Endometriosis – 1 in 10 women suffer, yet most haven’t heard of it.
Endometriosis is a condition where uterine cells grow outside of the uterus. The cells continue to go through the same phases of menstrual cycles but in other areas of the torso. The resulting inflammation and swelling can cause pelvic pain, bowel and urinary issues, and infertility.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis affects over 1 in 10 women, has no clear cause, and often goes for many years without an accurate diagnosis. Women are often told it is “in their heads” or that they are experiencing typical “menstrual difficulties” and must just deal with any menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea), excessive bleeding, and pain during sex. Sometimes it is misdiagnosed as a pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or ovarian cysts. Naturopathic treatment can reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms.
What Causes Endometriosis?
The condition is likely caused by a mix of genetics and hormonal imbalance. Many scientists believe that it is due to “retrograde menstruation,” in which the uterine lining leaves the uterus through the fallopian tubes rather than through the vagina. Cells of the lining then attach to other organs in the lower torso and then follow the hormonal cycle of menstruation, engorging and sloughing off every month. The unusual location causes pain, swelling, and other issues.[i]
The pain and infertility frequently caused by endometriosis can be treated with a variety of methods that fix the hormone imbalance. Balanced hormones then reduce inflammation, which then relieves pain and helps restore fertility. Naturopathic care also provides support for the mental and emotional symptoms of this condition. Treatment is tailored to each person to manage pain and other symptoms.[ii]
What are Common Naturopathic Solutions?
- Bio-identical hormone treatments: Endometriosis has been linked to high levels of estrogen, which can cause thicker uterine linings. Menopause, which reduces hormones like estrogen, can lessen pain for sufferers of endometriosis, although it isn’t a cure.[iii] A naturopathic doctor can help you structure a hormone treatment around your specific chemical equilibrium to offset the imbalance that may be worsening your discomfort.[iv]
- Changes in diet: Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease, and certain foods, notably processed foods, can increase inflammation and cause further physical distress. Cutting these foods from your diet and replacing them with anti-inflammatory herbal supplements and foods will help lessen painful side effects.
- Natural pain moderation: Acupuncture[vi], IV Therapy, and other common naturopathic practices have been shown to reduce inflammation and pain naturally.
- Supplementing your diet: Several herbal supplements have been shown to lessen pain, swelling, and infertility.[vii] Fatty acids like Omega-3s and alpha-lipoic acid, as well as ginger, reduce inflammation[viii], and a study was released showing that the natural compound N-acetylcysteine[ix] can reduce the number and severity of endometrial lesions.
- Fertility treatments: Using a combination of the methods listed above – herbal supplements, diet changes, and acupuncture, among others – you can treat endometriosis-related infertility to allow you to grow your family.[x]
How can the Naturopathic Physicians Group Help?
At Naturopathic Physician’s Group, you will work with our physicians to develop a holistic, individualized health plan based on natural treatments like those listed above.
We focus on physical health and diet, bioidentical hormone treatments, and herbal supplements to help you tailor your treatment to specific symptoms, needs, and desires. Whether you are looking to manage pain, excessive bleeding, or conceive a child, naturopathic treatment can help you overcome the obstacles posed by endometriosis.
Call and schedule an appointment if you are experiencing specific symptoms and for all other women’s health care issues: (480) 451-6161.
[i] SpeakEndo.com, “About endometriosis.” https://www.speakendo.com/about-endometriosis/causes
[ii] Office on Women’s Health, “Endometriosis,” 1/30/2019 https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/endometriosis#14
[iii] Everyday Health, “Why Menopause Won’t Cure Endometriosis, Fibroids, or PCOS,” Beth W. Orenstein, 5/18/2015. https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/why-menopause-wont-cure-endometriosis-fibroids-ovarian-cysts
[iv] Life Extension, “Endometriosis.” https://www.lifeextension.com/protocols/female-reproductive/endometriosis/page-04?p=1
[vi] The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, “Electrodermal Measures of Jing-Well Points and Their Clinical Relevance in Endometriosis-Related Chronic Pelvic Pain,” Vol. 15, No. 12, Andrew C. Ahn, Rosa Schnyer, Lisa Conboy, Marc R. Laufer, and Peter M. Wayne, 12/15/2009 https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2008.0597
[vii] Infertility: Nutrition, Fertility, and Human Reproductive Function, edited by Kelton Tremellen and Karma Pearce, 2015
[viii] Healthline, “6 Supplements that Fight Inflammation,” Frankia Spritzler, RD, CDE, 2/29/2016 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-anti-inflammatory-supplements#section4
[ix] Evidence-Based Complementary Alternative Medicine, “A Promise in the Treatment of Endometriosis: An Observational Cohort Study on Ovarian Endometrioma Reduction by N-Acetylcysteine,” 5/7/2013, Maria Grazia Porpora and colleagues. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662115/
[x] Health Communities.com, “Naturopathic Treatment for Female Infertility,” 9/15/2015 http://www.healthcommunities.com/female-infertility/alternative-medicine/naturopathy-and-female-infertility.shtml