Endometriosis: the pain that we were not making up..
There is a lot of news out at the moment about endometriosis. After years of effectively pretending that women were exaggerating or making it up, finally the doctors and government have agreed that it actually does exist, and in fact that it affects around 10% of women, and yes, it’s pretty bloody awful…
The problem with all this acknowledgement is that whilst it is great that they are finally looking at it seriously, they are not offering any useful solutions yet. Hopefully this will change. Hopefully in time, and with good research, some support and treatment might be found. For now, they haven’t got all that much.
For anyone who might be interested in understanding a little more about endometriosis, and any hope of helping it, this is a sample of the type of information that I discuss with clients in clinic.
Whilst endometriosis is always perceived as a hormonal disease, really it is an inflammatory disease. What this means is that helping the symptoms of endometriosis by treating the gut, and treating with inflammatory protocols such as herbs and nutrients can provide supportive results. It is still affected by hormones, but treating the gut and supporting management of hormones can be of assistance. It also has an auto-immune side and there is no answer yet as to whether this is the cause or effect, but again, this can be helped by managing inflammation and treating the gut and supporting the immune system.
Traditional treatment has been either surgery, or to suppress oestrogen using hormonal medication (the Pill), which doesn’t entirely work. Other traditional theories such as retrograde bleeding can be generally disregarded, as this has been shown to be normal, developing in women who don’t suffer from endometriosis, the difference being the volume of fluid being higher with endometriosis. Other theories include “getting pregnant will fix it” but unfortunately this is not always the case.
To treat endometriosis effectively, we would need to review a full history, but at the very least, making a few changes to diet and lifestyle can have an impact. Reducing inflammatory food, such as dairy, gluten and for some, eggs for a few months can show benefits. Supplements such as turmeric and NAC may be of help, but please seek consultation for effective advice on these products. To help with the pain, look into castor oil packs – an old fashioned yet often effective treatment for adhesions. As with any answer to health, please ensure that you are getting enough good quality sleep, and exercising regularly, although avoiding strenuous activity whilst menstruating seems to be of benefit.
As with any illness, please get properly assessed by a medical professional to rule out other diagnoses but for more help with symptoms and diet and lifestyle management, please make an appointment to see a Naturopath in your area.