Our columnist explores natural ways to ease endometriosis
Endometriosis and adenomyosis are complex disorders of the female reproductive tract whereby cells, similar to those found in the lining of the womb, are found elsewhere in the body. However, they develop differently and can have varying symptoms: In adenomysosis, these rogue cells grow within the wall of the uterus, in endometriosis they grow outside of the uterus. Endometriosis is more common in adolescents and women of reproductive age and adenomyosis in women who have had more than one child. You can have one or both of these disorders and a 2017 study showed that 42.3 percent of women have a dual diagnosis of adenomyosis and endometriosis.
Both are progressive and oestrogen dependent, influenced by the fluctuation in hormones during the menstrual cycle stimulating these cells to grow, then break down and bleed as they would in the lining of the womb, leading to inflammation and pain.
Studies have demonstrated that nutritional therapy (diet and supplements) is an effective approach, in fact results have shown that it can be more effective at obtaining pain relief and improving quality of life, than hormonal treatment post-surgery.
Nutrient deficiencies come about as a result of not enough food or too much of the wrong food. Sometimes it can be that we are eating well but not well enough to provide the specific nutrients we need to heal from a given condition. Some gentle changes really can help you make strides in your experience of endometriosis.
Research shows women who ate green vegetables 13 times or more per week (roughly twice a day) were 70 percent less likely to have endometriosis. A study published earlier this year concluded that carotenoid-rich foods (especially citrus fruit) also positively affected symptoms of endometriosis. Use smoothies, juicing or soups to deeply nourish.
Beneficial gut bacteria can reduce the production of beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme that remakes oestrogen in the gut and can contribute to its dominance. Incorporate natural, organic yoghurt into your daily diet, either on its own or use it to make dressings and sauces. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut or Kefir are excellent sources of beneficial bacteria too or take a probiotic supplement (min. 10 billion CFU).
Zinc and magnesium are used up in abundant amounts during states of physical imbalances. During menstruation women can lose up to half their magnesium supply. Women with endometriosis and adenomyosis often suffer from heavy bleeding during a period and this significantly reduces our stores of the mineral iron.
Henrietta Norton is an established nutritional therapist, women’s health expert and founder of award-winning supplement brand Wild Nutrition
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