Natural options for endometriosis
A FAMILIAR STORY
Does this story sound familiar?
A girl experiences digestive discomforts, bowel issues and painful periods for many years.
She often goes to her GP looking for answers.
She's fobbed off many times as likely having IBS, something that's very common, "just eat better".
She's told that painful periods are just a thing women have to live with, and that the "solution" is to go on the pill.
Or worse still, she's told that "it's all in her head" (yes I have heard of doctors saying that to women)
Many years of debilitating pain later, she finally gets referred to a specialist who performs a laparoscopy and discovers she has multiple lesions in places like her fallopian tubes, ovaries, intestines, bowels, bladder even maybe her arms, legs and nose!
She has endometriosis.
WHAT IS ENDOMETRIOSIS?
Endometriosis is a condition that affects 1 in 10 women. That's over 170 million worldwide.
It's described as when endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus in places like i mentioned above (tubes, ovaries, bowels, bladder etc)
Symptoms include painful periods, digestive problems, painful bowel movements, diarrohea and constipation, nausea and vomiting during menstruation, sharp pain during ovulation, pain while urinating, and other urinary issues.
CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT FOR ENDOMETRIOSIS
Surgery to remove the endometrial lesions - this seems to be the best option for severe endometriosis, however in the UK, the amount of surgeons who are experienced in this procedure is severely lacking. Most opt for endometrial ablation which removes the thick lining of the endometrium, therefore making periods less heavy and painful, however it can destroy the lining, making conception difficult.
Some women are told that their endo is too severe and the only option is a hysterectomy.
This is a HUGE failure on the medical profession in my opinion.
An American surgeon who is experienced in endo removal, has found patients who have received hysterectomy can still present with endometriosis years later.
In fact, 20-30% of women who receive laparoscopy find their symptoms return within 5 years, often sooner.
ARE THERE NATURAL WAYS TO TREAT IT
I'll be honest, I have been hesitant to talk about endometriosis, for one because so little is really known about what causes it, and to treat anything effectively we need to know the root cause.
I've also seen such varied results with it in my practice, that I've been unsure to recommend certain things.
For example with PCOS I have seen so many improvements with the therapies i use. I see menstrual cycles becoming regulated, hormones coming into balance, I've seen cysts and fibroids literally shrink and disappear on some women, but with endo, its just SO varied.
However, I wanted to talk about endo to help raise awareness and let women know that natural treatments should always be the FIRST option before going down the surgical route.
HERE ARE MY TOP 3 RECOMMENDATIONS TO START WITH:
1. Castor oil packs, abdominal massage, essential oils
These 3 things go part in parcel in my practice. I combine them together to get the best results.
In Eastern medicine, we are taught that just about every condition arises from stagnation and/or toxins in the body (which greatly affect hormones) so it makes sense that we use massage and oils that can restore blood circulation and positively impact stagnation.
What I have seen in some women with endo is that symptoms like painful periods and digestive problems improve after regular castor packs and abdominal massage.
But I've also seen a few cases where it brought on vaginal bleeding or increased pain and as a holistic professional, I cannot tell someone to ride through the bleeding or pain, i must advise them to stop the treatment if they are experiencing this. So it is difficult too know, if they had persisted with the massage, what the outcome would be?
2. Turmeric, Black Pepper and anti-inflammatory diet
Turmeric has been used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and has recently become popular in the West for its anti-inflammatory properties.
One of the active medicinal components in turmeric, curcumin, has proven to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in women with endometriosis. Curcumin acts directly on the endometrial lesions to stop the growth of endometrial tissue.
Curcumin can be difficult for the body to absorb so they're best taken with black pepper and healthy fats like coconut oil or ghee.
You can use Turmeric powder and ground black peppercorns but you could also use a therapeutic grade essential oil - that way you would only need a few drops a day, and don't need to mix up messy powders.
*Note that not all essential oils can be taken internally, so get in touch to find out the brand i recommend.
Start with 3 drops of Turmeric and 2 drops black pepper per day in a veggie capsule or mixed into smoothies/teas
Add to this an anti-inflammatory diet so avoiding all the usual culprits of sugar, dairy, processed foods, saturated fats (chocolate seems to be the worst trigger for endo symptoms - sorry!)
Add more omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D to your diet, which can help decrease the levels of prostaglandins in the system and can be found in salmon, eggs, and dark leafy greens.
3. Melatonin - good sleep EVERY night.
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland in the brain. When the sun goes down, melatonin production is triggered. Melatonin not only helps us get good rest and sleep, it can also help detoxify the body of excess estrogen - which leads to inflammation!
Because of our lifestyle and technology our pineal glands are continually being bathed in light from our device screens and this is a particular problem when they're being used past 10pm.
When you stay awake past 10pm (let alone have light beaming into your brain), your body gets its second wind, and when you do try to settle down to sleep, your mind feels wired. This is a common problem with so many people having insomnia and it plays havoc with your hormones.
Melatonin supplementing has been studied in the USA with one study showing women who took 10mg a day having an 80% reduction in the need for pain medication - a reduction in menstrual pain, chronic pelvic pain and pain during urination and sex.
In the UK Melatonin supplementing is banned from being sold, it can only be got on prescription and is often only prescribed to women over 55 with insomnia.
You can eat foods high in Melatonin like cherries, goji berries, eggs, fish, pistachios, and almonds.
The main thing I recommend is to shut off the screens, ideally when the sun goes down (yes even if thats at 5pm!). You can use blue light blocker glasses, but I'd really advise just quitting the screen time after sunset if you have a severe condition like endo, or you are struggling with infertility.
If you implement any of these natural treatments for several months, I'd love to hear your feedback.
If you are unsure of where to start with castor packs, massage and essential oils, then I invite you to download my Free Guide to Womb Cleansing HERE.