Endometriosis is a gynecological condition affecting approximately 176 million women and girls worldwide. Endometriosis happens when the endometrium, the tissue that makes up the inside surface of the uterus, grows outside the uterine cavity. It can grow on the ovaries, bowel and tissues lining the pelvis.
The misplaced endometrial tissue follows the menstrual cycle (grows, thickens and breaks down) due to hormonal changes in the body. As it has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped and causes irritation and formation of scars and adhesions. This in turn causes severe pain during periods and possible fertility problems, both of which can have a massive impact on a woman’s quality of life.
Women of all ages are at risk for endometriosis. Typically, it affects women from age 25 to 40. The exact cause of endometriosis is not known. However it has been found that retrograde menstruation, or backflow of menstrual fluid, may play a key role.
Other contributing factors are genetics, a weak immune system and environmental toxins like dioxins that affect the body, the immune system and the reproductive system.
Some of the common symptoms of endometriosis are pelvic pain and cramping during menstruation, sharp pain during ovulation, pain during sexual intercourse, painful bowel movements, heavy or irregular bleeding during menstrual periods, fatigue, infertility, swollen abdomen and digestive problems like indigestion, diarrhea, constipation and nausea. The symptoms may vary from one person to another. In most cases, women with endometriosis have no symptoms.
The condition tends to get better when menopause begins. However, to control the severity of the disease and alleviate the main symptoms of pain and infertility, you can try some natural remedies.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for endometriosis.
An age-old effective remedy for endometriosis is castor oil. Castor oil helps the body get rid of excess tissues and toxins. It should be used at the beginning of the menstrual cycle, when cramping is first noticed. This will help reduce the severity of symptoms throughout the cycle.
Note: Do not use this remedy during menstrual flow.
A contrast hot and cold sitz bath is often recommended by naturopathy practitioners for reducing symptoms of endometriosis. The hot bath will help relax the pelvic muscles, in turn reducing cramping and pain. The cold bath will help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
Note: Avoid this remedy during menstruation.
Massaging the pelvic area and lower abdomen with an essential oil like lavender or sandalwood will help a lot to relax and soothe minor pain associated with endometriosis.
Note: Do not do this massage during your menstrual cycle.
Flaxseeds are also very beneficial in the treatment of endometriosis. The antioxidant and omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds help slow the growth of abnormal endometrial tissue. Plus, flaxseeds help the body eliminate harmful toxins.
This amazing spice has a natural component known as curcumin that has strong anti-inflammatory benefits and hence can be used to treat endometriosis. It has also been shown to have anti-endometriotic property.
Note: Avoid turmeric remedies if you are taking blood-thinning medications.
Wild asparagus or shatavari in Ayurveda, which is rich in folic acid, can help treat anemia as well as endometriosis caused by a deficiency of folic acid. Plus, it has vitamin E that helps alleviate pain, particularly cramps.
Ginger is a strong anti-inflammatory herb that reduces inflammation and relieves menstrual cramps. It also relieves the nausea that can occur with endometriosis. Plus, it plays a major role in clearing the liver of excess toxins.
Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation as well as swelling often associated with endometriosis. It also acts as a natural diuretic to help flush out the bladder.
Many herbalists highly recommend dandelion for alleviating symptoms of endometriosis. Dandelion strengthens the liver and kidneys and also helps regulate hormonal levels.
The herb motherwort is also an effective home remedy for endometriosis. There are several components in motherwort that help enhance blood volume in the reproductive system, which is essential for its proper functioning. This in turn helps combat menstrual problems like blood clots or poor flow.
Note: Avoid this herb if you are taking any kind of sedating medications.
In addition to the above remedies, several lifestyle changes are highly beneficial in the treatment of endometriosis. Some of these changes include:
Answered by Dr. Masahide Kanayama, MD (Gynecologist)
Diet high in omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) is associated with reduced incidences of endometriosis. Omega 3 fatty acids have potent anti-inflammatory effect and are known to enhance the immune functions.
Endometriosis never disappears by any medications. Medications, including hormonal ones, reduce some of the symptoms of endometriosis, but do not remove any endometriosis lesions from the body.
Ablation (burning) surgery also does not remove any endometriosis. Only, effective deep excision surgery removes endometriosis from its root!
The best course of action is to find a right endometriosis specialist to detect and diagnose endometriosis early on and remove all visible endometriosis lesions by laparoscopy excision. And diet and lifestyle changes are very important after excision.
The chance of endometriosis cyst (chocolate cyst of ovary) to develop into ovarian cancer is less than 1%.
Daily multivitamins containing antioxidants vitamin A, C, D, E, B complexes, and minerals including magnesium, zinc, and selenium are recommended.
It is completely wrong information. Endometriosis never heals by itself nor does it go away after pregnancy. However during pregnancy, some symptoms of endometriosis may decrease because of hormonal changes during pregnancy.
Yes endometriosis can come back after surgery. But, if you have ablation (burning) surgery, the chance of recurrence is much higher than excision. Excision surgery has the lowest rate of recurrence in endometriosis patients.
For example, in my own statistics of over 6,000 excision cases, the recurrence rate 5 years after my excision is about 2% for stage 1-2, 8% for stage 3, and 18% for stage 4 of endometriosis.
In general dairy products including milk should be avoided by endometriosis patients. Other foods to avoid are red meat, gluten, fried food, processed food, alcohol and caffeine. Organic diet with vegetables, fish, fruits is encouraged.
Incidences of rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, and fibromyalgia increase in patients with endometriosis. Common factor in all of the above diseases is that they are all autoimmune disease and may be linked to autoimmune components of endometriosis.
Unfortunately, endometriosis is a terribly misunderstood disease even by Gynecology and Obstetrics doctors. It is very important for potential endometriosis patients and general public alike to be well educated in all areas of endometriosis including facts and knowledge. Spreading correct awareness is a very important key.
Average delay in diagnosing endometriosis is well over 7-8 years in US. It is important to get an early diagnosis and precise treatment by a specialist so that your endometriosis is properly treated before it spreads and goes to an advanced 3-4 stage disease. More importantly the diet and lifestyle need to be changed after excision.
About Dr Masahide Kanayama, MD: is the director of New York Endometriosis Center located in Manhattan New York USA. He has successfully treated over 6,000 endometriosis laparoscopic excisions in his center and he has developed his own novel surgical technique to excise deep endometriosis effectively and successfully.
He completed his MD from Medical College of Wisconsin and Internship and residency in Gynecology and Gynecology surgery, from Mayo Clinic and Mayo graduate school of Medicine, Rochester, MN.
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