Are you suffering from endometriosis? Wondering if it could be treated in simple ways? Then you have come to the right place.
This post tells you everything you must know about endometriosis, and the ways you can treat the condition.
Would you like to know more? Keep reading.
Endometriosis – An Overview:
Endometriosis can be defined as a condition where the endometrium (uterus lining) grows till the exterior of the uterus (1). Further, the hormones that act as a trigger for menstrual cycle influence the sloughing of endometrial implants in and around the abdomen.
Generally, endometriosis appears on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the exterior of the uterus, and the intestines or the peritoneum. This displaced tissue reacts to the hormonal changes that influence the menstrual cycle. Every month this tissue engorges itself through the cycle’s first half while a small amount is released during the second half. This often leads to repeated irritation to the tissues around.
With the passage of time, endometriosis can cause adhesions or scarring in the reproductive organs, intestines, and pelvis. These adhesions look like spider webs. Studies have proved that this scarring is responsible for menstrual pain and fertility issues.
How Is Endometriosis Diagnosed?
Endometriosis cannot be diagnosed easily. However, some symptoms that mark the occurrence of endometriosis are listed below.
- Painful intercourse
- Pelvic pain
- Pelvic discomfort
- Painful periods
- Irregular or heavy bleeding
- Excessive mood swings
- Loss of fusty brown blood
- Painful urination or bowel movements
- Swollen abdomen
- Loss of large blood clots during menstruation
- Lower back pain
However, these symptoms do not imply a conclusive diagnosis of the condition. Sometimes, women with extensive menstrual pain might have mild endometriosis while others with mild pelvic pain might have severe endometriosis. Moreover, many times, endometriosis is also mistaken for other diseases, like PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) due to pelvic pain (2).
What Causes Endometriosis?
The exact factors responsible for endometriosis are not known. However, some of the possible reasons provided on the basis of research and studies are listed below for your reference.
1. Embryonic Cell Growth:
Embryonic cells produce the lining on pelvic and abdominal cavities. If this abdominal lining turns into endometrial tissue at one or more small points, there are chances that endometriosis can develop.
2. Retrograde Menstruation:
This is the most common cause for endometriosis (3). Retrograde menstruation refers to a medical condition where menstrual blood carrying endometrial cells flows back into the pelvis instead of flowing out through the uterus. These exiled endometrial cells get stuck to the surface of pelvic organs and pelvic wall. Here, they further grow and get thicker, thus bleeding over every course of the menstrual cycle.
3. Endometrial Cells Transport:
Another possible cause for endometriosis is the transportation of endometrial cells to other body organs through the tissue fluid system (also called lymphatic system) or blood vessels.
4. Surgical Scar Implication:
Endometrial cells might get attached to a surgical incision post surgery, like a C-section or hysterectomy.
5. Immune System Disorder:
Any disorders in the immune system can stop the body from recognising and destroying the endometrial tissue growing outside the uterus.
Endometriosis usually occurs for two reasons – either overproduction of oestrogens or underproduction of progesterone. More often, it is a deferred breakdown of active estrogens by the liver.
Treatment of endometriosis requires an ample supply of nutrients required for healing of the liver. These nutrients also reduce inflammation besides flushing off the toxins from the body. This is possible through effective dietary changes and taking supplements to get the desired nutrients.
Dietary Tips To Cure Endometriosis:
1. Prefer Organic To Processed Meat:
Endometriosis patients should go for organic meat instead of conventional meat. It is recommended to avoid factory farmed and processed meats. These meats carry growth hormones that can worsen the problem.
2. Include Beef In Your Diet:
Iron is an important nutrient that heals the liver. Therefore, make sure you have it as a component in your diet. Anaemia is one of the reasons for endometriosis and treating anaemia by increasing your iron intake can not only treat endometriosis, but can also ease the symptoms.
3. Avoid Refined Products:
Endometriosis patients are advised to avoid refined products, like white flour, white sugar, and white rice. The process of chlorination adopted to whiten these products leaves dioxin residues in the food. Moreover, the refined variants are highly inflammatory. Therefore, it is best to opt for whole wheat flour and brown rice.
Honey is an amazing anti-inflammatory sweetener (4). Use it to replace sugar wherever and whenever possible. You can sweeten your drinking water with natural honey to enjoy its beneficial properties.
5. Stay Away From Homogenized Milk:
It is strongly recommended to avoid the use of homogenized milk, for it is one of the most inflammatory food products out there. Non-homogenized milk is a preferred choice. It is easily available at health food stores.
6. Reduce Intake Of Processed Foods:
All processed foods contain chemical additives. These additives are highly inflammatory and can aggravate endometriosis.
7. Avoid Chlorinated Water:
Municipal drinking water might contain unhealthy levels of chlorine and dioxin (one of the by-products of chlorine). Women suffering from endometriosis are advised to drink spring water or use an effective water filter (5). It is also prudent to get a water shower filter to remove chlorine. Even inhaled chlorine vapours can produce inflammation in the body.
8. Say No To Soy Products:
Soy products contain phyto-estrogens (6). These compounds act as estrogens in the body, thus causing extreme instability in hormones. This can further worsen the condition of endometriosis.
10. Refrain From Consuming Alcohol:
Endometriosis patients should avoid alcohol. However, occasional consumption of red wine is allowed. Any large quantity would only worsen the condition of already impaired liver.
Nutritional Supplements For Endometriosis:
In addition to dietary supplements, there are also certain nutritional supplements that can help to improve the condition of the liver and thus endometriosis. Check the following list for more info.
11. B Vitamins:
All vitamins from the B group are known to have qualities that strengthen the liver (7). This helps the body in the removal of excess estrogens, thereby reducing the condition and its symptoms.
Dandelion is another nutritional supplement to strengthen the kidneys and the liver, thus helping to alleviate endometriosis.
This is a Chinese herb used commonly in China to treat female-related health conditions (8), including endometriosis. The herb is known for the amazing effects it has on the liver.
14. Milk Thistle:
Milk thistle is very popular for its liver strengthening qualities (9). A healthy liver would produce healthy levels of oestrogen, thus improving endometriosis.
15. Vitamin E:
Vitamin E is known to facilitate a healthy uterine lining. It works by preventing the cell membrane from damage. It also provides protection against oxidation. However, blood thinners, such as Vitamin E, are not recommended during the menstrual cycle for it can cause excessive bleeding. Consume food rich in Vitamin E to get your daily dose of the vitamin naturally.
This is yet another nutritional supplement to help treat endometriosis (10). It is a known fact that endometriosis affects fertility. Some good natural sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, meats, cod, and tuna. However, you can also buy it as a supplement available in the form of tablets or capsules.
Endometriosis is directly related to dioxins. Taking chlorophyll supplements help remove excessive dioxin from the body (11). Chlorophyll supplements are easily available in liquid forms at medical stores. Alternatively, you can crush wheat grass and drink the chlorophyll-rich juice.
18. Folic Acid Or Folate:
Folate plays a vital role in the formation of heme, the non-protein, iron-containing part of haemoglobin, for the red blood cells. Deficiency of folate can be a cause for nutritional megoblastic anaemia (12). Folic acid aids in the chelation of lead, helping the body to utilize the zinc properly. Folate and liver are strongly connected as liver regulates the use of folate in the body.
This is the only pharmaceutical ingredient related to endometriosis. Although it is considered an inactive ingredient, consumption of gelatine-rich foods during menstruation can provide benefits. Endometriosis patients have an inclination towards eating gummy bears.
This nutritional supplement helps to relieve menstrual pain. Additionally, it also reduces inflammation. Many endometriosis patients proclaim this amazing supplement benefits endometriosis more than any expensive medication for pain.
Herbal Remedies For Endometriosis:
In addition to dietary changes and supplementation, there are also some herbal remedies to help the condition.
Artichoke can support optimal liver and digestive system functions (13). Hence, by consuming this herb regularly, around 2 tsp twice a day, you can treat endometriosis.
Just like artichoke, burdock also helps in liver and digestive system functioning. This herb too can help you if you have been diagnosed with endometriosis.
23. Witch Hazel:
This herb is effective in stimulating and boosting blood circulation in the pelvic region. Taking the herb twice a day can prove to be an effective home remedy for endometriosis.
24. Chaste Tree Berry:
If you can lay your hands on this berry, it can do wonders in treating endometriosis. Take the herb once or two times a day to get relief from the symptoms.
25. Wild Yam:
Wild yam is renowned for its painkilling properties (14), and can be used without worries for treating the pain associated with endometriosis. It is available in capsule form and you can consume 2 to 3 capsules every 2 to 3 hours to get relief.
Home Remedies For Endometriosis:
Some effective home remedies for endometriosis include:
26. Castor Oil:
This remedy for endometriosis has been used since ages. It helps in the removal of excessive tissues and toxins from the body. It is recommended to use castor oil with the initiation of menstrual cycle, as soon as the first cramping is noticed. This helps reduce the severity of symptoms throughout the cycle. To use, mix 8 drops of lavender essential oil and 1/4th cup of castor oil. Dampen a washcloth with this mixture and make it comfortably warm. Place it over the pelvic area for about 30-60 minutes. However, this remedy is not suggested during menstrual flow.
27. Sitz Bath:
Naturopathy practitioners often recommend a contrast cold and hot sitz bath to reduce symptoms of endometriosis. The hot bath relaxes pelvic muscles and reduces pain and cramping. The cold bath, on the other hand, helps reduce inflammation and pain.
Flaxseed helps cure endometriosis through omega-3 fatty acids and slows down the growth of abnormal endometrial tissues. It eliminates harmful toxins as well.
29. Wild Asparagus:
Wild asparagus is a rich source of folic acid (15). It helps treat anaemia as well as endometriosis. It also helps to relieve menstrual cramps and pain.
Ginger is a renowned anti-inflammatory herb (16). It not only reduces inflammation, but also provides relief from menstrual cramps and nausea occurring with endometriosis.
31. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Consuming 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar can help to treat endometriosis. The premise is that vinegar restores the pH balance of the body.
Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties (17). This makes it a perfect home remedy for reducing inflammation and swelling resulting from endometriosis. Additionally, it is also a natural diuretic.
This is yet another effective home remedy for endometriosis (18). The components of Motherwort help to improve the volume of blood in the reproductive system, thus making it function more efficiently. As a result, it alleviates problems like poor flow or blood clots.
This wonderful spice contains a component called curcumin with strong anti-inflammatory properties (19). This makes it suitable for the treatment of endometriosis. Turmeric remedy should be avoided if the patient is on blood thinning medication.
35. Pelvic Massage:
Use lavender oil or sandalwood oil to massage your pelvic region. Use circular motions. This will ease minor discomfort and pain that you experience due to endometriosis.
36. Stress Reduction Exercises:
Stress and symptoms of endometriosis are connected. Hence, practice stress reduction exercises, such as meditation and yoga, to control your stress levels.
37. Low Impact Exercises:
Look to do regular low impact exercises, such as brisk walking or swimming, to ease the symptoms of endometriosis.
Acupuncture can ease the pain experienced during menstrual cycle and also the constant pelvic pain due to endometriosis (20).
39. Clay Pack:
54. Take cosmetic clay (one with high mineral content) and make a thick paste using water. Apply the paste on the pelvic region and cover with a thick towel. Let the paste dry. Wash with lukewarm water to remove the clay paste. Use this remedy every 15 days to get relief from endometriosis.
40. Evening Primrose Oil:
This oil is rich in Gamma linoleic acid, which is an Omega-6 essential fatty acid (21). It helps to reduce inflammation and as a result eases the inflamed tissues.
41. Pineapple Juice:
Consume fresh pineapple juice daily when using herbal and home remedies. This will accelerate the healing process.
42. Reduce Estrogen Levels:
Reduce the estrogen levels in your body by staying away from estrogenic substances and foods that stimulate your endocrine system and produce more estrogen.
43. Consume More Cruciferous Vegetables:
Veggies, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage help to improve the way estrogen is metabolized by the body. Hence, increase the intake of these vegetables to get relief from endometriosis.
44. Fermented Cod Liver Oil:
It is important to consume fermented cod liver oil, as conventional oil uses heat and changes the integrity of the oil. You can easily get fermented cod liver oil from an Internet-based health store. Consume one tablespoon of the oil for 60 days to treat endometriosis.
45. Coffee Enema:
There is anecdotal evidence to show coffee enemas can alleviate the symptoms associated with this condition.
46. Gluten-Free Diet:
Many women find switching to a gluten-free diet can ease the symptoms of endometriosis. It can help restore hormonal balance and ease chronic fatigue.
47. Organic Tampons:
Some women have reported that changing to organic and fragrance-free tampons during menstrual cycle eases the excruciating pain that they experience during their periods.
48. Charcoal Poultice:
Make charcoal poultices and apply on your abdomen and uterus in the night. It will get rid of the toxins and ease the pain and inflammation. Use the poultice for five consecutive nights for best results.
49. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea:
Brew some tea using red raspberry leaves. Steep the leaves in hot water and let the water rest for about 10 to 15 minutes. Discard the leaves by straining the tea. Drink two cups every day to ease the symptoms and treat endometriosis.
Consume watermelons, as this fruit is rich in lycopene, a phytochemical. It is helpful in treating the symptoms of endometriosis. Lycopene is also found in tomatoes, papayas, grapefruit and guavas. So, you can consume these fruits as well instead of just watermelon.
Before you use home remedies for endometriosis, do consult your doctor. Do not start with any home remedy, supplements or dietary changes without first checking if they are alright for you.