Worldwide Endometriosis March
Endometriosis or “endo” affects an estimated 176 million women and girls worldwide.
Being Endometriosis Awareness Week, I wanted to outline a few facts about Endometriosis. I feel with the right information & resources girls and women can take steps to lead healthy, vibrant lives.
What is Endometriosis?
Studies show Endometriosis is a complex and painful condition that affects 5-10% of menstruating women in Australia.
I actually think these figures are on the low side, from the amount of women I see with this condition.
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to that, which normally lines the uterus, grows in other parts of the body.
The stray endometrial tissue is referred to as endometrial implants or endometrial lesions. Endometrial lesions are most commonly found in the pelvis, on the ovaries, on the ligaments that support the uterus and in the Pouch of Douglas (the area between the uterus and rectum). Other common site include the surface of the uterus, fallopian tubes, bowel, cervix, vagina, ureters (the tubes connecting the kidney to the bladder), and bladder and has even been found in the brain and the eye.
The condition is associated with severe pelvic and period pain, heavy periods and infertility, all of which can have a negative impact on the lives of affected women, their family and friends.
Pain is the most common symptom experienced by women with endometriosis. There are many ways that endometrial lesions can cause pain.
Lesions cause irritation and inflammation to the tissue and organs that surround them. Scar tissue forming around the lesions can result in adhesions that stick the pelvic organs together. These adhesions can mean that the stuck together organs are unable to move freely, making movements such as ovulation, sexual intercourse or going to the toilet painful. Over time, the endometrial lesions on the ovaries may enlarge and form cysts. These cysts are called ‘chocolate cysts’ because they are filled with old blood, which is chocolate-like in colour.
What are the symptoms of Endometriosis?
Endometriosis symptoms vary widely depending on the size and location of the implants in the body.
They can include:
- Painful periods – The pain typically begins a few days before the period and usually lasts the whole of the period. It is different to normal period pain, which is usually not as severe and doesn’t last as long.
- Painful sex – The pain is typically felt deep inside and may last a few hours after sex.
- Pain in the lower abdomen and pelvic area – Sometimes the pain is constant but it is usually worse on the days just before and during a period.
- Bleeding in-between periods
- Difficulty becoming pregnant – This may be due to clumps of endometriosis blocking the passage of the egg from an ovary to the Fallopian tube.
- Other symptoms – include pain on passing poo (faeces), pain in the lower abdomen when you pass urine and rarely, blood in the urine or faeces. Very rarely, patches of endometriosis occur in other sites of the body. This can cause unusual pains in parts of the body that occur at the same time as period pains.
The severity of symptoms is not necessarily related to the severity of the endometriosis; a woman with extensive endometriosis may have no symptoms at all while a woman with minimal endometriosis may have severe symptoms.
While women typically experience symptoms at the time of their period, because there are many different types of pain experienced by women with endometriosis symptoms can also occur at other times and can continue after menopause.
The anticipation of pain or discomfort, recurrence of symptoms following treatment and fertility problems can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, hopelessness and stress amongst sufferers.
There are a variety of risk factors for the development of endometriosis.
Here are the main risk factors:
- Too much estrogen/too little progesterone
- Genetic predisposition
- Too much conventional meat
- Radiation and EMF’s
- An abnormality in the immune system
- Exposure to environmental toxins
- Benign uterine fibroids
What causes Endometriosis?
Doctors and Scientists don’t really know for sure what causes endometriosis. Research shows that there are many different factors in the development of this condition, with possibly many different origins.
How I view Endometriosis
Endometriosis results from the slowdown and stagnation of blood flow in the pelvis. This sluggishness in blood flow can be caused by a number of factors; this is why in my treatments I will often ask about many seemingly unrelated questions. This is because every individual person will be individually treated, even though the basic underlying pathological mechanism remains ‘blood stagnation’. There are usually other complicating factors in individual clients, such as poor digestion, weakness in certain parts of the body, especially the kidneys (which supports the whole reproductive system), general tiredness and tension.
If these other issues are not addressed, a client may have temporary improvements, but is quite likely to have a relapse sooner or later, because these factors may have been part of the precipitating scenario in the first place.
The terrain of the body is also affected by stress so holding stress in the abdomen is an important factor in the cause of blood stagnation because the act of tensing the muscles tends to slow the flow of energy ¬¬ the ‘qi’ ¬¬which itself is involved in ensuring blood movement. Even low-grade tension, if frequent enough, can cause reduction in the flow of qi and finally sluggishness in blood flow resulting in eventual stagnation in the pelvis.
The Liver, which is sensitive to stress and responsible for moving qi throughout the body, has a channel, which runs directly over the ovarian area and then encircles the genitals before it runs down the thigh. Any impediment to energy flow here will cause backup across the numerous other channels that traverse the area, exactly like the traffic jam that results if a major traffic conduit becomes backed up.
With the constant emptying and filling of the uterine vessels during menstruation that makes blood stagnation so much more of a problem with women.
I see stress as a major factor here this is just one of the reasons I teach stress management techniques in my practise with clients.
The main concerns with regards to endometriosis are:
- Inflammation – Endometriosis is an inflammatory response; and with inflammation comes pain. So we need to manage the inflammation wherever it’s located.
- Autoimmune – There are links and some believe that there is an autoimmune characteristic to endometriosis and that the body is unable to recognize and destroy endometrial tissue that’s growing outside the uterus. I often see clients that have Endometriosis and also have autoimmune issues.
- Stress – Stress is a part of life, but how one responds or reacts will be how it affects the terrain of your body.
- Scarring – If you have severe endometriosis that can lead to scarring and blockages, but also if you’ve had multiple surgeries to remove the lesions then that can also lead to scarring over time. And that’s definitely something that needs to be corrected and treated to help facilitate a healthy pregnancy.
- Ovulatory issue – about one third of all women with endometriosis don’t ovulate regularly or have an ovulatory issue and potentially also have a ludiophase defect.
How is it Diagnosed?
Currently the only way to definitively diagnose endometriosis is through. Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure, which involves inserting a long, thin telescope (laparoscope) into the abdomen through an incision near the navel. Gas is pumped into the abdomen to separate the organs so the surgeon can look for signs of endometriosis. If endometriosis is present it is classified from stage 1 to 4 (mild to severe) according to its location and depth. If endometriosis is present it might also be removed at this time if the surgeon has the patients permission..
How can it be treated?
There are both Medical Options and Natural Therapies to help heal the body from endometriosis
Western Medicine approaches to treating endometriosis?
There are two medical options for treating Endometriosis, there’s hormone therapy and surgery.
Hormonal and Pain Medications
Doctors may prescribe hormonal medications. The purpose is to stop the menstrual cycle to prevent further growth of the endometrial tissues. This may also help to reduce pain. If pain is still present they may prescribe pain medications. Hormonal medications alter the natural menstrual cycle and may prevent pregnancy. They all come with a variety of side effects. Medications are not always effective and once medications are stopped the endometriosis may come back or spread further. You really need to do your own research and decide for yourself.
Doctors will often suggest laparoscopic or abdominal surgery to remove the endometrial lesions, scar tissue damaged areas and clip away adhesions if possible. The best surgical option today, for endometriosis, is the advanced surgical technique known as excision surgery. Excision surgery aims at removing the roots of the disease. In the case of severe endometriosis, a doctor may suggest a full hysterectomy (removal of uterus, cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes).
Most times surgical options may be combined with natural therapies.
If you all know me, my preference is to go through the natural treatment options. So Number One when it comes to natural treatment options are AcuEnergetics® my protocol of treatment, Rebirthing Breathwork Mastery , Meditation and Food as Medicine. I take all your symptoms into consideration when treating you, as an individual and as a whole, not just the condition. This is why all treatments are individually tailored to you; remember we are not all the same even when our symptoms are similar.
AcuEnergetics® and my treatment protocol works great at calming the inflammatory response, treating the pain; and break up the lesions and also dealing with the inflammatory response. The underlying root cause is important to address and why we have created the Endometriosis in our body and addressing our emotional component, this is also where Rebirthing Breathwork Mastery and Meditation are useful. There are degrees and variations of endometriosis so that is what dictates how I treat you and what other symptomology we might be addressing with these techniques. It’s difficult for me to tell you what I would use because I customize that for each client, but these are my preferred methods for treating endometriosis.
There are a variety of steps that “YOU” can take to heal and reduce the effects it can have on your quality of life.
The following steps can help you to support a healthy endometrium.
Avoid exposure to environmental toxins. Exposure to certain toxins may make endometriosis worse. Use only natural product on your skin (make-up, face & body lotions) and in your household.
Cleansing is really useful and fertility cleansing is vital to supporting hormonal balance and uterine health.
Castor oil packs are useful in helping to break up lesions on the outside portion of the pelvic region and eliminate excess endometrium.
Vaginal Steams are going to help clean out the inside of the uterus.
Womb Massage encourages circulation and movement into the abdomen and pelvic areas, breaking down and eliminate scar tissue.
Diet is your foundation. There are many foods that contribute to the spread and pain of endometriosis, limit those. Choose foods that support estrogen metabolism and reduce inflammation.
Dietary changes to manage your endometriosis
Avoid alcohol completely for a couple of months, then limit your intake to only one or two units a week. Your liver helps control the excretion of your hormones and if you want it to work efficiently it is better not to have alcohol, which causes your liver to work overtime.
Reduce or avoid saturated fats (fried food and animal fats). A diet high in saturated fats can contribute to weight gain. Oestrogen is stored in fat, so it is particularly important to maintain a healthy natural weight. Studies also show that women who are overweight generally have more oestrogen in circulation because fat can manufacture oestrogen.
Reduce or avoid dairy produce and red meat. These foods contain a substance called ‘arachidonic acid’, which encourages the production of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. Some prostaglandins are highly inflammatory substances that can cause swelling, pain and in some cases, thicken the blood itself. It can also trigger muscle contraction and constriction in the blood vessels, which can increase period pains, endometriosis-related cramps and the spread of endometrial tissue. The high saturated fat content of both dairy and red meat is also a factor in producing more oestrogen.
Increase the good fats. Your body produces beneficial prostaglandins from essential fatty acids, which help to reduce period pains. They also have an anti-inflammatory response, which is particularly beneficial to endometriosis sufferers.
Avoid caffeine. As well as having a diuretic effect on the body (which depletes valuable stores of vitamins and minerals that are essential to healthy hormone balance) intake in excess of two cups a day has been linked to endometriosis some studies have shown. Caffeine also has the liver work harder and if one has Endometriosis the liver will already be overloaded.
Making lifestyle changes allows your body to reduce the stagnation of endometriosis and inflammatory effects:
• Take time in life to rest, don’t always rush around.
• Wear comfortable clothing that is not too tight.
• Practise mind body exercise such as tai chi, meditation, yoga.
• During your period: rest, avoid cold foods and drinks and avoid abdominal exercises.
So to recap: You can do surgery if you need to. I prefer natural therapies as I indicated above using AcuEnergetics®, Rebirthing Breathwork Mastery, Meditation; cleaning up your diet is a must; cleaning up your household products is a must; eat organic foods, use natural feminine care products, use organic natural body care products, including makeup, avoid food preservatives and dyes
and using Vaginal steam and Castor packs are useful.
If you would like to engage my services, would like support to track your cycle and symptoms, have questions or would like further information call me.