Natural Treatment Options For Endometriosis.
Endometriosis is is a painful gynecological condition in which endometrial (uterine) tissue grows outside of the uterus. It can grow on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and even on the bladder and bowels. It’s not clear how it reaches these different places in the pelvis, but what we do know is that the immune system of women with endometriosis produces inflammatory markers and antibodies that result in inflammation and further growth of the endometrial tissue. Women with endometriosis are at an increased risk of infertility and miscarriage, as well as developing ovarian cancer.
Some women experience minimal pain and only around the time of their periods; other women can experience debilitating pain that can start as early as mid-cycle and last until the end of the flow. That’s 3 weeks of chronic pain each and every month. The treatment approach for endometriosis has always been surgery followed by hormonal suppression with the birth control or other drugs. Women also rely on anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen and acetaminophen multiple times per day for several days to manage pain even after they’ve had surgery and/or are taking the pill.
Findings in the last decade has us switching gears towards more anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating treatment approaches. Firstly, there is growing evidence to suggest that endometriosis is not primarily a hormonal condition but rather an autoimmune one based on the presence of antibodies and inflammatory cytokines. There also appears to be a strong association between endometriosis and the risk of developing other autoimmunediseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Secondly, endometriosis has been shown to involve deficiencies in anti-oxidants necessary to manage and reduce oxidative stress in the body, particularly in endometrial tissue.The following interventions have been shown to be effective treatment options for women with endometriosis because they address both the immune and inflammatory components of the condition:
- Fish oil is a potent anti-inflammatory and is a mainstay in the treatment of endometriosis.
- Melatonin is a potent antioxidant, quenches oxidative stress and reduces the need for analgesic medication like ibuprofen and acetaminophen
- Calcium has been shown to significantly reduce the severity and duration of menstrual and pelvic pain
- Ginger is a well known for its ability to reduce muscle spasms and has too been shown to reduce menstrual and pelvic pain.
- Vitamin C has been shown to prevent endometrial tissue growth.
- Curcumin and resveratrol have been shown to prevent endometrial tissue regrowth after surgery.
- Low levels of vitamin D are frequently found in in women with endometriosis and should be corrected to prevent further tissue growth and reduce pelvic pain.
These are only some of the many interventions we use to help women rely less on pain medication, gain control of their health and get their lives back.
Article by Dr. Dominika Zarzeczny ND. Dominika has a clinical focus in women’s health and mental health. You can find Dominika in clinic at Wellth on Tuesday & Thursday. Call to book your appointment now > 416-504-9355.