Aetiology – Endometriosis affects an estimate of 176 million women of a reproductive age worldwide, it is an inflammatory condition that targets the endometrial tissue outside the uterus associated with lesions, pelvic pain and infertility (Mills, D, S. 2016).
There are four stages of endometriomas according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).
- Stage I – small spots of endometriosis, filmy adhesions.
- Stage II – Small spots of endometriosis, filmy adhesions, and small cysts.
- Stage III – Larger implants for endometriosis over a more extensive area, approximately 3cm thick, organs stick together with these type of adhesions.
- Stage IV – The womb, ovaries, bowel and bladder are covered with implants, and the abdomen also maybe filled with blood from implants, organs adhere together this is known as frozen pelvis (The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 1992).
Signs & Symptoms
- Acute pain before menses
- Abdominal cramping
- Back pain radiating down the leg
- Pain with urination and bowel movement
Preferred dietary approaches: Foods to include:
- High fibre foods
- Organic vegetarian diet
- Emphasize phase 2 liver support with carrots, beets, artichokes, lemons, dandelions greens, watercress, burdock root, cabbage family,
- Indole-3-carbinol in broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower,
- Onions, garlic, leek
- Soy isoflavones and flaxseed lignans
- Milk thistle seeds soaked and ground
- Increase omega 3 fatty acids (wild fish, flax)
Foods to avoid:
less meat protein, soy, nut butters, decrease sugar and caffeine, dairy, red meat and alcohol, decrease omega 6 fatty acids (red meat).
Possible nutritional supplements and why they are recommended:
|Vitamin C to increase cellular immunity|
|Beta-cartene enhances immunity and increases T-helper cells|
|Vitamin E helps to correct abnormal progesterone/estradiol ratios which increases cell growth of the endometeriomas, also prevents the release of inflammatory chemicals|
|Essential Fatty Acids gamma lionenic acid in borage, black seed and evening primrose oil and alpha-linenic acid in flax seed, canola, pumpkin, soy, walnuts helps to decrease tissue inflammation|
|Vitamin B complex helps the liver inactivate estrogen|
|Selenium aids in synthesis of liver detoxification antioxidant enzymes and stimulates WBC and thymus function|
|Lipotropics enhance liver function and detoxification reactions, promotes bile flow and facilitates excretion of estrogen metabolites|
- Increase exercise – 10-40 minutes per day
- Avoid smoking and drinking
Natasha Dunn – Embryologist, nutritionist, yoga teacher and contributor to the Fertility Lifestyle Program