swings and ease the discomfort due to PMS. Lavender essential oil meanwhile takes care of stress and sleeplessness.
It has anti-inflammatory properties that can take care of chronic pain. Marjoram oil lowers elevated blood pressure levels and relieves menstrual cramps. It also relieves digestion issues including bloating.
A study in March 2012 assessed the analgesic components of combination essential oils and how it translated while treating menstrual cramps with primary dysmenorrheal. It was reported that aromatic oil massage with essential oils blend of lavender, Clary sage and marjoram oils on the abdominal area (lower belly) lowered the duration of menstrual pain and offered relief from primary dysmenorrheal (pain relief). The components responsible for these effects are linalyl acetate, linalool and eucalyptol. (6)
A blend consisting of Lavender, Clary sage and Marjoram Essential Oils have analgesic properties due to ingredients including linalyl acetate, linalool and eucalyptol. These give relief from primary dysmenorrheal and symptoms.
Blend Of Lavender, Clove, Cinnamon And Rose Essential Oils
A study was conducted with a mixture of lavender, clove, cinnamon and rose essential oils which were mixed with a carrier oil of almond oil base. This blend was topically applied on the abdomen. It was observed that applying the oil lowered menstrual pain and the bleeding significantly.
It was concluded that applying essential oils as a part of aromatherapy massage lowered the pain and discomfort associated with endometriosis. It is common knowledge that inhaling the aroma of essential oils lowered the stress and anxiety and calmed the mind. Participant reported less pain because of its natural healing ability.
Blend of Lavender, Clary sage and Rose Essential Oils
A randomized clinical trial done on August 2006 and published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine explored the effect of aromatherapy on menstrual cramps. 67 female college students participated in the study. These women had more than normal pain during their menstrual cycle.
It found that topical application of lavender, Clary sage, and rose essential oils reduced the severity of menstrual cramps. (7) The oils can be diffused using an aroma diffuser as well.
The essential oils of lavender, Clary sage, and rose have therapeutic properties that can lower the pain associated with menstruation as well as the cramps.
Other essential oils that may be used in the treatment of endometriosis are Roman chamomile, Frankincense and Ylang ylang essential oils.
How To Choose Essential Oils For Endometriosis
Essential oils are complementary solutions to treating the issue of endometriosis. However, consult with a doctor to know if the essential oil will have any adverse reactions to the medicine that you are taking. While using essential oils make sure that you do not ingest the oil unless explicitly stated by a gynecologist. Also remember that essential oils are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration or FDA; hence, buy these oils from reputed vendors.
How To Use Essential Oils For Endometriosis
Essential oils are generally considered to be safe if the instructions are followed carefully. It is also imperative to consult a doctor to know whether a particular essential oils is safe for you, especially if you are on any other medications. As you might know, essential oils are plant oils in its concentrated form. It is imperative that these oils be diluted before applying on the skin. If the raw oil touches the skin there is a possibility that it may cause rashes and redness.
Topical Application – Generally essential oils for endometriosis are applied topically. To apply the essential oil on the skin it must be diluted with carrier oils. Some of the carrier oils are – coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil, olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, almond oil and jojoba oil.
Usually 4 to 5 drops of essential oils are mixed with two table spoons of carrier oil and massaged on the lower abdominal region and upper thighs. However, make sure that you do not apply the oils near or inside the genital region.
Inhalation Aromatherapy – Essential oils are known for calming the mind and the nerves. The discomfort caused by endometriosis can be unsettling for many women. Aromatherapy for endometriosis will help calm the mind. An aroma diffuser is needed for the purpose. However, the oils can be added to steam and it can be inhaled as well.
Here, a few drops of essential oils are added to the diffuser and the aroma is allowed to spread in the room. Relax your mind and inhale the aroma, if possible in a meditative stance. Inhalation of the aroma also lowers the pain.
Hot compresses – Sometimes the pain subsides when a hot compress is applied to the abdomen. It can be done in two ways. A compress pouch can be filled with warm water and applied on the abdomen after massaging the abdomen with essential oil mix.
Or, essential oils can be added to warm water and a cloth can be dipped in this water and applied on the abdomen. Both these methods help alleviate pain and discomfort and form an excellent complementary treatment for endometriosis.
Safety and Precaution When Using Essential Oils
Essential oils are great for self-care. However, we should also take care and caution when using them to keep ourselves safe. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.
- Read the label and instructions to make sure you’re using the oil correctly. This avoids side effects.
- Make sure to dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil for safe application.
- Avoid using essential oils of sensitive areas like the eyes and nose.
- Don’t apply it on broken skin either unless it’s mentioned on the bottle or label.
- Keep it out of reach of kids and fur kids.
- Some oils may make you sensitive to sun damage, so be sure to load up on SPF.
- If you show signs of irritation, stop use and consult a health professional.
- Essential oil is not intended to diagnose any illness or prevent any disease.
- Do a small patch test before first use.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate essential oils.
(The research article mentioned here has strict sourcing guidelines and is from reputed academic research institutions and peer-reviewed studies.)
Frequently Asked Questions
What essential oil helps with endometriosis?
The essential oils that help with endometriosis in reducing the discomfort and pain as the following: –
1. Lavender essential oil
2. Clary sage essential oil
3. Rose essential oil
4. Marjoram essential oil
5. Eucalyptus essential oil
6. Clove essential oil
7. Cinnamon essential oil
Does frankincense help with endometriosis?
Frankincense essential oil is used for treating or mitigating the symptoms of endometriosis. However, there is no research on the use of frankincense for endometriosis. However, the oil has a soothing effect and anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that eases the discomfort caused by endometriosis. It also relaxes the mind when used in aromatherapy.
Does peppermint oil help endometriosis?
Peppermint essential oil has menthol which has a cooling effect on the body when applied topically. The oil has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that ease the discomfort caused by endometriosis and menstrual cramps. The oil is blended with other essential oils for endometriosis.
- Brenda Eskenazi PhD, Marcella L.Warner PhD. Volume 24, Issue 2, 1 June 1997, Pages 235-258. EPIDEMIOLOGY OF ENDOMETRIOSIS. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0889854505703028.
- Fedele L, Bianchi S, Bocciolone L, Di Nola G, Parazzini F. (1992). Pain symptoms associated with endometriosis. https://europepmc.org/article/med/1565363.
- Robert L.Barbieri MD. Volume 162, Issue 2, February 1990, Pages 565-567. Etiology and epidemiology of endometriosis. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/000293789090430F.
- Myeong Soo Lee Hye Won Lee ,Mohamed Khalil ,Hyun Suk Lim andHyun-Ja Lim. (2018). Aromatherapy for Managing Pain in Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review of Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trials. https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/7/11/434/htm.
- Froozan Bakhtshirin, Sara Abedi, Parisa YusefiZoj and Damoon Razmjooee. (2015). The effect of aromatherapy massage with lavender oil on severity of primary dysmenorrhea in Arsanjan students. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325408/.
- Ming-Chiu Ou,Tsung-Fu Hsu,Andrew C. Lai,Yu-Ting Lin,Chia-Ching Lin. (2012). Pain relief assessment by aromatic essential oil massage on outpatients with primary dysmenorrhea: A randomized, double-blind clinical trial. https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1447-0756.2011.01802.x.
- Sun-Hee Han , Myung-Haeng Hur, Jane Buckle, Jeeyae Choi, Myeong Soo Lee. (2006). Effect of aromatherapy on symptoms of dysmenorrhea in college students: A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16884344/.