Endometriosis is a common condition and affects more than one in ten women. If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis, please know that there are a number of natural strategies you can implement to help reduce symptoms, or prevent re-occurrence post laparoscopy.
Here are 5 key strategies for supporting endometriosis naturally.
Heal your gut
It is very common for women who have endometriosis to also have digestive complaints. One study showed that up to 90% of women with the condition reported bowel related issues. One contributing issue is that endometrial lesions can occur on the bowel and can directly cause digestive symptoms. Additionally, endometriosis is partly an immunologically driven condition, and with our gut being the home of the majority of our immune system, poor gut function can contribute to a worsening of endometriosis symptoms. If you do have digestive issues, there are a number of natural strategies that can be helpful. One of the simplest is avoiding foods that obviously don’t agree with you. Look out for symptoms such as bloating, cramping, loose stools or lethargy after eating. Other strategies are always eating slowly in a relaxed environment, avoiding processed and sugary foods and trailing digestive enzymes and probiotics as supplements.
Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition, as the immune cells activated are inflammatory in nature. Reducing inflammation is a key therapeutic aim in management and prevention. One way to reduce inflammation is to trial avoidance of inflammatory foods. A1 dairy protein (most cows milk) can be inflammatory, and removal from the diet can have a profound affect on endometriosis symptoms for some women. Another suspect food group for inflammation is gluten-containing grains. One study found that a gluten-free diet for 12 months improved endometriosis symptoms. Lastly, including anti-inflammatory spices in your daily food and drinks such as ginger and turmeric is a wonderful food as medicine approach.
Support detoxification and oestrogen metabolism
Though endometriosis is not caused by high oestrogen, high oestrogen, or poor oestrogen elimination can contribute to worsening of the condition. Oestrogen is metabolised by the liver and excreted through the bowel, so supporting both of these organs function is important for hormonal balance. One simple way to support oestrogen detoxification is to eat at least two servings of brassica vegetables daily. This family includes broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprouts. These vegetables contain natural compounds that support oestrogen detoxification. Secondly, we need to make sure that the metabolised oestrogen is excreted effectively through the bowel, so make sure you are including high fibre foods such as fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds and also make sure that you are passing a bowel motion at least once a day.
Support your body to heal with herbs and nutrients
There are a number of safe and effective natural medicines that have been clinically shown to improve endometriosis symptoms and reduce the size of endometrial lesions. Two frontline treatments are turmeric and zinc. These are a great first step when looking into endometriosis treatment. Turmeric is an effective anti-inflammatory, supports liver detoxification and has been shown in one study to reduce the size and activity of lesions. Zinc is essential for healthy oestrogen levels and healthy immune function. It helps to heal the gut, is anti-inflammatory and can reduce pain. When working with women with endometriosis, I create a comprehensive, customised treatment plan including both herbs and nutritionals, but these two supplements are a great start for any woman wanting to address endometriosis.
Create a support team of professionals
In conjunction with your primary care practitioner and gynaecologist, there are a number of modalities that may be effective in helping you to manage your endometriosis. Naturopathy, Acupuncture, Pelvic Physiotherapy and Psychotherapy are just a few that may help with the physical, mental and emotional impact of living with endometriosis, and can provide you a support network to lean on when needed as well as providing targeted treatment to improve the condition.
Written By Vanessa Lamaro – Naturopath, BHthSci, DipHthSci, ANTA accredited
Vanessa Lamaro is a degree qualified Naturopath who specialises in hormonal health, reproductive conditions and infertility. She offers a free 30 minute Naturopathic Assessment to all new patients to discuss their individual needs. If you would like to speak with Vanessa, please call 07 5479 1212 or go to www.vanessalamaro.com.au/appointment/