Naturopathic Tips:


Endometriosis Part 3 - Treatment Options


Treatment Options - Everyone experiences illnesses differently, and naturopaths take many variables into consideration to tailor the treatments to you. It is not possible to list the "best" treatment plan here, as that is different for every woman who suffers from endometriosis. Treatment options based on the above goals include supplements (e.g. vitamins, minerals, nutraceuticals, etc), acupuncture, herbal formulas, homeopathy, lifestyle changes, dietary changes, and counseling as support and in attempts to uncover underlying mental/emotional issues that may aggravate or cause physical disturbances.

Endometrial tissues are estrogen sensitive, and the North American woman commonly has excess estrogen in her body. In addition to aggravating endometriosis, increasing PMS symptoms, and creating emotional stress, excess estrogen is associated with an increased risk of certain cancers. It is therefore really important to achieve and maintain normal estrogen levels as much as possible.

Optimizing Estrogen Levels:

  1. Get rid of extra estrogen.
  2. Get less estrogen in the diet.
  3. Store less estrogen. 

Get rid of extra estrogen.
Estrogen is broken down by the liver (via detoxification), so we want to support the liver's detox functions. B-vitamins are important for this, and they also get depleted by stress and Birth Control Pills (BCP), which are sometimes prescribed to try to regulate endometriosis/periods. If you are taking BCPs, it is really important to take a B50-complex, as B-vitamins are also important for your nervous system (nerve function & brain function which may affect anxiety & stress levels). Note: The B-vitamins will turn your urine really yellow, and this is normal.

Foods that support the liver include: dark leafy green vegetables, beets, carrots, burdock, lemons, dandelion.
You can buy Taraxacum/Dandelion teas to drink instead of black or green teas.
You can drink the juice of 1/3 a lemon in a cup of water with a bit of honey every morning before you eat anything, or sip on it throughout the day.
Onions, garlic & leeks are also helpful sulphur-containing compounds (sulphur is also important in the detoxification process).

Bowel Movements - Make sure you are having regular bowel movements (at least once per day). If stools remain in intestines, you end up re-absorbing whatever's in your stool, including toxins and hormones like estrogen. This will lead to sluggishness and sub-optimal body functions. Also increase fibre intake (via fruits & vegetables) because fibre binds some estrogen and helps elimination.

Water Consumption - Drink enough water, which includes 8 glasses of water only, not tea, coffee, juice, pop, etc. Water can help reduce constipation (see above), and help detoxify your body. Kidneys filter out a certain amount of water no matter how much you drink, so if you don't drink enough you will just keep losing water and become dehydrated. But make sure you drink good water (e.g. filtered water) because tap water has a lot of chemicals in it that are bad for you. Read more.

Intestinal Bacteria - The bacteria intestines can be divided into "good bacteria" and "bad bacteria". Good bacteria in the large intestine help break down some of the estrogen that makes it to the large intestine. Many people who eat poorly or who have had antibiotics any time in their life can have too much bad bacteria, so less estrogen is broken down and more is absorbed. Good bacteria also contribute to proper immune function by out-competing bad bacteria, so it is important to help them flourish. You can accomplish this by taking a supplement of "probiotics", which is the good bacteria; many probiotics in health-food stores are not very good, and supply very little (if any) viable bacteria; professional products provided by your naturopath are much higher in quality and will help you more. 

Get less estrogen in the diet.
Animal meats are full of hormones to help the animals grow faster, so they can be sold sooner. Reduce the consumption of animal proteins or eat organic meat instead. If you reduce meat, make sure you still get enough protein through vegetarian sources (e.g. beans, grains, protein powders). Cow's milk and other dairy products have antibiotics in them, which can upset the bacterial balance in your body; try organic milk, soy milk or rice milk.

Limit your exposure to xenoestrogens & alcohol (which increases estrogen levels). Xenoestrogens, sadly, are everywhere in our environment, especially in plastics. Avoid drinking from plastic bottles and heating up plastic (e.g. in the microwave like Tupperware, or putting hot liquids in plastic bottles). If you bring water around, use a glass bottle. If you look on the bottom of plastic bottles, they usually have a triangle with a number in it; typical bottles of water have a "1" in the triangle, which means it is a really soft plastic; bottles like Nalgene usually have a "7", which means it is harder. Less chemicals leach or come out of harder plastics (less does not mean none, that's why glass is better). 

Store less estrogen.
Figure out what is the optimal body weight for yourself, and exercise to get there if you are not already there. (There are websites that allow you to calculate BMI "Body mass index" from your height and weight.) Exercising affects concentration, pain, water retention, detoxification, circulation, and is good for you overall! Fat is a great storage container for estrogen (and toxins in general), so the less excess fat, the less excess estrogen storage.

Remember that these are only introductory recommendations, and do not address the root cause of endometriosis or other estrogen-related conditions. It takes a good history to figure out the root cause of disease; these suggestions will help clean up your system but much more required in order to treat your condition fully.

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