What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis affects women and is a condition where the cells from the lining of the uterus (also known as the endometrium), appear and develop outside of the uterus or the uterine cavity. The lining is then shed with nowhere to go. Unlike your monthly cycle where the uterus that sheds its lining into the vagina and out of the body. The endometrial tissue can grow on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, supporting structures and the lining of the pelvis such as the peritoneum, bladder, rectum or intestines.
Since the endometrial cells are stimulated by hormones, it might be a good place to start to look to balance out.
There is no known cause of this to date, science is not quite there yet as to why this happens but some theories are:-
1. Altered immune surveillance in the pelvis region. It may be that the body’s ability to recognise ectopic endometrial tissue is the reason that it is there.
2. Your oestrogen levels may be out of whack, such as Oestrogen Dominance. There are a number of reasons for this. Diet & environmental factors can play a big part in this.
3. Retrograde mensuration, which basically means that a woman’s menstrual blood flowing back into her body during her period.
4. Primordial cells, (primordial cells are the earliest stage of development) lining the cavities of the uterus or other organs and differentiate into endometrial cells. This is a theory only at the moment and still under investigation. Here is a study to learn more about this – Endometriosis origin’s from Primordial Germ Cells
5. It could be that there is a transfer of endometrial tissue through blood system and lymphatics system and deposited outside of the uterus.
and how do you get endometriosis?
Science has not found a definitive answer as to why women suffer from endometriosis. When it comes to the lining of the uterus your monthly cycle, its all governed by hormones, so this, in my opinion, is the place to start. There are a number of theories of why you have this condition or how you can develop it:-
1. The main theory is that during menses, blood can flow backward and can implant endometrial cells in the pelvic cavity. However, 90% of menstruating women without endometriosis also have back-flow. However, it could be a strong immune that prevents this from happening.
2. Another theory is that it could be hormone related to oestrogen mimicking environmental toxins could be the reason. Or radiation exposure which increases the risk. PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) herbicides, pesticides found on most of our foods now, unless you are able to buy organic. Heavy metals like lead and household cleaners all have oestrogen mimicking effects.
2. You may have grown up with a lack of exercise in your life. This can cause issues later in life.
3. A high fat, low nutrient diet. Diets that are high in fat cause all number of complications.
4. If you are using a uterine device, such as the IUD
5. You may have a family history of endometriosis. This does not mean you will get it, it just means your DNA/Genes are loaded but it will be your lifestyle that pulls the trigger so get healthy and change things up.
signs and symptoms of endometriosis
Symptoms can be mild to severe, depending at what stage the endometriosis is at. Common signs and symptoms are
- Heavy and painful periods/menstruation – the doctor will refer this as dysmenorrhoea
- Increased menstrual bleeding – known as menorrhagia
- Pain in the pelvic region, especially occurring at the time of you next menses and less painful after. This can be extremely painful and bothersome.
- You may feel pain when you are having intercourse – known as dyspareunia
- Painful intercourse
- Painful bowel movements
- Other signs would be bloating, lower back pain, bowel changes such as constipation or diarrhoea
- Possible infertility, so looking at reason for the infertility.
questions to ask yourself
To know if this could be something that your body is going through, then ask yourself these simple questions
1. What is the pain like? Do you have severe pain in your abdomen? If you went to the doctor and you told him that you had pain. This would be considered a RED FLAG and would need to be taken very seriously.
2. When you have your periods are you staying home? Not going to work, staying home from school or university?
3. Have you ever ended up in the emergency room with pain or painful periods?
If you answered yes to any of this then please do go to your doctor to get it fully diagnosed.
diagnosis of endometriosis
To properly diagnose your doctor could offer you a Laparoscopy or laparotomy visualizing endometrial implants with the pelvic cavity. The Laparoscopy will be able to identify and give you a definitive diagnosis.
Other conditions that have a similar range of symptoms would be Ovarian Cysts and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. So make sure you get an accurate diagnosis.
COMPLICATIONS of endometriosis
The most common causes of endometriosis is infertility. If you are not treated in your 20’s for this then you may have fertility issues later on.
Taking birth control, is this the solution? There are risks associated to taking birth control long term too.
Recurring inflammation from the condition can lead to the formation of fibrous tissue (scarring), which can produce adhesions (bands of scar tissue, that make tissues or organs inside your body stick to each other.)
Tissue trapped in the pelvis can also cause scar formation and irritation. You may also find that there are adhesions, where the tissue binds your pelvic organs together.
what your doctor will offer you
1. If you say you have painful periods then your doctor will most likely offer you oral contraceptives. However long term use of contraceptive pill has its own side effects and its not combating the route cause of the issue.
2. You may also be offered surgery to remove the ectopic tissue, however 45% of the growth will return within a year so only a short term solution. But if you take this course of action and then use some natural methods as well, you will give yourself a great chance to prevent further growths.
3. You doctor may offer hormonal medications that suppress the natural menstrual cycle, as well as pain management to manage times of pain.
4. You can also buy over the counter progesterone creams too. But would recommend that you consult a professional and being monitored.
In most cases, endometriosis will cease after menopause. It’s this kind of information you will want to know in order to make the right treatment and protocol plan for you. Learning about your condition, education puts you in the driving seat of your body.
Key areas to help yourself with are to:-
- Reduce Inflammation – diet will help greatly with this
- Start a detox and give your body a well-earned break, so the liver can do its best job for you.
- Start to work on alleviating your regular symptoms with a natural medicine approach.
A big part of why the body is here in the first place could be hormonal related. So you may want to consider a reboot and look to give your body a break. Regular breaks so that you give your body the best chance to heal.
Take the next step to preventing Endometriosis,
Join Ultimate Health, Your Journey Starts Here!
At Ultimate Health we look for prevention and treating the cause. We always start by wiping the slate clean with a Reboot and then looking to help support your body to heal using natural proven principles. Naturopathic solutions and a protocol that supports your body and every system that it runs. We help you to manage the many multifunctional influences that can cause endometriosis in the first place. Detoxification is key, as well as reducing internal inflammation. If you need a map we have the one clear path to support your entire being.
Here are the Pathways we use to support you:
- Increase fiber intake
- Switch you to the right fats and remove the oils and fats that cause inflammation
- Help with inflammation and reset your system with an anti-inflammatory diet
- Show you a list of supplements that you may want to look at to enhance your immune
- Boost your immune so that your body can balance your hormones and regain your innate drive for homeostasis
- Introduce more isoflavones and lignans important for endometriosis
1. Endometriosis origin from primordial germ cells. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5654850/
2. College of Naturopathic Medicine – Biomedicine training
3. Natural Medicine, (Third Edition) Murray & Pizzorno p565
4. Gould’s Psyhophysiology for Health Professionals, Hubert & Vanmeter, p527