What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is an often-painful condition that occurs when tissue that is similar to the lining of your uterus grows outside your uterus.

The endometrial cells that attach to tissue outside the uterus are referred to as endometriosis implants. These benign implants or lesions are most often found on the:

They’re not as commonly found on the:

Even though this tissue is located outside the uterus, it continues to thicken, break down, and bleed with each menstrual cycle. A primary symptom of endometriosis is pain that can be severe, especially during menstruation.

Traditional treatment for endometriosis includes:

Some practitioners of natural healing advocate the use of essential oils for many health conditions including endometriosis.

Although few oils have enough clinically significant research to support their use as a medical treatment, there’s some mild support for their use as alternative therapies. These therapies come in the form of aromatherapy and topical application.

In a 2012 study, women using diluted lavender oil topically reported greatly reduced menstrual cramps. Advocates of natural healing suggest that women with endometriosis might realize similar benefits.

A 2006 study indicated that the severity of menstrual cramps could be effectively decreased via aromatherapy using topically applied rose, lavender, and clary sage.

Natural healers suggest that the same combination of essential oils should, in the same way, alleviate the discomfort of endometriosis.

A combination of lavender, sage, and marjoram oils were mixed with an unscented cream for a 2012 study.

In this study, participants massaged the mixture into their lower belly, starting at the end of one menstrual cycle and ending at the beginning of their next one. The women who used the cream reported less pain and discomfort during menstruation than those in the control group.

Making the connection between menstrual and endometriosis pain, practitioners of natural healing suggest that this combination of essential oils in a neutral carrier oil may be also effective for treating endometriosis.

A mixture of cinnamon, clove, lavender and rose essential oils in a base of almond oil was investigated in a 2013 clinical study. This study supported aromatherapy massage for the alleviation of menstrual pain, indicating that aromatherapy has a significant effect on pain and bleeding during menstruation.

Advocates of natural healing suggest that this mixture of essential oils in an almond oil base should also be effective in addressing the pain associated with endometriosis. They also believe that lavender and cinnamon oils both have an anxiety-reducing effect that can help in pain management.

According to the findings of a 2010 study, massage therapy can reduce the menstrual pain caused by endometriosis.

Practitioners of natural healing suggest that adding specific essential oils to the massage oil can help from a standpoint of aromatherapy, as well as the benefits of topical application.

If you’re considering using an essential oil as part of your endometriosis treatment, discuss it with your doctor. Your doctor may have advice about this type of alternative therapy. They can also let you know if a specific oil might negatively interact with medications you currently take.

Essential oils are meant to be inhaled in a diffuser, or diluted and applied to the skin. Essential oils are not meant to be swallowed. Some are toxic.

Also keep in mind that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate essential oils. Although the FDA lists the essential oils that are generally recognized as safe, they don’t inspect or test them.

Due to the lack of clinical research, it’s possible that certain side effects of an oil you’re using aren’t yet known. If you’re using an essential oil and experience anything unusual, stop using it and call your doctor.

If you’re interested in using an essential oil as part of your treatment for endometriosis, discuss the details with your doctor.

Not only can your doctor make insightful suggestions about alternative therapies, they can also monitor your reaction to them. In addition, your doctor can help you make appropriate adjustments to maximize their benefits.