High blood pressure is one of many comorbidities linked to endometriosis. This is largely due to the inflammatory nature of this disease. And, its ability to not only impact reproductive health but the entire body. So, while there are factors that increase an endo sufferer’s risk of high blood pressure. There are also ways to prevent the onset of this condition.
High Blood Pressure & Endometriosis: What To Know
There are three risk factors that can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure with endometriosis. These risk factors are chronic inflammation, NSAID use, and specific endometriosis treatments.
Endometriotic lesions are known as contributors to ongoing inflammation in the body. This is due to the irritation they cause on and within areas, they’ve implanted on. Consequently, the inflammatory process creates pro-inflammatory proteins that are released into the bloodstream. Studies show that elevated levels of pro-inflammatory markers may increase the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Specifically, C-Reactive protein (CRP). Furthermore, these inflammatory proteins may contribute to the build-up of bad cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins, LDL) within the arteries.
Use of NSAID’s
The use of anti-inflammatory medication whether over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription is a helpful tool for pain management and reduction of inflammation. However, they are notorious for causing issues with fluid retention and kidney function. Thus, contributing to elevated blood pressure levels. And, presenting a problem for those that need to use these medications daily. Additionally, consuming a high dose increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Specifically, ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve).
Currently, there is no known cure for endometriosis. And to add insult to injury there’s a serious lack of qualified specialists to properly treat endo. Thus a web of misinformation and inadequate treatments is created. This includes dated treatment methods such as hormonal birth control pills (BCP). Particularly, the combination birth control pill which contains synthetic estrogen. It’s typically prescribed to endo patients as a way to manage painful periods, ovulation pain, and suppress the growth of endometriotic lesions. In reality, it only serves to mask symptoms and increase hormonal imbalance. Which increases misdiagnosis and improper treatment. To top it all off the birth control pill is also linked with contributing to high blood pressure, heart disease, and blood clots.
Then there are more invasive treatments such as Lupron and Orlissa which shut down the ovaries. Therefore, causing a medically induced menopause which is supposed to help with decreasing estrogen dominance and slow regrowth. Yet, this treatment does none of these things and has a high list of adverse side effects. On the other hand, dated surgical treatments such as hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy (removal of both ovaries) in an attempt to balance hormones, decrease pain and stop regrowth can also be problematic. The issue with both of these treatment options is that in many cases a woman is being encouraged to undergo medically induced menopause (whether short-term or long-term). Thus, depleting the estrogen levels. Therefore, impacting the elasticity of the heart and blood vessels within the body. As well as causing good cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins, HDL) to decrease while bad cholesterol increases (LDL). Hence, increasing the risk of high blood pressure and contributing to heart disease.
Decreasing Your Risk
The first step in decreasing your risk is to educate yourself. Increasing your awareness regarding your disease, available treatment options, and symptom management is empowering. Thus, allowing you the knowledge to advocate for your health and care. Two great ways to explore when it comes to decreasing your risk of high blood pressure include lowering inflammation and managing pain homeopathically when possible.
Lower Your Inflammation
Making wellness-based lifestyle changes can help with combating inflammation. Therefore, helping to overcome chronic pain. It doesn’t have to be complex. Simple adjustments such as:
- Eating colorful fruits and vegetables
- Consuming whole grains and omega 3 fatty acids
- Decrease food triggers and food intolerances
- Focusing on gentle intentional exercise
These little nutritional and lifestyle changes can decrease the inflammatory cycle in your body.
Natural Pain Management Options
To be clear there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking NSAIDs or prescription pain meds. Especially if you’re battling with intense pain daily. Yet, there’s no harm in exploring homeopathic pain management options. You may find that some of these alternative methods work to decrease pain. Or, they may help decrease the dosage you require for your pain medication. Either way, this can definitely help decrease your risk of high blood pressure. Some options to look into include:
- Massage Therapy and cupping
- Chiropractic care
- TENS Unit
Do What’s Best For You
Indeed, living with endometriosis increases your risk of developing additional chronic conditions. This includes conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Thankfully becoming proactive about your health can decrease your risk. Simple habits to develop include working with your medical team to monitor your blood pressure. Especially if you’re taking medications, or treatments that increase your risk of high blood pressure. Furthermore, you may find it beneficial to work with a wellness coach. A wellness coach can help you create healthy lifestyle habits to improve your symptoms. They can guide you through nutritional adjustments, habit-building, as well as assist you with finding the type of exercise that works for you.
While endometriosis can be a scary and frustrating challenge at times. The more you know and learn the better you’ll be able to do what’s best for you and your health.
- Hypertension | Volume 70, Number 1 | Association Between Endometriosis, Hypercholesterolemia or Hypertension | Fan Mu, Janet Rich-Edwards, Eric B. Rimm, Donna Spiegelman, John P Forman, Stacey A. Missmer | Originally published May 30, 2017
- American Heart Association | Women with Endometriosis May Have A Higher Risk of Heart Disease | written by American Heart Association News, published March 29, 2016
- WebMD | Medications That Cause High Blood Pressure | By WebMD Medical Reference, reviewed by James Beckermann MD, FACC on September 6, 2019
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