5 Natural Ways to Manage Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition of the female reproductive tract, and it is (finally) getting a lot of air time.  Recently, endometriosis research was awarded a grant for 2.5 million dollars to put towards further research, as well as the nation’s first ever action plan for this condition.

Now this is a really big deal for those suffering with this condition because it is so poorly understood.  We know there may be immune involvement, hormone imbalances, as well as an inflammatory response but there’s a lot we don’t know too.  This gives hope to women who are suffering as a result, often in silence, everything from debilitating pain to the devastation of infertility.

While it is imperative to keep an open mind in the management of this condition and take a collaborative, integrated approach from modern medicine to complementary therapies, there are a few things you can start doing at home to help manage a diagnosis of Endometriosis.

1.   Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet

How do I do this? Eat plants, a whole rainbow of them, and go organic, or at least spray free where possible.  The bulk of your diet should consist of plenty of vegetables, especially the leafy green ones, fruit like berries, healthy fats, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, eggs and good quality meat and fish.  Some of the most beneficial things you can include are…

  • Vegetables; lots of different colours and particularly the cruciferous family (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage and brussel sprouts), they contain indoles, which help your body to metabolise oestrogen – pretty handy in a condition which is oestrogen dependant.
  • Gingertry ginger tea, it can also help with nausea that can be associated with endometriosis.
  • Turmericthe key with turmeric is to ensure its combined with a source of healthy fat, as well as black pepper. Try making a jar of turmeric paste and adding it to everything! Think turmeric lattes, golden porridge and curries.
  • Bone broth; contains an abundance of minerals, glutamine and collagen for gut and immune health.
  • Essential fatssalmon, avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, hemp, all contain essential fatty acids, natural anti-inflammatories which help to reduce prostagliandin E2, which has been linked to the pain associated with Endometriosis.

Along with all these beautiful nourishing foods you can include, there are a few you should aim to cut out.  Mainly the pro-inflammatory ones that don’t provide a great deal of nutrition – not ideal in an inflammatory condition.

  • Refined sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Gluten, particularly wheat
  • Dairy

2.   Look after your liver

Including foods that naturally promote liver detoxification is essential for hormone balance.  Heard the term oestrogen dominance before?  Get your liver in check by following these simple tips;

  • Apple Cider Vinegar; have a cap full each morning with warm water on rising.
  • Greens; not only should you load up on leafy greens in the diet but some powdered greens like chlorella and spirulina may help the liver do its job more effectively.
  • Rosemary Tea; the liver’s best friend when it comes to detoxifying the less desirable type of oestrogen. Add it to your food if the tea isn’t your thing.

3.   Check your gut health

  • Fibre; all that work you’ve done on your liver won’t mean much if you aren’t eliminating properly. Increasing fibre from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains as well as plenty of filtered water, helps with bowel regularity and getting rid of toxins your liver has filtered out.
  • Probiotics; good gut health can help regulate your immune system. This is important because one of the theories of the cause of endometriosis, is a link to autoimmunity.  Not all probiotics are suitable for everyone though, so check with your Naturopath.
  • Prebiotic foods; leeks, asparagus, garlic, onion, oats, bananas, flaxseeds, seaweed and apples. These foods all promote the growth and health of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

4.   Reduce the stress

A lot of our hormones are made from similar building blocks in our bodies.  Cortisol is our stress hormone, and when its elevated for an extended period of time it can cause imbalances in other hormones, like progesterone.  Progesterone may be protective in endometriosis, so keeping our stress levels in check is a good idea.  Along with adopting regular exercise, yoga and meditation to manage stress, and keep your hormones well balanced, some nutrients you can try are;

  • B Group Vitamins
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C

There are plenty of herbal formulas to help with Endometriosis, but its best to check with your Naturopath which ones would suit you best.

 5.   Reduce your chemical exposure

Exposure to environmental toxins has increasing evidence to show it is having a negative effect on our health, especially our hormones.  There are a few ways to reduce your chemical exposure, a must in Endometriosis care. The toxins present in our lives can contribute to leaky gut, immune dysfunction and hormone imbalances, all potential contributors to Endometriosis prevalence and severity.  Try some of these simple changes to reduce chemical exposure in day to day life;

  • Swap plastic containers to glass or stainless
  • Ditch the bottled water, get a reusable glass or stainless steel bottle and fill it up
  • Filter your water
  • Go organic 
  • Swap to natural personal care and home cleaning products