Happy Saturday, its such a hot spring day today in NSW & I can't wait to get down to the beach!
I wanted to bring some awareness to endometriosis (endometr-WHAT?). I know, its a bit of a mouthful to say but those suffering with ENDO know its no joke & how debilitating it really can be! Below are the successful methods I use for my patients in clinic so I wanted to share them with you as I know they will work for you too!
Whats causes Endometriosis?
This condition is caused by the uterus lining (endometrium) growing in different areas of the body such as the abdomen, ovaries and Fallopian tubes. Some reports have even shown it travelling to & growing in the eyes, causing monthly eye bleeds!!!!
Hormones which cause your period to occur are also responsible for the growth of this tissue and just like with your monthly cycle, this tissue causes bleeding in ALL areas it grows in (even the wrong ones). This blood causes further irritation to the local nerves causing excessive pain. Over time the bleeding can lead to chronic inflammation and the formation of scar tissue causing adhesions to form on the intestines, bladder and reproductive organs, leading to many other issues.
Common symptoms include:
-Extremely painful periods
-Heavy and extended periods,
-Pelvic pain between periods,
-Constipation (I see this SO much in clinic),
-Lower back pain,
These symptoms are a results of the inflammation, irritation and adhesions that occurs from endometriosis, therefore focusing on a treatment plan for this is crucial to achieve great results.
The 4 steps that will change your life (for the better!)
1- Avoid any likely triggers
- Environmental: although this may not be something you think of straight away, the environment around us strongly manipulates our
hormones and increases inflammation. - Avoid plastics as much as possible (especially surrounding diet). Obviously this is easier said than done, however the BPA chemicals in plastics can strongly influence our oestrogen levels, adding to the severity of endometriosis. - Eat organic: this will ensure that your not getting extra chemicals, pesticides or herbicides on your food causing a toxic load on your liver. - Use natural products for household cleaning, eucalyptus oil works wonders, add some to a water bottle and spray away (I literally spray everything with it, I add it to my washing & also when i'm washing the floors).
- Use natural body care, skin care & make-up. This will minimise your daily intake of chemical exposure drastically.
- Use organic pads or tampons to ensure less toxins come into contact with your uterus. Menstrual cups are another fantastic option!
Foods to avoid: dairy products, gluten containing products, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, high fat foods, minimise red meat intake and animal products (write in your diary if any foods make the pain better or worse & manipulate your diet accordingly).
2- Reduce inflammation and detoxify
Foods to include:
Anti- inflammatory foods: oily fish, nuts, seeds, spices- turmeric, ginger, cold pressed oils, follow the 'anti-inflammatory diet'.
- Eat 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables daily. Try to aim for 1 cup of vegetables or salad with each meal.
- Berries are a great choice of fruit as they are packed full of anti-oxidants, important for reducing negative symptoms of endometriosis.
Eat cruciferious vegetables- Brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach & cauliflower will all promote phase ll liver detoxification and improve the rate of excess hormone elimination. (Naturopathic tip: these vegetables should be avoided if you have a thyroid condition) .
Drink bone broth & collagen- this anti-inflammatory concoction is packed full of nutrients, collagen and amino acids which work with your immune system to ensure everything is running smoothly. It is also very good for GUT health and can reduce uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, constipation or diarrhoea, flatulence and nausea while healing conditions like leaky gut. You can make your own (check out my other blog post on benefits & how to make it) or you can purchase it from your local health food store (ones that are kept in the fridge are generally the best as they contain healthy fats, important for hormone function).
3- Balance your hormones
Eat high fibre foods to mop up excess oestrogen in the system (beans, whole grain gluten free pasta, chickpeas, bran, fruits and vegetables, psyllium husks daily)
The amount of excess oestrogen that is roaming around in the body can increase the amount and size of endometrial tissue and may contribute to the inflammation present in the body. 25g of fibre a day along with a daily bowel motion is required to reduce toxic load, reduce inflammation, and eliminate excess oestrogen.
4- Smooth and heal
Antioxidants are most important to smooth & heal as they are able to prevent and reverse local tissue damage from inflammation. Foods rich in beta carotene (vitamin A), vitamin E and C should be a part of your daily diet. Sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot are all good sources of beta carotene. Almonds, spinach, avocado, sunflower seeds, sweet potato are all good natural sources of vitamin E. Citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, green/red capsicums, sweet potato are all good sources of vitamin C.
Caster oil packs- get castor oil, a cotton flannel, old towel & a hot water bottle (be careful as castor oil will stain clothes & bed sheets).
Soak the cotton flannel in castor oil, apply to the abdomen, place the towel over the top and the hot water bottle over it. Start with 15-30 minutes and work your way up to 60 minutes. Do this 3 times a week & use this time to relax with meditation. Download the app ‘head space’ for easy & effective guided meditation.
This method will help the liver to detoxify the body, support uterine and ovarian health, improve lymphatic circulation and reduce overall inflammation.
For pain reduction during your cycle or ovulation, purchase some clary sage essential oil & mix with a carrier oil (jojoba/coconut oil), add a few drops of essential oil to the other oil and rub topically to your abdomen.
Dry skin brushing: before the shower, use the dry skin brush in circular motions towards the heart to promote lymphatic drainage and eliminate toxin build up. This is another way to reduce toxic load and help the body focus on healing endometriosis instead of worrying about other excessive toxic loads.
Naturopathic supplements I recommend:
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)- this is the pre-cursor to an important antioxidant made by the liver called glutathione.Stress, poor nutrition and environmental toxins can reduce the amount of glutathione in the body. In a number of scientific studies, NAC has been shown to reduce endometrial tissue and pain in endometriosis.
Iron- if blood tests confirm low levels, always opt for a natural form of iron from your health food store to avoid the side effect of many synthetic brands causing constipation (always confirm you are deficient with a blood test before taking iron as too much iron & too little iron in the body present the same symptoms).
Magnesium- The body has a higher requirement for magnesium when experiencing endometriosis and during times of stress.
B vitamins, zinc- a higher requirement is needed when a on the OCP & B vitamins are needed for liver detoxification pathways
Probiotic - GUT flora should be balanced to avoid uncomfortable bowel and GUT symptoms
Fish oil- its an anti-inflammatory and essential fatty acid which is important for healthy & happy hormones
Vitamin D - important for hormones and the reproductive system, often deficient in those with endometriosis
If you are currently taking the pill:
When on the OCP these vitamins may become depleted so continue to take these on-going while taking the OCP.
FOLINIC ACID, B vitamins (2,6,12), vitamin C, E, magnesium, selenium and zinc - majority of these you will be able to get in a good quality, practitioner only multivitamin (Eagle- Tressos B + selenium).
I'd love to hear how you go with these guidelines if your suffering with endometriosis & if you require a more in-depth, individualised program, send me an email, i'd love to help you!
For more tips like this and health based information follow my Instagram @mungbean_health (you can click the Instagram icon at the bottom of this page) & subscribe to my mailing list!
*Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before starting anything new, especially if you’re taking medication. This information is not intended to 'cure' any diseases mentioned above.