Healing Endometriosis Naturally
Recently a patient came to see me for excruciating period pains, so much so it would often lead to nausea, migraines and at times vomiting. She was having difficulty getting pregnant a second time, and yet was struggling with weight loss around her abdomen, despite her daily workouts with her trainer. She was fed up with her regular Doctor wanting to put her on birth control to alleviate her heavy periods as well as telling her to take ibuprofen for the pain. She was simply, tired, bloated, constipated, and feeling terrible. Fortunately however, I see patients like this frequently and knew she was suffering from endometriosis.
Endometriosis at a Glance
Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrial lining escapes the uterus, attaches to structures in the peritoneal cavity, and causes pain as the tissue grows in response to monthly fluctuations in estrogen. Like the uterine lining, this tissue is sensitive to hormonal changes, growing in response to increases in estrogen levels. This growing tissue puts pressure on surrounding tissues and nerves, causes scar formation, and can bleed during menstruation. The pain can be present throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle, not just at menstruation, and can be both excruciating and debilitating.
- Common Symptoms Associated with Endometriosis
- Painful periods
- Pelvic pain
- Painful intercourse
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Bowel pain
- Ovarian endometrial mass/tumor
- Painful urination
Naturopathic Solutions to Treating Endometriosis
The natural approach supports an optimal immune response, reduces inflammation and pain, promotes natural detoxification of environmental toxins, and helps to balance hormones. Remember, treating the whole body is key, so every one of the below steps is necessary to aid in the healing process.
Detoxification of Excess or Toxic Estrogen Sources
Xenoestrogens (man-made chemicals from the environment) can contribute to symptoms of estrogen dominance as well. Common sources of Xenoestrogens include:
- Commercially raised, non-organic meats and dairy products
- Soaps, detergents, lotions and make-up
- Dry sheets and fabric softeners
- Air fresheners
Supporting the liver to detox these chemicals is step one. Efficient detoxification of hormones and xenoestrogens requires nutritional support of liver function. This is where I use specific B-vitamins, as well as tailored IV therapies with high dose vitamin C and minerals such as copper, manganese, selenium and zinc to upregulate the elimination of chemicals from the liver. The addition of glutathione further enhances the process to offer a thorough “cleaning”.
Healing the Gut
Repairing your gut is vital to reversing your symptoms. After all, about 70% of your entire immune system is located in your digestive tract. The wall of your intestines is supposed to be just a little permeable so the nutrients from your food can get through and into your bloodstream. When that wall becomes leakier than it should be, it’s no longer just the nutrients getting through.
Once your gut becomes leaky, larger molecules – food particles, bacteria, viruses, and toxins – enter your bloodstream where your immune system detects them as foreign invaders, attacking them and leading to chronic inflammation.
Many of these “foreign invaders” floating in your bloodstream look very similar to your own body’s cells. Your immune system can get confused and accidentally attack your tissues.
Endometriosis patients often suffer from chronic constipation, leaky gut or IBS. Reducing bowel inflammation can ease endometriosis associated pain while allowing for the release of toxins from the body. The first line of defense for an unhealthy gut is to target the underlying GI inflammation with Gut Be Calm™.
Estrogen activity is increased when insulin levels are high, so maintaining steady blood sugar and increasing insulin sensitivity can modify estrogen levels in the body. Higher levels of insulin are associated with lower levels of SHBG, which is a protein that binds to the sex hormones. SHBG binds excess estrogen and testosterone in the blood, but when it’s low, these hormone levels increase. Insulin also increases the production of testosterone, which is then converted into even more estrogen by fat tissue in the belly. Some of my favorite supplements for addressing blood sugar imbalances and maintaining healthy insulin levels are alpha lipoic acid and chromium picolinate.
Needles to say, modifying the diet is vital, while eliminating the following foods as well:
I find that when I eliminate gluten from my patients suffering from endometriosis, their pain simultaneously subsides.
Because of dioxin content and naturally-occurring hormones in dairy products (even organic ones), and because dairy proteins mimic insulin, dairy intake should be limited if not remove completely. Nowadays we have so many healthier options to substitute our dairy cravings.
Red Meat, Pork, & Animal Fat
Commercially-raised red meat often contains dioxin, xenoestrogens, and antibiotics. Pork is one of the fattiest meats, which means it stores more toxins than lean meats. Not to mention the fake chemicals added to bacon to give it it’s “bacony” flavor.
The Holistic Solution
Periods can be uncomfortable, but they aren’t meant to take over your life and effect your health in a negative manner. Take control and make the most of what natural medicine has to offer and regain your healthy self!