Endometriosis... Root Causes and Natural Solutions
Endometriosis is a condition effecting over 176 Million women worldwide, According to the Endometriosis Foundation of America. This condition causes Painful menstrual cycles, excessive menstrual bleeding, abnormal overgrowth of uterine tissue in places it should not grow and even digestive symptoms resembling Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It can even lead to fertility issues and the growth of cysts and uterine fibroids.
Endometriosis involves a situation where tissue that is normally found in the uterus grows excessively in the uterus and in areas outside of the uterus. This can cause the development of scar tissue and adhesions which contribute to painful intercourse, painful periods and pelvic pain. Most often it involves a situation where Estrogen is higher than it should be or unbalanced in relation to Progesterone.
A common approach to the treatment of Endometriosis is to prescribe hormonal medications such as the birth control pill. I am not a huge fan of this approach as it does nothing to help identify the root cause of the issue. While there is no universally accepted “cause” of endometriosis, I find that hormonal imbalances, blood sugar dysregulation, toxic exposure, inflammation and infection are some common issues that must be addressed to really help address the underlying problem. I am also not crazy about utilizing hormone prescriptions in cases where hormones might be imbalanced in the first place. I much prefer to address the possibilities listed above to restore overall health while helping create lasting relief.
Endometriosis is similar to other conditions like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), but it is important to distinguish what is going on so that the real problem can be addressed. Very often, these are lumped into the same category and given the same “treatment” of something like birth control pills.
Other medical strategies for the treatment of Endometriosis include surgery to remove the overgrown tissue. This usually provides short term relief, but in many cases, the tissue will grow back and scar tissue forms from the surgical procedure. Again, nothing is being done to find out why this tissue is overgrowing in the first place. Pain medications and anti-inflammatory meds are also often utilized, but the risks of long term use of those should not be underestimated.
If you suspect you have an issue with endometriosis or have been diagnosed, what can you do to naturally support good health? Here are a few suggestions:
– Eat a diet low in processed foods and high in nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods like Vegetables, fruits, healthy fats (avocado, coconut products, olive oil) and grass fed and organic meats and eggs. This will help cut down on inflammation, which makes any type of pain worse
– Keep your blood sugar balanced. This can be achieved by keeping carbohydrates in check and reducing the amount of sugar you eat. Hormone fluctuations are made worse by blood sugar swings, so this is super important. Most people consume a diet way too high in carbohydrates (breads, grains, sugars, etc)
– Address any toxic products in your beauty care products and cosmetics – Very often beauty and personal care items contain harmful chemicals called parabens that can disrupt healthy hormone balance. Check out the Environment Working Group at EWG.org for a great database of beauty and personal care products with toxicity rating. You can also check out the YUKA app in the app store or google play store to scan your products to see the toxicity rating and choose safer products if your aren't making the cut.
– Make sure your liver is well supported by eating plenty of cruciferous vegetables, drinking plenty of pure, filtered water and supporting it with herbs like milk thistle, if needed. The liver is very important in the clearance of hormones, so often hormone imbalances have a liver component that is very often overlooked. There are some genetic factors that play into this as well.
– Consider working with a professional Functional Health practitioner to determine your root cause and what might be creating your underlying problem. Things like hormone testing, genetic testing, an assessment of blood sugar handling and inflammatory markers are all great places to start when looking into this.
I hope you have found this information helpful. This is a common issue for women and I have seen it create major problems. Finding the root cause can be very helpful to restoring proper balance to the body and reclaiming your health.
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