Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial–like tissue grows outside of the uterine cavity.
While there is currently no cure for endometriosis, certain factors have been shown to be helpful in the management of this condition. Here are a few . . .
While there is no universal diet for endometriosis, studies have shown that adopting an antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory diet can be beneficial for women who have been diagnosed with this disorder. Certain foods/substances are known to trigger inflammation, including processed foods and alcohol. Furthermore, studies have shown that removing dairy (A1 casein) and gluten may be especially helpful. One study that observed 156 women in 2012, showed that 75% reported a decrease in pain after going gluten–free. However, not everyone will respond in the same manner. In this case, going gluten-free depends on the individual. Either way, opting for high-quality foods is most important.
On the other hand, several foods known for their anti-inflammatory properties (such as omega-3 rich foods) have been shown to decrease endometriosis-related symptoms. My personal favorites include turmeric and ginger. Ginger in particular has been proven to be beneficial for the management of painful periods, a common experience in women with endometriosis.
An increasing number of studies demonstrated the positive effects of antioxidants like vitamin E, C, EGCG, NAC, resveratrol or pine bark on endometriosis including reduction of symptoms and pain, as well as reduction of the size and number of endometriosis lesions. Always speak with your doctor prior to taking any supplements.
Castor oil packs
Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, a type of fatty acid that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, among other health benefits. Do NOT use castor oil packs during menstruation or while pregnant. Also, always ensure the castor oil is organic, and in a glass bottle (to avoid exposure to microplastics).
Research has shown that women with endometriosis also tend to suffer from estrogen dominance. In fact, excess estrogen has been shown to worsen the pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis. Two major organs that are critical in the estrogen-detoxification process are the liver & the gut. Your liver not only detoxes toxins and metabolic wastes, but hormones like estrogens as well. This is why castor oil packs in particular can assist the liver in the estrogen-detox process. When it comes to diet, consuming cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, which contains a compound known as indole-3-carbinol (I3C), is also important, as this compound plays a significant role in estrogen detoxification and elimination. Moreover, supplements such as DIM, vitamin B6, and calcium D-glucarate have been shown to improve estrogen metabolism and reduce estrogen dominance. That being said, I strongly recommend working with a practitioner to get guidance on which supplement will work best for you, and in the case of DIM specifically to get your hormones tested before supplementing. (Remember that when it comes to hormones, supplementing blindly can cause more harm than good).
Endocrine functions and gut health are deeply connected, and particularly when it comes to estrogen metabolism.
2. Moreover, the Bacterial Contamination Theory postulates that abnormal levels of LPS toxins are found in the pelvic area of women suffering from endometriosis – These toxins are released by gram – negative bacteria and are believed to make their way to the pelvic area due to leaky gut and/ or dysbiosis in the vaginal and/ or gut microbiome.
Discussing this any further would be outside of the scope of this article but either way, addressing any underlying gut condition in the gut is a critical step for proper estrogen detoxification.
Increasing your daily fiber intake is perhaps one of the best first steps you can take as studies have demonstrated that high-fiber diets reduce serum estrogen concentrations in premenopausal women. Some fiber-rich foods to consider incorporating into your diet include chickpeas, barley, lentils, berries, pears, and carrots, among others. Psyllium husk is also another great option to ensure you’re hitting your daily goal.
Endometriosis can be stressful – not only for the body, but the mind as well. Stress has been shown to increase inflammation in the body, contributing to the perfect storm. Here’s a few of my favorite strategies to help you better manage your stress:
- Gratitude practice
- Massage & acupuncture
- Spending time in nature
- Magnesium glycinate – Magnesium in particular has been shown to help manage period symptoms, and has been especially helpful for me. Remember that magnesium comes in different forms, and some forms are more helpful than others depending on your needs. Again, always first check with your doctor prior to supplementing.
Be mindful of hormonal disruptors
Unfortunately, many of the products we use in our daily life contain chemicals. Endocrine disruptors chemicals are particularly worrying in the case of endometriosis as they have the ability to inhibit or mimic the action of certain hormones such as estrogens.
Studies have even linked endocrine disruptors to an increased risk of developing endometriosis and uterine fibroids. To minimize your exposure to these toxic chemicals, focus on using clean skincare and makeup brands, as well as avoiding plastics.
If you’re interested in working with me, I’m here to help!