Everything you need to know about endometriosis in women of reproductive age, including causes of endometriosis and common symptoms.
About 10% of all premenopausal women in the UK are diagnosed with endometriosis, a complex disorder of the female reproductive system, and they do not diagnose many others (the average diagnostic time is 7.5 years).
This condition can scar the daily lives of these women, influencing not only their monthly cycle, but on their entire being; from the ability of the immune system to control inflammation and infection to the effectiveness with which the body can produce and use energy. Eventually this can influence their mind and trust as women.
I know this from being both a professional working with women experiencing the paralysing effects of endometriosis and as an endometriosis patient.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a complex disorder of the female reproductive system in which cells, similar to those in the mucous membrane of the uterus, are found in other parts of the body.
During the monthly female cycle, fluctuation in hormones stimulates these cells to grow, then break down and bleed as they would in the mucous membrane of the uterus, resulting in inflammation, pain and scar tissue formation.
Symptoms of endometriosis include:
*Painful, heavy or irregular periods
*Agony during or after sexual intercourse
*Painful bowel movements
*Discomfort during ovulation
*Fatigue and foul mood
Symptoms of endometriosis may vary in intensity for each woman and the “severity” of endometriosis does not match necessarily to the amount of pain we experience. Some women may not have any mild symptoms or symptoms that appear to be “normal” menstrual pain. This does not mean that the endometrial lining of the womb has not ended up externally to the inside of your uterus. And it does not mean that this will not then cause issues with your fertility and your ability to get pregnant.
The approach of Natural Medicine I and the many women I have seen over the years testify to the restorative power that diet and natural supplements can bring to both the recovery and day-to-day management of endometriosis.
In fact, research published in Fertility & Sterility has shown that nutritional therapy through diet and supplements is more effective in relieving pain and improving quality of life than post-operative medical hormonal therapy.
Personally, I have used reflexology with impressive effect to manage the symptoms and side effects of endometriosis in women of reproductive age — including myself.
Five important changes in diet and lifestyle to help control your endometriosis.
Food colour: Research shows that women who ate green vegetables 13 or more times a week (about twice a day) were 70% less likely to have endometriosis.
A study published earlier this year concluded that foods rich in carotenoids (especially citrus fruits) also positively affect the symptoms of endometriosis.
Use smoothies, juices or soups to nourish deep. Bend your gut: Beneficial bacteria in the gut can reduce the production of beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme that redoes estrogen in the gut and can contribute to its dominance. Add natural and organic yogurt into your daily diet either by yourself or use it to make dressings and sauces.
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kefir are excellent sources of beneficial bacteria or take a probiotic supplement (min. 10 billion CFU).
Fats are essential: essential fats found in nuts, seeds, and fatty fish can reduce inflammation associated with endometriosis. Using essential fatty acids is blocked by processed oils and margarines, and white flour, sugar, excessive and monounsaturated animal fats, alcohol, poor nutrition and stress. Keeping them to a minimum is vital to reduce inflammation.
Consider gluten: More recently, research that classified endometriosis as an autoimmune condition has shown a better response among those on a gluten-free diet; 75% of participants found a significant decrease in symptoms by following a gluten-free diet for 12 months.
Be aware of what you put on your body: bleached tampons and sanitary napkins are a controversial area in the endometriosis debate. Tampons use bleached paper products containing dioxins, which have a detrimental effect on the hormonal system. Chemicals, such as parabens and phthalates, present in their toiletries and cosmetics have also been linked to the development of endometriosis.
How does reflexology help endometriosis?
During your reflexology session, we will use several protocols to help to balance your hormones, calm your over stimulated immune system, and ease the effects of endometriosis. The result being that we look to improve your fertility.
Some protocols we will use as part of your weekly treatment include:
• Endocrine sedation
• Reproductive sedation
• Uterus sedation
• Fallopian tube sweep
• Pelvic hold
• Solar plexus
• Sedation of any other affected areas: bladder, vagina, rectum, and so on
To book in for your reflexology treatment to help to re-balance and minimise the effects of endometriosis in women of reproductive age, then please follow this link to book online.