When it comes to holistic treatment of endometriosis, what you eat is very important. Through our diet we can reduce inflammation which can provide a lot of relief.
What is endometriosis?
In endometriosis bits of tissue that are like the uterine lining (the endometrium) grow in places other than the uterus. These ‘lesions’ can occur almost anywhere including on the outside of the uterus, on the ovaries and fallopian tubes as well as the bowel and bladder.
There is still quite a lot of unknowns when it comes to Endometriosis, but a lot of new research has been surfacing over the past few years. Many researchers now believe the endometrial tissue is laid down before birth and activated by hormones at puberty. If you have endometriosis it is not your fault and you have not caused it. There is a lot you can do to help though.
Endometriosis as an inflammatory and immune disease
Most researchers now believe it to be an immune disease as our immune systems should not allow the lesions to be laid down throughout the body. We also know that endometriosis is an inflammatory disease and even though it is technically not a hormonal disorder, there is hormone involvement.
The main symptom of endometriosis is severe and debilitating period pain. It can last for days and painkillers don’t always give relief. It can often be felt in places other then just the pelvis as well. It mainly happens during the luteal and menstrual bleed phase, but can happen at other times also, like during ovulation or sex. Some Women may have little to no pain and may only find out they have endometriosis when they have problems trying to conceive. Sometimes endometriosis may present as bladder or bowel issues also. If you have a Mother or Sister with Endometriosis you are more likely to develop it.
Endometriosis as a whole body condition
Often, asides from surgery the only treatment offered is hormonal. I hope this blog helps Women see that Endometriosis goes beyond a hormonal condition and even if you elect to use hormone blocking medication there is still other body systems to consider. We have talked about the immune system and inflammation, lets unpack this further.
Hormones are still important to consider in Endometriosis. To simplify, endometriosis lesions are stimulated to grow by estrogen but estrogen is not the direct cause. Estrogen may be why less Men have endometriosis (it is still possible) and why we are not often made aware of its existence until puberty. On the flip side, progesterone has a down regulating effect on endometrial lesions. It really is about the balance of these two hormones and making sure we are producing plenty of progesterone while we can (production declines during our mid 30’s) and that estrogen is detoxed effectively.
The Gut Connection
With endometriosis it is important to fully assess gut health. This is the main root of that inflammation we have talked about. Leaky gut, gut infections, and inflammation due to food intolerances will worsen inflammation and tax the immune system.
There is also a microbial theory for endometriosis that has emerged over the last decade or so. Most researchers agree however that while bacteria does not directly cause endometriosis, bacterial toxins from the gut may drive or worsen immune dysfunction. Basically, bacteria in the gut can translocate (shift) to the pelvis.
So in summary, if the number one goal of Nutritional intervention is to decrease inflammation we must always consider the gut. I have recently become an accredited G.E.M.M clinician and this is the best gut protocol I have come across, hands down. G.E.M.M stands for Gut Ecology & Metabolic Maintenance and it treats all gut issues without killing off gut bacteria (we need the good stuff) and most people won’t need tests. The high yielding sulforaphane used in the G.E.M.M protocol is also the highest natural activator of phase II liver detox – how we remove used (and toxic) estrogen from the body and the majority of our immune system is in the gut. G.E.M.M is therefore amazing for Endometriosis. Read more about G.E.M.M here.
Nutrition For Endometriosis
When it comes to holistically treating endometriosis, what you eat is likely to be the most important considerations. Through our diet we can reduce inflammation which can provide a lot of relief. Remember, Endometriosis really is a whole-body inflammatory disease rather than a period problem.
My Top 3 Endometriosis Nutrition Tips
1) Eat a balanced diet. Protein for liver detox, blood sugar balance and mood (neurotransmitters) – I have a downloadable guide which is exactly what I start my clients with, you can find the link at the bottom or side of the page. You can grab it here too
2) Make a simple switch to A2 milk – For many people A1 dairy casein is inflammatory. The only way to know if it is contributing to inflammation and your endo symptoms is to remove it. Try A2 milk for a month and see if it helps.
3) Try a gluten free diet for a month – Ok not necessarily easy for a lot of people however look at your main source of wheat – for most it will be bread and start there. Pain is not easy either right?!
I hope you have found this blog helpful. I love working with clients who are suffering with Endometriosis. It is very rewarding watching their symptoms improve. We go deep into pain pathways in the brain too because the pain tends to only get worse as time goes on and we can use supplements to help the brain – it is super cool!
If you want support, tools and coaching to make some changes to give you the quality of life you deserve (that fits your lifestyle at your pace) then you can read more about working together below.
If you are going to jump into the tips provided on your own I would say to focus on progress not perfection, trying to be perfect can lead to complete derailment. Also you do better when you feel better, so sometimes a slow and steady approach is best. What one thing can you change?