Endometriosis is a condition that affects 176 million women worldwide and about 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years, although some women may remain undiagnosed for many years. It affects all ethnic group; the wealthy and poor alike.
It can be a long-term and debilitating condition causing abdominal pain, painful periods, excessive bleeding, and infertility. It happens when cells similar to the lining of the womb (endometrium) are found outside the womb but inside the body; usually in the pelvic area.
We do not know what causes endometriosis. We do know that you cannot catch it like an infection. It is clear that if a relative has had endometriosis then a woman is about 5 to 7 times more likely to develop it. We also know that a woman with high oestrogen levels, altered immunity, and abnormal inflammatory responses also has a high risk of developing this condition.
One treatment is to surgically remove the lumps of endometrial tissue from wherever it is growing. Medical treatments to manage the symptoms include a combination of anti-inflammatory painkillers (like ibuprofen) and hormone treatments. High oestrogen hormone levels increase endometriosis. Drugs such as progestin-only contraceptive treatments suppress oestrogen and reduce endometriosis. The side effects include mood swings and weight gain. If symptoms persist, then regular injections of GnRH agonists, are used to completely shut down oestrogen producing cells in ovaries. Unfortunately, the side effect can be an early menopause.
However, by changing your diet and lifestyle you help to manage the symptoms and disease. Remember to always check with your doctor or specialist if you are considering changing your lifestyle, changing your diet, or trying complementary therapies.
That said, the following strategies have been reported as being useful in managing the symptoms of endometriosis by naturally reducing oestrogen production and inflammation.
Adjusting your diet to increase natural anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega-3 essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants
Correct nutritional deficiencies
Switching from refined carbohydrates and sugars to more nutrient-rich healthy carbohydrates
Reducing your weight in a healthy and sustainable way
Building more movement and physical activity into your daily routine
Reduce stress and stress hormones