Endometriosis – A Natural Approach
March is Endometriosis Awareness month, and with good cause.
Endometriosis is one of the most common gynecological diseases, affecting more than 5.5 million women in North America alone. It commonly occurs between the ages of 25 and 40 in menstruating women. In some cases, symptoms begin with the onset of menstruation, while with others develop later and become progressively worse until menopause.
The most common symptoms of endometriosis are painful periods, pain with intercourse, and infertility. Some women don’t have any symptoms from endometriosis and others may not find out they have the disease until they have trouble getting pregnant. About 30 to 40% of women with endometriosis are infertile, making it one of the top three causes for female infertility.
Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus – the endometrium – grows outside our uterus. Endometriosis most commonly develops on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, peritoneum, cervix, and behind and around the uterus, bladder or even the bowels.
One very likely contributing factor to endometriosis is the theory of estrogen dominance. Estrogen’s natural function in the body is to stimulate cell growth, but excess estrogen contributes to unnatural growth. I believe that most of that excess estrogen comes from our increasingly toxic environment and xenoestrogens.
Xenoestrogens (pesticides, cosmetics, household cleaners, plastics, the birth control pill and even hormone replacement therapy) are compounds whose molecular structure is so similar to estrogen that they have estrogenic effects in the body and thus can contribute to endometriosis.
The liver is one of the most important organs in the human body because it is involved in the removal of harmful toxins. The liver has the enormous task of breaking down estrogen and eliminating its harmful metabolites.
Therefore keeping the liver healthy and functioning optimally is vitally important in the prevention and treatment of endometriosis.
Key Supplements for Endometriosis
Milk thistle, I3C, DIM, sulforaphane, and calcium-d-glucarate help with the breakdown of harmful estrogens. Powerful antioxidants such as lycopene, rosemary and green tea extract will bind any toxic by-products. I recommend EstroSense to women of all ages in my clinical practice.
Vitamin C decreases pelvic pain by decreasing oxidative stress, which is elevated in women with endometriosis. Vitamin C also supports healthy immunity and decreases capillary fragility and tumor growth.
Essential fatty acids block inflammatory pathways in the body and are helpful in reducing pain and inflammation to help to prevent additional endometrial growth.
Chaste Tree Berry
Chaste tree berry, also known as Vitex, is one of the single most important herbs for supporting hormonal imbalance in women. It favors the production of progesterone, which prevents excess estrogen from stimulating endometrial tissue.
Probiotics help with detoxification and binding of harmful estrogens in the digestive tract and eliminate them from the body through the colon.