Tracy Gaibisso Naturopath
1:10 women suffer from Endometriosis, a condition where tissue similar to that within the lining of the uterus is located outside the womb. This tissue can adhere to organs anywhere in the body but most often on organs such as the fallopian tubes, bladder, ovaries and peritoneum. The ‘rogue’ tissue responds to the body’s cyclical hormones which can cause severe pain and inflammation, scarring and adhesions. Typical diagnosis can take anywhere between 7-10 years and it is often the case that women have seen multiple practitioners and specialists before being diagnosed.
Definitive diagnosis can only be made via a laparoscopy and it is recommended to use surgeons who have advanced laparoscopic training. (There are currently only 3 such surgeons in Perth as of today’s date). It cannot be diagnosed via a blood test or ultrasound. If the disease is advanced or the sonographer is experienced some ultrasound’s may show indications of endometriosis but a laparoscopy is still recommended.
The cause is currently not known there are a few theories but nothing that everybody agrees on. What is known is that it is an inflammatory condition and driven by the cycling of hormones such as estrogen through the menstrual cycle.
Typical medical treatment offered will be either the oral contraceptive pill in order to provide consistency of hormones or other hormonal medication may be offered which may induce symptoms similar to menopause. Alternately surgery will be recommended.
Naturopathic and complementary medicine has several supporting areas which may be useful to endometriosis sufferers.
Diet- While there is no one diet for endometriosis sufferer, removal of inflammatory foods and increasing non- inflammatory foods may offer some support. Try adding in ginger, garlic, turmeric and fish to your diet regularly, while removing processed white foods such as pasta, white rice, biscuits, crackers and bread. Genetic testing- Most naturopaths are able to offer specific gene testing to assist with guiding the best diet and lifestyle for each individual suffering with endometriosis.
Lifestyle- Stress reduction together with exercise is paramount to moving out of flight/fight mode and women with endometriosis have been shown to have significant emotional stress ( PMID:22527982). There are several stress reduction techniques and specific exercise recommendations that can be given for women with endometriosis.
Herbal medicine- Several herbs have been shown to be useful in endometriosis symptoms. (PMID:19374255, PMID:26261704)