top of page

Empower Your Health: Advanced Solutions for Endometriosis and Adenomyosis

While distinct in their presentation, endometriosis and adenomyosis frequently coexist and share similar treatment approaches, prompting discussion together.


Endometriosis is a challenging condition, characterised by the growth of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterus. This aberrant tissue growth often leads to debilitating symptoms such as chronic pelvic pain, infertility, heavy menstrual bleeding, and fatigue. 


Adenomyosis is a similar condition in which cells that form the uterine lining are present within the muscle wall of the uterus. The main symptom is heavy bleeding, but it can also be pain and infertility.


Both endometriosis and adenomyosis can be associated with painful bladder symptoms.

The precise aetiology of both conditions remains elusive to medical experts.


period pain, women with hot water bottle

However, certain factors can increase susceptibility.

For endometriosis, risk factors include:

  • Age (particularly in the 30s and 40s).

  • Family history.

  • Prolonged and heavy menstrual periods.

  • Early onset of menstruation.

Conversely, adenomyosis risk factors include age (usually in the 40s or older), childbirth, early menstruation onset, and shorter menstrual cycles.


What happens during perimenopause and beyond menopause?


During perimenopause, hormonal fluctuations can exacerbate symptoms of adenomyosis and endometriosis, leading to irregular periods and increased bleeding.


Upon reaching menopause, oestrogen production significantly diminishes, typically bringing relief from endometriosis symptoms fuelled by oestrogen. For those with adenomyosis, menopause signals an end to the painful, heavy bleeding experienced previously.


However, in a minority of cases, symptoms may persist post-menopause due to residual oestrogen produced by adrenal glands and fat cells. Although uncommon, endometriosis can persist after menopause due to residual oestrogen, necessitating medical evaluation for persistent symptoms. While rare, it's essential to continue monitoring and managing any lingering symptoms effectively, even after menopause, to ensure optimal health and well-being.


 

The conventional approach to treating endometriosis


There is no cure for endometriosis or adenomyosis so the conventional approach to managing endometriosis and adenomyosis primarily revolves around alleviating symptoms rather than curing the conditions. This typically involves a combination of pain relief, hormone therapy, and surgical interventions.


Pain Management

Pain management strategies often include the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids, which provide temporary relief but do not address the underlying inflammation driving the disease process.


Hormonal Therapies

Hormonal therapies, such as birth control pills and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists like Zoladex, are commonly prescribed to suppress ovarian function and reduce oestrogen levels, thereby mitigating symptoms. However, these treatments may come with side effects and do not offer a permanent solution for managing endometriosis.


Progesterone medications such as Utrogestan may also be utilised, sometimes requiring higher doses, such as 300mg. The Mirena coil can also help reduce bleeding issues associated with these conditions.


Antihistamine medications may also be beneficial.


Surgery

In cases of adenomyosis, options like ablation and hysterectomy may be considered, not so much for endometriosis. Occasionally, an oophorectomy may be recommended, but treatment decisions should always be tailored to individual needs and discussed openly with a healthcare provider.


 

Given the challenges in conventionally treating and managing both endometriosis and adenomyosis, exploring alternative approaches may be beneficial for some individuals.


Understanding Endometriosis and Adenomyosis


While oestrogen indeed plays a pivotal role in both endometriosis and adenomyosis, it's essential to recognise that these conditions are multifaceted. They both involve not only heightened oestrogenic activity but also increased inflammation and an altered immune response.


Taking a functional medicine approach enables us to tackle these complexities at their core. We can address inflammation and promote healthy oestrogen metabolism by implementing targeted diet and lifestyle adjustments.


Although each woman's journey with these conditions is unique and shaped by factors like health history, environment, and lifestyle, there are overarching nutritional considerations that can serve as foundational support.

 

Nutritional Strategies for Managing Endometriosis


1. Embrace an Anti-inflammatory Diet


The role of diet in regulating inflammation, hormone balance, and immune function cannot be overstated when managing both conditions.


An anti-inflammatory diet centred around whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and fibre is the foundation for managing endometriosis symptoms. 


Including a diverse array of colourful vegetables in your daily meals ensures the intake of various phytochemicals, potent plant nutrients renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties.


Some essential phytonutrients linked to reducing inflammation include:

- Carotenoids and flavonoids found in dark green vegetables like kale, spinach, bok choy, watercress, broccoli, and chard.

- Beta-carotene, abundant in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables such as carrots, peppers, and mangoes.

- Bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme in pineapple.

- Carnasol, derived from rosemary.

- Quercetin, a flavonoid enhancing immunity, present in apples, dark berries, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sprouts, olive oil, capers, and onions.

- Pterostilbene, found in blueberries.

- Curcumin is the active anti-inflammatory compound in turmeric.


In addition to these plant-based foods, incorporating herbs and spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and capsaicin from chilli peppers can further promote an anti-inflammatory response in the body.


Omega-3 fatty acids, notably found in oily fish, eggs, and flaxseeds, are crucial for their anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial for managing endometriosis symptoms. Supplements such as flax, evening primrose, and borage oil can also provide omega-3 fats.


Vitamin D supplementation is essential for endometriosis management, especially considering the correlation between low Vitamin D levels and the condition. However, individualised testing is recommended to determine the appropriate dosage.

 

2. Reducing Pro-inflammatory Foods

While prioritising anti-inflammatory foods is essential, minimising or eliminating foods that can trigger inflammation in the body is equally crucial. 


Begin by avoiding or limiting foods high in sugar, trans fats, and omega-6 fats, as they tend to provoke an inflammatory response. This includes processed foods, refined carbohydrates like pasta, cakes, biscuits, and conventionally produced meats.


High insulin levels can exacerbate inflammation. Opting for foods with a lower glycaemic load (GL) becomes significant for regulating insulin levels and incorporating healthy protein and fat sources into every meal aids in better blood glucose and insulin management.


It's advisable to minimise consumption of caffeine and alcohol as well. 


3. Going Gluten Free

Adopting a gluten-free and A1 casein-free diet for a minimum of three months could offer significant benefits. Both gluten and casein have been implicated in exacerbating immune dysfunction, which is often associated with these conditions. 


Research suggests that eliminating gluten from the diet can lead to improvements in pain levels experienced by individuals with endometriosis.


 While adhering to such a diet may pose challenges, particularly in sourcing suitable alternatives and navigating social situations, addressing the gluten component alone can serve as a crucial starting point. 


4. Promoting a Balanced Hormone Profile


Elevated levels of circulating oestrogen can initiate and worsen both conditions. Optimising liver and gut function is essential to ensure efficient elimination of excess oestrogen from the body.


cruciferous veg

A diet abundant in high-fibre foods and those supporting healthy detoxification pathways, such as cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower), beetroot, watercress, artichokes, and lemons, is crucial.


Cruciferous vegetables contain indole-3-carbinol, a compound that aids in binding excess oestrogen, facilitating its safe removal from the body and preventing reabsorption. The fibre content in these foods and other vegetables supports healthy bowel movements, further aiding in the elimination process.


Phytoestrogens present in plants, seeds, legumes like flaxseeds (also known as linseeds), apples, and chickpeas can exert an anti-oestrogenic effect, potentially promoting a balanced oestrogen level. 


 

Lifestyle Adjustments for Managing Endometriosis


In addition to dietary adjustments and supplementation, lifestyle modifications are integral to managing endometriosis and nurturing overall well-being.


stress reduction


While it may sound challenging, prioritising stress reduction is paramount. 


Stress management techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga, are effective in lowering cortisol levels and alleviating the psychological and physiological stress.






Moreover, stress reduction can be as simple as indulging in pleasurable activities, such as spending time with a close friend, taking a stroll in the park, listening to favourite music albums, or dedicating half an hour to immerse yourself in a captivating book.


Embrace activities that bring you joy and relaxation, without any sense of guilt. The crucial aspect is to carve out time each day to nurture yourself and engage in activities that foster well-being.


2. Exercise


When you're experiencing pain, exercise might be the last thing on your mind. However, gentle, restorative forms of exercise like yoga, pilates, walking, and tai chi can work wonders. Not only do they help lower inflammation, but they also trigger the release of endorphins, your body's natural pain-relieving hormones.


Additionally, exercise stimulates your lymph glands, aiding in the clearance of excess oestrogen from your system.

Regular physical activity, including low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, and yoga, can boost circulation, reduce inflammation, and support pelvic health.



sleep

3. Sleep

Prioritising quality sleep is crucial.


Establishing consistent sleep patterns and creating a soothing bedtime routine can improve sleep quality and aid in recovery. Try to maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time to regulate your circadian rhythm and promote hormone balance.






Engage in a digital detox before bedtime to limit exposure to blue light from electronic devices, which can disrupt melatonin production and interfere with sleep. Some find comfort in a cup of chamomile or valerian root tea in the evening, which can have calming effects and promote relaxation.


Additionally, a warm bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) before bed can be incredibly soothing, easing painful abdominal and back cramps while encouraging a peaceful night's sleep.


 

Conclusion


Endometriosis and adenomyosis are multifaceted conditions that demand a comprehensive and personalised approach to treatment. 


There is much you can do to prevent and support the condition by instilling positive diet and lifestyle habits into your daily routine.


The first step is understanding and identifying symptoms so you can choose the right type of treatment for you


Incorporating some or all of the supportive measures above can then help you balance your hormones and reduce your chances of more drastic treatment options.

 

Remember, that I am here, should you want support, more information or accountability.


Start with small steps each day, and you'll notice the benefits over time. 


Nx



6 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page