Do you find yourself asking these questions? Why is sex painful— I thought it was supposed to be enjoyable? Why am I struggling to get pregnant? Why is my lower back killing me when I have my period? Why am I spending time each month attached to a heating pad?
The answer to these questions could be endometriosis.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a gynecological disorder affecting women, primarily those of reproductive age. It is defined as the presence of endometrial glands outside your uterus.1 Endometriosis is typically found in the abdomen and pelvis. Or another way to explain it, this is what happens when the tissue that is your uterine lining has made it out on to other organs in the body where it shouldn’t be.
Endometriosis is fairly common with physicians seeing it affect more than 10% of their female patients a year.2
There are holistic and natural approaches to endometriosis and addressing it early is best. No need to suffer from the symptoms if you don’t have to!
What Are the Signs of Endometriosis?
Before talking approaches, let’s talk about the signs of endometriosis. There are several common signs of endometriosis3.
- Lower abdominal pain is one of the most common signs of endometriosis.
- Mild to severe cramps during your menstrual cycle are another sign.
- Stomach and bowel issues such as painful bowel movements or pain during urination. You could also experience diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.
- Exhaustion is also a common sign for endometriosis.
- Painful Intercourse could be another symptom.
- Excessive menstrual bleeding
- Painful pelvic exams
You also could have endometriosis and not have any symptoms at all.
These symptoms are also signs of other health conditions. Now take a deep relaxing breath, if you suspect you have endometriosis make sure you check with Dr. Kate and your OBGYN to make sure you have the correct diagnosis. With the correct diagnosis, we can design a wellness guide for you.
What Are the Causes of Endometriosis?
While the medical community is still not clear as to what causes endometriosis, the medical community does have some theories. One theory mentioned in this article4 is it develops in one of two ways. One way is the cells from the lining of your womb travel through your bloodstream. The other way is the cells move to your abdomen during your period through your Fallopian tubes. Your hormones or your immune system might be influencing factors as well. The immune system is supposed to protect our organs from tissue growing where it is not supposed to be. Sometimes our immune system just doesn’t work they way it is supposed to – especially if it is compromised in some way.
What Happens When You Have Endometriosis?
What has happened is that the tissue similar to your uterus lining is growing outside your uterine cavity. That tissue can spread over your ovaries, bowel, and tissue lining outside of where it’s supposed to be. The hormones during your normal cycle can cause the tissue to become inflamed and make you feel uncomfortable. The tissue can grow and eventually breaks down and becomes trapped in your pelvic area. If this tissue was in your uterus it would be shed when you menstruate.
What Are the 4 Stages of Endometriosis?
There are 4 stages of endometriosis— ranging from mild to severe. What stage you are in depends largely on the location and size of the lesions5 seen during a laparoscopy. The stages do not correlate with your symptoms or your ability to get pregnant. They are just a universally accepted scoring system.6
Can You Heal Endometriosis?
While there is no cure for endometriosis, there are several ways you can address your symptoms.
irst and foremost, if left undetected endometriosis can cause infertility and you may end up with severe pelvic pain. Not fun! Keeping up with your annual gynecological exams, including pelvic exams (PAP is not the same as pelvic exam) is so important as that is how endometriosis is often spotted and diagnosed. Once you have been diagnosed with endometriosis, you can begin to plan your approach to more optimal wellness.
Healing the body begins naturally. Your doctor may try to bring down the inflammation in your body by balancing your hormones. Your doctor may also recommend an anti-inflammatory diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
In addition to suggested meals and recipes, I encourage you to avoid or minimize alcohol. You want a low glycemic plan that is rich in antioxidants, iron, and fiber, and free of refined sugar. Fiber is important to break down estrogen.
Supplementation is also important. There are several natural supplements available to help ease your symptoms from endometriosis. Essential fatty acids and beta carotene supplementation may be helpful. Remember you need to make sure your supplements are free from fillers and made with the purest possible ingredients. We only offer the highest level of quality supplements7 shipped directly to you door.
Endometriosis and Infertility.
One of the most painful problems isn’t physical, it is emotional— infertility. Endometriosis has been shown to cause infertility. Between 25% to 40% of infertility issues are caused by endometriosis.8 The adhesion and scars left by the condition can block your Fallopian tubes. This makes it difficult for the sperm to locate the egg. Also, there can be complications with tissue on the ovaries that make normal ovulation difficult.
There is good news. Having endometriosis does not mean that you cannot get pregnant and deliver a healthy baby. According to this study, as high as 50% of women with minimal to mild endometriosis go on to have healthy babies.9 Be sure to talk to Dr. Kate or your OBGYN about your changes of getting pregnant.
The Good News!
While the symptoms of endometriosis are painful, there is hope! Just make sure you are keeping up with those pelvic exams and if you suspect you might have endometriosis, make an appointment with your OBGYN. If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis, changes in your diet and adding in specific supplements can help address the symptoms. There is no need to suffer when help is available.
Can you Prevent Endometriosis?
You might reduce your chances of it developing by lowering estrogen levels in your body. Consult with your doctor about natural and holistic ways to accomplish this. There is some evidence that regular exercise, more than 4 hours a week, could help.10 Consider cutting back to one glass of wine or one cocktail per day, as large amounts of alcohol has been shown to raise your estrogen level. Now is also a good time to watch your caffeine intake, as that coffee you are drinking may be affecting your estrogen levels as well. 11 While there isn’t a proven way yet to prevent Endometriosis, you can control the symptoms. The earlier you address it holistically the better.
To ease the symptoms of Endometriosis, please join our wait list for your first call. The first openings we have will be in March of 2020.