Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition where endometrial tissue, normally located in the uterus, is also present in other parts of the body such as the fallopian tubes, abdominal cavity, and on the ovaries.
Symptoms of endometriosis include severe menstrual pain, pain related to sexual intercourse, chronic lower back or pelvic pain, fertility issues, the formation of endometrial cysts, and more.
What Causes Endometriosis
In endometriosis, endometrial tissue, distributed by unknown mechanisms to other locations in the body (e.g., fallopian tubes, ovaries, pelvic lining) continues to act according to it’s normal cycle.
If located outside the uterus, blood from endometrial bleeding has no exit from the body. Trapped blood irritates surrounding tissue, and may lead to cysts, scars and adhesion of nearby organs.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Regardless of severity, the most commonly experienced symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain.
There are a number of additional symptoms caused by the inflamed misplaced tissue, including:
- Fertility issues
- Severe pain during menses
- Lower back pain
- Scar formation
- Digestive issues like bloating, diarrhea, nausea
- Endometrial cysts
- Stress and low mood
Naturopathic Treatments for Endometriosis
A typical approach to treating endometriosis may be to:
- Reduce pain using acupuncture, hydrotherapy and botanical medicine
- Reduce inflammatory mediators in the diet
- Increase nutrient density using food and specific supplementation
- Reduce future endometriosis symptoms by balance hormones using metabolic detoxification protocols or botanical medicine.
When appropriate, a number of therapeutic options may be used in the treatment of endometriosis alone or more often in a complementary fashion, including:
Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement
Endometriosis has been connected to high levels of estrogen, which stimulate endometrial tissue growth. Bio-Identical Hormone Replacment is the supplementation of two the bodies natural hormones. Progesterone counteracts estrogen, limiting the production of endometrial tissue and ultimately reducing symptoms. The natural progesterone of this kind is derived from plant oils and fats and modified to be identical to the progesterone produced by your body.
Certain evidence based nutrients can have a powerful effect on the treatment and management of endometriosis. For example, curcumin is an anti-inflammatory oxidant that is showing promise in alleviation of symptoms. After a thorough intake, a nutrient regime is often prescribed to augment healing.
The benefits of acupuncutre are wide ranging and is offered as part of the therapy when treating endometriosis. The goal of acupuncture treatment is to alleviate inflammation and reduce stress as well as reduce abdominal and pelvic pain associated with endometriosis.
Homeopathic remedies can also be part of the treatment of endometriosis to help manage pain and heavy bleeding. Made from natural sources, remedies may be prescribed based on characteristic symptoms. Homeopathy is form natual treatment based on ultra-diluted natural substances to gentlely encourage the body to heal.
Foods we eat can have a huge impact on inflammation. Studies have shown the link between diet and chronic inflammatory conditions such as endometriosis. Certain foods are known to increase the chances of developing endometriosis while others such as fiber, beans, cruciferous vegetables can greatly support healing. Specific dietary recommendations are made during the treatment process.
References: Burney RO, Giudice LC. Pathogenesis and pathophysiology of endometriosis. Fertil Steril. 2012;98(3):511-519. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2012.06.029