Endometriosis

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is associated with chronic inflammation in the pelvic cavity and other sites where endometrial growths are present. What actually happens is that endometrial cells (these are the cells that shed when women have there period) of the uterus migrate to other parts of the body. Even though these cells are no longer in the uterus they continue to respond to the hormonal changes in the body. Initially the tissue responds to oestrogen and grows and proliferates, then it responds to the progesterone by growing microscopic glandular structures. When menstruation begins this tissue sheds as it would in the uterus, however there is no vaginal exit, so it starts to breakdown in the pelvic cavity  (endometriosis) or between the muscle fibres of the uterus (adenomyosis). This undischarged shed endometrial tissue, must be disposed of by the immune system and causes an inflammatory reaction. 

Where does Endometriosis occur?

Endometriosis commonly develops on the uterosacral ligaments, ovaries, and other areas inside the pelvic cavity listed below. It is believed that there is an overflow of menstrual blood (endometrial tissue) through the openings of the fallopian tubes out onto the ovaries and into the pelvic cavity. Here the tissue attaches, and then grows and sheds as it would in the uterus. Endometrial tissue has also been found (although very rarely) in more distant places including surgical scars, the lung, the diaphragm, kidney, gallbladder, stomach and breast.

  • Uterosacral ligaments 63%
  • Ovaries – Superficial 56% – Deep 20%
  • Ovarian Fossa
  • Anterior vesical pouch 22%
  • Pouch of Douglas 19%
  • Intestine 5%

 female reproductive system

Is Endometriosis painful?

About 70% of women who have been diagnosed with endometriosis will complain of pain, although there is no consistency between severity of endometrial lesions and pain.

Endometriosis Risk Factors

  • Women who have heavy painful periods that go for 7 days or longer and who have a shorter cycle.
  • Genetics
  • Exercise – Regular exercise decreases risk of development, but strenuous physical activity during menstruation may increase retrograde flow and the likelihood of developing endometriosis
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding decrease endometriosis
  • Contraception – Intrauterine contraception increases the likelihood of developing endo. The progesterone releasing IUCD (Mirena) reduces endometrial lining and blood volume
  • Two or more coffees a day and four or more teas increases the likelihood of developing endometriosis
  • Abnormal bowel flora
  • Environmental factors – Dioxin, DDT, and other chemical substances have been linked to many reproductive disorders. Dioxin is a synthetic Xenooestrogen and there are theories that it may endometriosis may be linked to foetal exposure to these toxins.
  • Red Haired women are more likely to suffer form endometriosis

Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis

  • Can vary from excruciating pain to no pain at all Pain is not an indication of severity
  • Most women with endometriosis have PMS symptoms including anxiety, mood swings, bloating, breast tenderness, constipation, food cravings and headaches. Symptoms may begin just after ovulation or just a couple of days before menstruation.
  • Cycle length is often long, but a shorter cycle with a heavier period is common. The blood flow is usually slow to start and may be thick, black and tary at first. Irregular cycles, spotting and/or mid cycle bleeding can be common.

Ovarian Cysts and Endometriosis

Bleeding from endometrial tissue on the ovaries usually becomes encapsulated and a cyst forms. About 60% of women with endometriosis develop ovarian cysts which vary in size from microscopic spots to tennis balls.

Endometriosis and Fertility

20% of women with endometriosis are classed as infertile. This is usually because of blockages or endometrial obstructions in the fallopian tubes or on the ovaries.

Natural Treatments for Endometriosis

  Endometriosis Naturopathic Treatment

  • Modulate oestrogen production and clearance
  • Avoidance of exogenous oestrogen’s
  • Support for progesterone production
  • Support for phase two liver conjugation
  • Healthy bowel function
  • Modulate immune system and inflammatory response
  • Minimise pain by reducing painful symptoms
  • Improve lymphatic clearance especially of the pelvic cavity fluid

Endometriosis Diet

  • Avoid red meat
  • Eat lots of fresh fruit and veg
  • Avoid Gluten
  • Avoid Dairy
  • Avoid inflammatory foods such as sugar, refined carbohydrates and alcohol
  • Minimise or eliminate coffee
  • Eat high anti-oxidant diet
  • Eat high anti-inflammatory diet
  • Drink lots of Green Tea 4 x cups daily
  • 2 tsp of turmeric with 1/2 tsp of ginger in warm water with 1/2 tsp coconut oil 2 x daily

Eat lots of Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables change the way oestrogen is metabolised and may prevent oestrogen dominance

Cruciferous Vegetables include;

Broccoli Turnips Bok Choy Asian Greens
Cabbage Watercress Cauliflower Chard
Brussel Sprouts Mustard Greens Chinese cabbage Kohlrabi
Kale Radishes Collard greens Daikon
Asparagus Rocket    

Also Include;

  • Flaxseeds – Improve healthy oestrogen metabolism – 1-2 tablespoons per day
  • Apples, cucumber, grapefruit, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, bean sprouts all improve healthy oestrogen metabolism
  • Royal Jelly – Is an excellent nutrient for the ovaries

Other things you can do

  • Improve circulation and lymphatic clearance – exercise, drink lots of clean filtered water and daily skin brushing
  • Avoid using tampons, if necessary use organic
  • Avoid sex during menstruation, especially when bleeding is heavy.

Endometriosis and Physical Manipulation

Physical manipulation of the uterus via a visceral osteopath. The uterus becomes very fixed and tough due to adhesions and attachment to other organs.

Anti-oxidant Rich Foods

Herbs have a punchy flavour and also hit the high notes in when it comes to antioxidant content,

  • Mint, dried or fresh basil, oregano, dill, rosemary, sage, thyme.
  • Spices like clove, allspice and cinnamon are also extremely high in antioxidants.
  • Buckwheat flour, red beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, russet potatoes, artichokes, tomato purees and pastes.
  • Spirulina,
  • Acai, berries especially bilberries, goji berries, blue berries, raspberry, cranberry (unsweetened), strawberry as well as prunes, apples, plums.
  • Green tea, black tea, prune juice, grape juice
  • Fresh raw walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and raw cacao

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Eat lots of;

  • Onion, garlic, leak
  • Herbs such as sage, rosemary, coriander, parsley
  • Spices such as ginger, turmeric
  • Fruits such as pineapple core and papaya
  • Fresh raw walnuts, pecans, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, nuts in general,
  • Flaxseed oil, hemp seed oil, avocados, chia seeds, flaxseed,
  • Oily fish, especially sardines, anchovies, wild salmon, mackerel, halibut and herring.

Smoothie Recipes

Healthy Oestrogen Smoothie

1 x apple chopped

Handful of blueberries or Tbl acai powder

1/2 grapefruit (optional)

2 x Tbl flaxseed

1 Tbl Broccoli sprout powder (or P2detox)

2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp ginger powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 Tbl spirulina

Water, almond milk or coconut water

Anti-inflammatory Smoothies

Fresh Papaya

1 cup Papaya

1 cm knob of ginger

Coriander and mint – handful each

Coconut water

1 tsp turmeric

1 Dst chia or flaxseed

1 cup of Ice

1 tsp coconut Oil

Creamy Pineapple Smoothie

1 cup Pineapple

Coconut Milk

1 tsp turmeric

1cm knob ginger

1 Dst sesame seeds

1 cup of Ice

Green Tea Kiwi Crush

1 cup green tea (cooled)

Handful of mint leaves

1-2 kiwi fruits

1cm knob of ginger (optional)

1/2 cucumber

1 cup of Ice