Are you seeking an integrative approach to managing Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease that is strongly influenced by the levels of hormones in the body, particularly estrogen. It is characterised by the growth of endometrial tissue in parts of the body where it isn’t supposed to grow. The endometrium is the inside lining of the uterus, the part that sheds to cause a menstrual bleed/period. In women with endometriosis, cells that are normally found in the endometrium migrate to other parts of the body, such as the bowel, bladder, and ovaries. These cells still act as though they are inside the lining of the uterus, and therefore they react to cyclic hormonal changes – the cells grow, break down, and bleed, just as they would in the endometrium. However, the blood has nowhere to go, unlike menstrual blood, and so it can build up to cause inflammation and pain.
The condition affects 4-10% of all women. For some women it is an extremely debilitating condition, and for others, it can be relatively silent (meaning it doesn’t produce noticeable signs and symptoms).
The cause of endometriosis is not clear, however, there are certain risk factors that may play a role in the development of endometriosis:
- Genetics – women who have an immediate family member with endometriosis are 7-10 times more likely to develop the condition
- Excess estrogen levels
- Menstrual factors – early menarche and long and heavy periods
- Exercise – lack of physical activity can be an underlying factor. Furthermore, strenuous physical activity during menstruation may also increase the risk
- Women who use Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)
- Lifestyle factors – data has shown an association between alcohol intake, cigarette smoking, and high carbohydrate intake and the prevalence of endometriosis
- Abnormal bowel flora – changes in normal bowel flora may cause intestinal inflammation precipitated by endometriosis
- Sex while menstruating – there is an higher rate of endometriosis in women who have had intercourse while menstruating
- Environmental toxins – dioxin, DDT and other substances have been implicated in endometriosis
Just as each person’s underlying causes are different, so to are their signs and symptoms.
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Common signs and symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Dysmenorrhea (painful periods or menstrual cramping) and/or pelvic pain – 3 out of 4 women experience this
- Cyclic pain that accompanies bleeding at time of menstruation
- Pain during ovulation
- Pain during or after intercourse
- Heavy or long periods with or without clots
- Premenstrual spotting
- Pain or bleeding from the bowel or bladder
- Changes to bowel motions – constipation (particularly premenstrual), diarrhoea (particularly during menstruation), flatulence, abdominal bloating and/or pain, nausea, vomiting
- Vaginal thrush or urinary tract infections
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Pain in legs, thighs and back
- Anxiety and depression (often due to pain)
As you can see, the underlying causes and signs and symptoms of endometriosis are many and varied, and so treatment requires a very individualised approach.
Medical Diagnosis & Treatment
A definitive diagnosis involves a laparoscopic ultrasound that is performed by a GP or gynaecologist. Our Naturopaths can support you through the process of diagnosis, by providing necessary referrals and working collaboratively with medical professionals.
Medical treatment of endometriosis usually involves surgery that removes the endometrial lesions or cysts. One study found that 62.5% of women reported reduced or resolved levels of pain following surgery. Other medical interventions may include using medications to control certain hormones in order to reduce the signs and symptoms. While these approaches may provide relief, they do not address the underlying factors contributing to the disease.
Our Naturopathic Integrative Approach
To ensure you are receiving the best possible care, we take an extremely thorough and integrated approach, utilising functional pathology testing, nutritional and herbal medicines, dietary and lifestyle changes.
Our Naturopaths work along with your other health professionals to ensure you receive the best possible outcomes.
A naturopathic approach to the treatment of endometriosis involves assessing your individual case (meaning the signs, symptoms and underlying causes that are specific to you) and implementing a treatment plan that addresses the following:
- Balancing hormone levels – excessive estrogen levels in the body may promote the growth of endometrial tissue. There are a number of reasons why estrogen levels can be too high, and our Naturopaths assess possible environmental and biological factors to determine the cause/s of estrogen dominance. Testing for different types of estrogen, as well as assessing the balance of estrogen alongside other important hormones such as progesterone, is fundamental in determining appropriate treatment. Once testing is completed, nutritional, herbal and lifestyle interventions can assist in regulating estrogen levels by supporting the body’s natural hormonal balance.
- Regulating inflammation and modulating immune system function – endometriosis is termed a chronic inflammatory disease as it is characterised by a high presence of inflammatory compounds. This has been linked to immune function, with many researchers suggesting there is an autoimmune component to endometriosis. Herbal medicine, anti-inflammatory foods and supplements, probiotics, as well as lifestyle modifications can greatly reduce the inflammatory processes, and thus the pain associated with endometriosis.
- Improving nutritional status – certain nutrients are known to be deficient in women with endometriosis. Replenishing these nutrients, through diet and nutritional supplements, can greatly improve hormonal health and overall body function.
- Improving fertility outcomes – endometriosis is one of the most common causes of infertility. Naturopathic treatment of endometriosis will aim to improve fertility if desired.
Naturopathic treatment methods are highly effective in managing and improving signs and symptoms associated with endometriosis. Of course, in some instances, medical interventions may be required, and we are very aware and supportive of this.
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Our Practitioners treat the root cause and not just the symptoms.
Through accurate assessment and scientific testing we can identify imbalances.
Our minimal fuss treatment plans address these imbalances.
Why do we offer a Free Naturopath Assessment Consultation?
- Many clients are not sure if Naturopathy can help them.
- Maybe you have seen a Practitioner before and you want to figure out if we can help further.
- You might have questions that you want to ask the Practitioner in person before you commence a treatment plan.
- You may be wondering if we can identify what is causing your symptoms.