Endometriosis. A psychological-archetypal reading

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Endometriosis is, now, a widespread disease. In the European Union 14 million women suffer from it, or 10% of the European female population (data from 2019). 20% of them are of childbearing age.

 40% of affected women have difficulty reproducing. Pelvic pain is predominant.

(Source: XIV / Senate of the Republic XIV Legislature 12th Permanent Commission (Hygiene and Healthcare) Session No. 308 Cognitive Survey on the Phenomenon of Endometriosis 295 as Social Illness. 9th Shorthand Report, 2006. – Nnoham et Al. Fertil & Steril, 2011).

stylized female reproductive system

From a physiological point of view, it is the internal mucosa of the uterus (Endometrium), which is placed in different locations than its normal location (the uterine cavity). It is a tissue that we call ectopic, that is, out of the uterus cavity and which is however subject to the same hormonal changes of the endometrium. Conclusion: even this ectopic tissue menstruates. The substantial difference is that normal tissue inside the uterus menstruates and normally comes out with menstruation. Instead, the menstrual blood of the ectopic tissue is collected in areas out of  the uterus such as, for example, the ovaries, where endometriotic ovarian cysts are therefore formed. These cysts are called in the gynecological area “chocolate cyst”. In fact, when the surgeon incises the cyst, a dark brown fluid comes out due to the blood that has collected over time and which has oxidized assuming the classic chocolate color.

The mini collections of blood and the adhesions that are formed between nearby organs, will be the cause of even severe pelvic pain and pain during sexual intercourse.

Conventional medicine has no answers about why this mucous membrane is placed in the wrong parts.

Reading through “archetypal” psychology.

Symbolically, it is a part of the unconscious femininity that is in a wrong and therefore dangerous place! Here the woman “moves” part of femininity (mucous membrane that is positioned outside), consequently damaging herself. This disease shows us how female activity forces the opposite pole, then the male (Animus) to enter the wrong place, which is where the mucous membrane is positioned.

Endometriosis: altered relationship between the female and male part of the woman.

One of the possible therapies is the surgical removal of the endometriotic ovarian cyst. Surgery expresses a symbolically and archetypically male activity.

If we think about it, it is an “out of place” femininity, in the sense that endometriosis forces surgery to remove the “female tissue”, to make the woman’s life more bearable! Any pain during intercourse shows that there is pain in the relationship with man. But this also means not fully accepting the role of femininity. So, when a man ‘enters’ her, she feels ‘pain’.

 Thus, thanks to endometriosis, the woman can prevent the relationship with the man and sometimes the possibility of procreation. All this is unconscious! There is no awareness! It would perhaps be healthier to keep the man consciously away from herself rather than getting sick.

 Femininity, fertility and motherhood in endometriosis

Endometriosis is often associated with dysmenorrhea and this shows how “painful” it is for women to accept the sacrificial cycle and renewal of their potential motherhood.

Infertility, which is often concomitant, demonstrates the extent to which there is a blockage, albeit unconscious towards motherhood. It is as if there was an unconscious intolerance towards men (i.e. expressed through body language), but also towards children.

 This is a rejection of what is an archetypal task for women. By this, I absolutely do not mean that a woman should feel compelled to have relationships with men or to have children. Rather, she should consciously recognize her being and her deep emotions. This will take on the psychological responsibilities of this refusal. If only to spare the discomfort that the disease entails.

Endometriosis probably reveals the difficulty of making decisions independently, the difficulty of making responsible choices. It could reveal low self-esteem and this could justify the fear of freedom … that freedom that would allow her to make choices freely. The only male who can legitimately enter her is the surgeon. And this is precisely what betrays her deepest need for reconciliation with the male world. From a psychodynamic point of view, endometriosis would fall within the former diagnosis of Hysteria, where this is interpreted as ‘unlived femininity’, as well as an unrecognized vulnerability.

Often, women with this disease are women with male characteristics, for example, they are very active in their job. They have difficulty accepting the female side and rather prefer male actions and tools. In this regard, “male words and techniques” are used to make diagnostic tests and interventions such as: biopsy, endoscopy, ultrasound, laparoscopic and traditional surgery…. All energetically and archetypically male activities and forms!

Moon. Archetype
Moon. Archetype

Archetype of the Moon

In conclusion, the woman who suffers from endometriosis should reconcile with her femininity and look for ways to better develop it. At the same time let man make man! The archetype to be integrated could be the Moon, a symbol of female reflexivity. Just as the moon allows itself to be illuminated by the sun and ‘reflecting’ its light. So, the woman could make the man illuminate her femininity!

Dr. Marco Franceschini

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