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Condition - Endometriosis

By Alison Belcourt BA(Hons) DipION MBANT MAR

Endometriosis is a condition where the endometrial tissues that line the uterus are found in other areas of the body, very commonly the pelvic wall, the fallopian tubes, the ovaries and the outer walls of the bladder and digestive tract. These tissues respond to female hormones produced during the monthly cycle and will, therefore, also bleed every time a period occurs. This means the tissues bleed in an area of the body where there is no natural outlet for it, causing localised inflammation and subsequent pain. Scarring occurs and this encourages adhesions between the various tissues and organs, which causes pain and pulling. There is no clear-cut evidence for the causes of endometriosis. It is thought that maybe the tissues are laid down in the wrong place during foetal development, or that there is a retrograde flow of endometrium (womb lining) backwards along the fallopian tubes and into the abdomen, during the period, instead of the normal flow out through the vagina. This tissue then implants in the organs and tissues of the pelvic region. 

Contributing factors

  • High production or hormone imbalance of the sex hormones, especially oestrogen
  • Exposure to environmental chemicals that act in a similar way to oestrogen
  • Poor liver clearance of sex hormones
  • Stress
  • Digestive bloating
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Poor immune function

Useful Supplements

  • Essential fatty acids, especially the omega 3 fish oils that may help to reduce the inflammation
  • Bromelain that may help to reduce inflammation and may reduce the build up of scar tissue
  • DLPA (DL Phenylalanine) may help around the time of the period
  • Magnesium may help with muscle relaxation which may be helpful around the time of the monthly period.
  • Milk thistle and other liver- supporting plants, such as dandelion, nettle, burdock and chicory
  • Immune-boosting nutrients such as zinc and vitamin C
  • B complex to help support the action of the liver and hormonal balance 

Dietary Advice

Reduce the inflammatory potential by reducing the saturated fats (fatty meat, sausages, salamis, etc and dairy foods) in your diet and increasing the essential fats which are found in oily fish, nuts, seeds and their associated oils. 

Reduce the amount of refined sugar, as sugar can interfere with the anti-inflammatory mechanisms in the body and may interfere with the effectiveness of the immune system. 

Increase other anti-inflammatory nutrients such as vitamin E, found in avocado and olive oil, the flavonoids found in blue, red and purple fruits and ginger. 

Avoid wheat and too much yeast in the diet. Although not directly involved with endometriosis these foods may cause digestive bloating which can aggravate any localised inflammation. 

Avoid too much soya in your diet as this may increase endometrial tissue build up.

Increase green vegetables, as these foods are rich in magnesium. Magnesium is also found in the nuts and seeds. 

Increasing foods high in fibre, such as brown rice, oats, pulses and legumes, may help to improve oestrogen clearance from the body.

Drink plenty of liver-cleansing teas and keep alcohol and caffeine at a minimum.

Lifestyle Advice

There may be a link to some kinds of dioxins found in pesticides and endometriosis, so it would be best to eat foods from an organic source and use unbleached forms of sanitary wear. 

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