You might be putting up with the symptoms of endometriosis
without realizing that you are suffering from this condition, perhaps needlessly. One of the most common symptoms is having extremely painful menstrual cycles and many just regard such pain as part of being female.
Endometriosis may not be a well known condition to you but it actually affects millions of women of all ages and is where the uterine tissue (known as the endometrium) begins to grow outside of the uterus itself. It is most frequently found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the pelvic lining but can also spread outside the pelvic area.
This is a chronic condition that is often very painful
According to the Endometriosis Association, endometriosis affects five and a half million women in the United States and Canada, and millions more worldwide.
Apart from painful periods, there are other symptoms
- Sharp, deep pain during ovulation, sexual intercourse, bowel movements, and/or urination
- Heavy menstrual periods or bleeding in between periods
- Indigestion, diarrhea, constipation and nausea
- Infertility as endometriosis can cause adhesions that trap the egg
Alleviate these symptoms
1) By cutting back on the amount of animal fat you consume through dairy products and red meat. Dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls accumulate in animal fat and studies have indicated this will worsen the endometriosis condition. Increasing the amount of vegetables, fresh fruit and flaxseeds will help reduce your risk factor. Many vegetables produce a chemical which inhibits aromatase. This enzyme converts androgens to estrogens which in turn help to combat endometriosis.
2) There is evidence to suggest that a group of plant chemicals called flavones can inhibit aromatase, the enzyme that converts androgens to estrogens. Celery and parsley are good food sources of flavones while broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts and bok choy contain compounds called indoles, which appear to improve estrogen metabolism. Flaxseeds are a further nutrient to add to your diet as they are high in lignans and fiber, which have been found to be beneficial for estrogen-related conditions.
3) Some sufferers find progesterone cream helps them. Progesterone is thought to slow the growth of abnormal endometrial tissue and may improve symptoms such as pain during menstrual periods and pelvic pain. Applied to the wrists, inner arms, inner thighs or upper chest, natural progesterone cream should be supervised by a professional because too much progesterone can cause such side effects as mood changes, depression, water retention, weight gain and absent or abnormal menstrual bleeding.
4) Another big plus in the nutrition stakes are Omega-3 fattty acids which, while proving to be more and more important to overall good health, have also been shown to be helpful for people suffering from endometriosis. These acids contain two compounds which help reduce the pain of endometriosis by lowering the levels of an inflammatory chemical produced by the abnormal growth of the uterine tissue. These fatty acids are found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies. They are also available in fish oil capsules - often a better bet in view of high contaminations of mercury in many fish.
5) Reducing the amount of stress in your daily life as too much causes your body to produce cortisol which often results in an hormonal imbalance and may actually trigger the overproduction of the endometrium. Great stress relievers are nutrients such as B and C vitamins, Zinc and Magnesium. Natural health practitioners often recommend Ashwaghandha as well. Also known as Indian Winter Cherry, Ashwaghandha possesses anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antistress, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, hemopoietic and rejuvenating properties. And don't forget about the physical ways of reducing stress such as relaxation, meditation and deep breathing.
6) A good home remedy is to sit in a small basin filled with hot water for 3 minutes followed by sitting in a similar vessel with cool water for a minute. This hot and cool cycle can be repeated a further 3 times for maximum effect.
7) Ginger tea has been found to be very beneficial in relieving the nausea that can accompany endometriosis.
Many of those who suffer from endometriosis find relief when they visit an acupuncturist. The acupuncture points most commonly used for endometriosis are on the ears, abdomen, wrists, legs, back and feet. It is believed the needles free the flow of energy through the body.
One last suggestion is that physiotherapists can design a program of exercise and relaxation exercises for sufferers to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, reduce the pain, while managing any stress and anxiety.
Obviously it is advisable to get a definite diagnosis from your doctor before you decide on a course of treatment but if the diagnosis of endormetriosis is positive, try and go the natural route if you possibly can.