16 Mar Endometriosis – Can diet help?
Endometriosis affects 1 in 1o woman and it takes on average 7 years to get a proper diagnosis. For many woman their monthly cycle is not just an inconvenience it is pain beyond belief and an inability to function. Symptoms often get confused with IBS, PMT and even put down to psychological reasons. If you suffer with this terrible disease then you may have been given the option to have a total hysterectomy. Before you go down this route there could be another way (although I am very aware that for many the operation route may be the best option- support using nutrition can also help prepare the body as well as aid healing and recovery).
The good news is that nutritional medicine has been very effective at treating endometriosis but the bad news is that it takes a bit of effort from you to ensure that you are eating the healthy things identified and avoiding those that aggravate the problem.
Nobody really knows the cause of endometriosis, however we do know that it is sensitive to oestrogen levels, can be triggered by chemicals and synthetic hormones, suffers often have weak immune systems and poor liver function. Nutritional medicine therefore helps the symptoms by balancing hormones, improving the immune system and supporting liver function. Medical drugs often concentrate on stopping the body’s production of certain hormones. This is not healthy and often causes unpleasant side effects.
Treating endometriosis naturally involves taking a dramatically different approach to the condition and is aimed at altering the underlying problems that trigger the endometriosis to grow. There are 4 main stages to the treatment programme as follows:
- Diet changes
- Supplements to control pain and support the body’s systems
- Improve liver function
- Boost immune function
The most important step is to adopt a hormone balancing diet. This will keep your diet low in any foods that encourage the production of oestrogen, focusing instead on those foods that help your body get rid of excess oestrogen. Your liver is extremely important as it controls the excretion of your hormones. It is therefore important not to overload the liver. Alcohol is not permitted during the first 8 weeks of the programme to allow your liver to concentrate on other work. Some dairy produce and red meat must also be avoided as these cause inflammation (pain & swelling) in your body. They also promote the production of oestrogen and often contain hormones. Caffeine must also be completely excluded since it depletes your body of vital nutrients.
You must ensure that you eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. They contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. This is vital for optimum health. Eat complex carbohydrates (whole grains, brown rice/pasta etc) in order to balance your blood sugar levels. This will help your energy levels and enable your body the means to work properly. Try to use as much organic produce as possible to reduce your intake of chemicals. This is extremely important with regards animal produce as non-organic foods contain a lot of artificial hormones.
Make sure that you eat lots of phytoestrogens. These are substances that occur naturally in foods and have a balancing effect on our hormones. The types of foods you need to eat are beans, pulses, soya, chickpeas and lentils. Another food group to include regularly is nuts and seeds. These contain essential fats that help to prevent inflammation, regulate the immune system and reduce abnormal blood clotting.
Your body is made up of approximately 70% water so it is important that you drink around 6-8 glasses a day. Herbal teas can also contribute towards this. Drink dandelion tea on a daily basis; it is very good for your liver.
Tampons contain dioxins as the cotton used is bleached. Try to use some unbleached organic varieties even if you still have to use the other type, as it is known that dioxins can aggravate symptoms.
Another recommendation is to do dry skin brushing. This will get your lymphatic system working. Buy a natural bristle skin brush and use the brush first thing in the morning before having a shower. Use long strokes, working from your feet up towards your heart. Cover as much of your body as possible.
By following these recommendations you can help to reduce the symptoms of endometriosis. For a more personalised approach and plan please do contact me to make an appointment and address your monthly pain today.