Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial–like tissue grows outside of the uterine cavity.
The causes of this condition are still being explored.
While there is currently no cure for endometriosis, certain factors have been shown to be helpful in the management of this condition. Here are a few . . .
1. Anti – inflammatory & antioxidant rich diet
Anti- inflammatory: while there is no universal diet for endometriosis, studies have shown that adopting an antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory diet can be beneficial for women who have been diagnosed with this disorder. Certain foods/substances are known to trigger inflammation, including processed foods and alcohol. Furthermore, studies have shown that removing dairy (A1 casein) and gluten may be especially helpful. One study that observed 156 women in 2012, showed that 75% reported a decrease in pain after going gluten–free. However, not everyone will respond in the same manner. In this case, going gluten-free depends on the individual. Either way, opting for high-quality foods is most important.
On the other hand, several foods known for their anti-inflammatory properties (such as omega-3 rich foods) have been shown to decrease endometriosis-related symptoms. My personal favorites include turmeric and ginger. Ginger in particular has been proven to be beneficial for the management of painful periods, a common experience in women with endometriosis.
Antioxidant: an increasing number of studies demonstrated the positive effects of antioxidants like vitamin E, C, EGCG, NAC, resveratrol or pine bark on endometriosis including reduction of symptoms and pain, as well as reduction of the size and number of endometriosis lesions. Always speak with your doctor prior to taking any supplements.
Castor oil packs: castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, a type of fatty acid that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, among other health benefits. Do NOT use castor oil packs during menstruation or while pregnant. Also, always ensure the castor oil is organic, and in a glass bottle (to avoid exposure to microplastics).
2. Estrogen detoxification
Research has shown that women with endometriosis also tend to suffer from estrogen dominance. In fact, excess estrogen has been shown to worsen the pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis. Two major organs that are critical in the estrogen-detoxification process are the liver & the gut. Your liver not only detoxes toxins and metabolic wastes, but hormones like estrogens as well. This is why castor oil packs in particular can assist the liver in the estrogen-detox process. When it comes to diet, consuming cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, which contains a compound known as indole-3-carbinol (I3C), is also important, as this compound plays a significant role in estrogen detoxification and elimination. Moreover, supplements such as DIM, vitamin B6, and calcium D-glucarate have been shown to improve estrogen metabolism and reduce estrogen dominance. That being said, I strongly recommend working with a practitioner to get guidance on which supplement will work best for you, and in the case of DIM specifically to get your hormones tested before supplementing. (Remember that when it comes to hormones, supplementing blindly can cause more harm than good).
3. Endocrine functions and gut health are deeply connected
Indeed, in the gut microbiome reside specific kinds of bacteria involved in estrogen detoxification commonly known as the estrobolome. These bacteria produce an enzyme called beta – glucuronidase, which plays a role in the metabolism and regulation of estrogens levels. This enzyme can indeed deconjugate estrogens leading to their reactivation and reabsorption.
An excessive level of beta – glucuronidase due to gut dysbiosis for instance may lead to higher levels of recirculating estrogens, but also toxins and other wastes products, which is obviously not a desirable situation, especially for endometriosis but also for post – menopausal women.
2. Moreover, the Bacterial Contamination Theory postulates that abnormal levels of LPS toxins are found in the pelvic area of women suffering from endometriosis – These toxins are released by gram – negative bacteria and are believed to make their way to the pelvic area due to leaky gut and/ or dysbiosis in the vaginal and/ or gut microbiome.
Discussing this any further would be outside of the scope of this article but either way, addressing any underlying gut condition in the gut is a critical step for proper estrogen detoxification.
4. Stress management
Endometriosis can be quite stressful for both the mind and the body. Unfortunately, stress further contributes to the overall inflammation. Different strategies are available for you – here are some of my favorites:
· Cardiac coherence & mediation
· Gratitude mantras
· Massages & acupunctures
· Walks in nature
· Magnesium glycinate
· And many more!
Magnesium has been shown in studies to help manage PMS and period symptoms, and has been particularly helpful for me. Please remember that magnesium comes in different forms, and some are better recommended than others.If you suffer from any health conditions, check with your doc before supplementing. Get 15% OFF my favorite magnesium here
5. Be mindful of endocrine disruptors
Unfortunately, many chemicals are added into our daily life including our personal care products.
Endocrine disruptors chemicals are particularly worrying in the case of endometriosis as they have the ability to inhibit or mimic the action of certain hormones such as estrogen. Some studies have even linked EDC with a higher risk of developing endometriosis and uterine fibroids.
A study done in 2016 available on the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & metabolism (Trasande) concluded that: “EDCs (disphenyldichloroethene and pthtalates) may contribute substantially to the most common reproductive disorders in women, endometriosis and fibroids”.
To limit your exposure to EDCs, I recommend avoiding plastics as often as possible (bottle and storage), and opting for cleaner brands of makeup and other personal care products for a start.
For additional information & and individualized recommendations 1:1 bookings I am here to help!