Endometriosis and Insomnia: Part 2
This is a continuation from Endometriosis & Insomnia: Part 1, which looked at some elements related to endometriosis and insomnia. This article will look at other elements that were not covered in the previous article. These additional issues include the effects of frequent bathroom trips, heavy flows, and depression & anxiety on sleep.
Frequent bathroom trips
Many individuals with endometriosis are subjected to painful urination and bowel movements. This can occur due to the location of the endometrial adhesions. These adhesions can cause irritation, pressure, and inflammation within the body. The endometriosis adhesions can also restrict structures within the body, such as the intestines. In some cases, the adhesions on the intestines can cause bowel blockages in which case doctors are required to remove part of the intestine. My mother had some of these issues from untreated endometriosis.
When there is a lot of pain during urination or bowel movements, some individuals end up not fully relieving themselves all at once. This can cause extra trips to the bathroom since you stay say half full. The amount of time you are able to sleep decreases with every time your body requires a visit to the bathroom. Additionally, when you are constantly getting up every now and then, it is more difficult for the body to enter the deeper levels of sleep. Many individuals also have a hard time being able to go back to sleep after being waking up.
I know from personal experience how much stress a heavy period can create. In some cases, knowing that you are bleeding heavily can cause concern about waking up to a mess from having bled through your feminine hygiene products. When my periods were uncontrollably heavy, I could go through a super tampon and pad in thirty minutes. I would always be worried about bleeding through. Additionally, sleep can be disturbed by needing to get up to change out your pads and/or tampons. This has the same affect on sleep as the frequent bathroom trips. The amount of sleep you can get along with the quality of sleep is negatively affected.
Depression and anxiety
The relationship between depression and sleep can be a cycle, much like the cycle involving pain and sleep. In some cases, an individual’s depression can lead to insomnia, or an individual’s insomnia can cause them to fall into depression. I know from my own experience with depression and insomnia that it is extremely hard to determine which issue came first. Unfortunately, my depression is now controlled but my insomnia is still a force to be reckoned with most nights. I have dealt with both the inability to fall asleep and the inability to stay asleep. This makes the insomnia difficult to treat because most medications are only designed to treat one issue or the other, not both.
The difficulty of managing insomnia in patients with endometriosis is in part due to the many elements that accompany endometriosis. It is also almost impossible at times to determine if these issues are a result of insomnia or a consequence of the effects on the body of having insomnia.
Do you know someone that has made a difference with endometriosis advocacy?