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Yorkville Naturopathic DoctorEndometriosis

Some common symptoms of endometriosis:

Many endometrial symptoms are common to other diseases too; the only way to diagnose it for certain is through surgery & laparoscopy (where a tiny camera is inserted into the abdomen to look for endometrial tissue). Be sure to seek professional help in diagnosing and treating your condition.

What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a gynecological condition that affects approximately 15% of North American women, making it the second most common gynecological problem after fibroids. It is a benign condition, but it is associated with a an increased risk of infertility and certain cancers.

The "endometrium" is the blood-rich lining of of the uterus where the embryo implants in pregnancy, and which is shed during periods if pregnancy does not occur. In "endometriosis", this tissue is located in places outside of the uterus, such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines, bladder, and in more rare cases, in the lungs, heart, armpit, and eye. No matter where it is, this tissue is sensitive to the natural hormonal cycles of the body, meaning it also bleeds when the period occurs. During a period, the blood from the uterus escapes through the vagina, but for these misplaced endometrial cells, the blood has nowhere to go and gets trapped, causing pain, cysts, inflammation, and scarring.

Possible causes of endometriosis.
The cause of endometriosis is not known for certain.  Despite this, it can still be diagnosed and treated through Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and other natural therapies.  Many treatment options are available through naturopathic medicine.

  • Retrograde menstruation - This is the backwards flow of menstrual fluids, and it occurs in all menstruating women. Fragments of menstrual flow have been shown to grow in tissue cultures or when injected under skin.
  • Spread through lymphatic fluid or blood
  • Mullerian metaplasia (embryological theory) - Endometrial cells are not distributed only to the correct places during when the fetus first develops. Later in life, these misplaced cells respond to triggers (e.g. hormones) to make them functional endometrial cells.
  • Altered Immune function - The immune system may be attacking the body, or it may be lagging in its job of clearing the endometrial tissue.
  • Environmental triggers - Interactions between the hormonal (endocrine) system, the immune system and the environment, combined with a possible genetic predisposition. Environmental factors include xenoestrogens (fake, synthetic, or "outside" estrogens) in PCBs, pesticides & detergents.

Endometriosis is a reflection of deeper imbalances in your body. Make sure you address these issues instead of just trying to alleviate the symptoms that you are experiencing. If you don't address the cause of the problem, it may manifest as something worse one day.

Page 1 - Endometriosis Intro Page 2 - Treatment Goals >> Page 3 - Excess Estrogen >>