WHAT IS ENDOMETRIOSIS?
Endometriosis is a painful, chronic disease that affects over 6 million women and girls in the U.S. and is a growing health concern.
It occurs when tissue like that which lines the uterus (tissue called the endometrium) migrates outside of the uterus -- usually in the abdomen on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ligaments that support the uterus; and other areas throughout the pelvic cavity and abdomen.
This displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped. Eventually scar tissue and adhesions develop and this is what causes the pain associated with Endometriosis.
HOW IS ENDOMETRIOSIS DIAGNOSED?
A woman’s symptoms are often clues that she may have endometriosis.
These symptoms can include:
- Extremely heavy periods with many clots and often severe menstrual pain
- Unexplained abdominal pain of unknown origin
- Painful intercourse
- Pain on urination and/or with bowel movements. There can also be irregular bowel habits, alternating constipation with diarrhea.
Diagnostic tests can include an abdominal ultrasound, CT scan or an MRI. Additionally, a laparoscopy can be performed. Laparoscopy is a surgery that uses a thin, lighted tube put through a small incision made in the belly which enables the physician to look at the abdominal organs and the female pelvic organs. Tissue samples can be taken for biopsy through the tube for a definitive diagnosis of endometriosis.
THE STAGES OF ENDOMETRIOSIS
Endometriosis is classified into one of four stages (I-minimal, II-mild, III-moderate, and IV-severe) depending on location, extent, and depth of endometriosis implants; presence and severity of adhesions; and presence and size of ovarian endometriomas.
Endometriosis can often result in infertility, and is thought to be the cause of infertility for up to 50% of women with fertility concerns.
WHY IS THE INCIDENCE OF THIS PROBLEM GROWING?
We need to start with how the cows are being raised. More sustainable farms are being started, but the majority of cows are fed antibiotics on an almost constant basis. These antibiotics then appear in the meat and are put into the soil when the cows eliminate.
Our environment has become more laden with chemicals, and young girls are eating more fast and processed foods. This cycle has become unhealthy and these processed foods contain pesticides, artificial hormones, and preservatives, which collectively have a negative impact on health and wellness.
Inflammation is the body’s response to chemicals in our environment and from processed foods. It’s a biochemical response that affects all aspects of your body; an all-encompassing response that can often affect your psyche and mental health in addition to your physical health. Inflammation contributes greatly towards the symptoms of endometriosis.
Inflammation can occur in your body by various means:
- Genetic predisposition – There is a greater chance of developing endometriosis if a woman in your family has it.
- Estrogen dominance in a woman’s body.
- Environmental factors – Certain chemicals present in the environment have been shown to increase incidence of endometriosis. This is why we strongly suggest eating organic food and using organic cleaning products as well as organic feminine hygiene products.
COURSE OF TREATMENT = THE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET!
GOAL: To Lower Your Inflammatory Quotient
The foundation of our path for treatment is an anti-inflammatory approach towards optimal nutrition.
DIET, FOOD, AND NUTRITION -- The varying components towards optimal fertility nutrition.
- Diet is what you choose to eat
- Food consists of what it is you are eating
- And Nutrition is about how the food was grown, which determines the vitamins and minerals that are actually in the food you are eating, as well as the chemicals, if the food is not organically grown.
An optimal fertility diet consists of 70% organic fruits and vegetables, 20% organic fish and chicken and 10% organic grains. It is a nutrient rich diet and does not include eating red meat (although bone broth is sometimes recommended when certain gastro-intestinal issues are present).
BASIC FOOD GUIDELINES
- Eat “good fats” Fat is important for a healthy reproductive system.
- Certain Omega Fatty Acids support hormonal balance, as well as protect cellular integrity from oxidative stress.
- Omega-3s are known to reduce inflammation in the body caused by endometriosis.
There are three main types of Essential Fatty Acids:
Omega 3: found in organic eggs, wild salmon and Flax seeds (make sure to put them in a glass container and store in the freezer, as they oxidize very quickly)
Omega 6: found in Evening Primrose Oil (make sure the bottle says Cold Pressed and store in refrigerator after opening) and Borage Oil
Omega 9: found in avocado, sunflower oil (make sure the bottle says Cold Pressed and store in refrigerator after opening), nuts (not peanuts) and seeds
DAIRY: We recommend eliminating dairy from your diet, especially whole milk and cows’ cheese.
Here are some important but simple steps you can take to decrease your exposure to unhealthy chemicals in your environment:
- Don’t heat liquids or food in hard plastics. It’s best to store food in glass.
- Replace your scratched Teflon pans with cast iron or stainless steel.
- Filter your tap water, or used bottled water if you live in a contaminated area.
- Ideally, get rid of your microwave.
- Don’t keep your cell phone close to you when it’s turned on.
- Use organic and chemical free cleaning products in your home.
FYI: To receive EWG's Free guide to common hormone disruptors, click the following link: