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How can I stop Endometriosis from coming back? You have had a laparoscopy (surgical procedure) for Endometriosis and you are worried that it may come back or maybe it already has. What now? Let’s talk about Endometriosis and ways to prevent it growing back.

For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Michelle Cooke, Period & Hormone Naturopath, Natural Fertility Educator & Naturopathic Emotional Release Practitioner. I’m the Founder and Director of Reproductive Wellness, a clinic located in Melbourne. I see patients online and face-to-face.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is when endometrial tissue which normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. This tissue can be found in places like the ovaries, bladder, bowels, fallopian tubes, pelvic cavity & also inside the uterus too. Where the endometrial tissue is found determine the symptoms that you will present with.

The endometrial lesions will behave the same as the endometrial tissue found in the lining of the uterus thickening under the instruction of oestrogen (in the first half of your cycle AKA follicular phase prior to ovulation when your uterine lining is preparing for potential conception) and then shedding when conception hasn’t taken place (when your period takes place). But the blood from this endometrial lesions doesn’t come out through your vagina like what would happen with your period.

There are the lesions which is the Endometrial tissue. Adhesions can form which is thick bands of scar tissue and this can cause organs to stick together which can be very painful.

Symptoms:

 

  • Bloating in the tummy

  • Nausea

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Pain when you wee

  • Pain when you do a poo

  • Diarrhoea (usually with your period)

  • Constipation (before your period)

  • Vomiting

  • Pain during or after sex

  • Chronic pelvic pain

  • Painful periods

  • Clots in the period blood

  • Heavy periods

  • Dark coloured period blood

  • Low back pain

  • Pain with ovulation

There are different stages of Endometriosis as well: minimal, mild, moderate & severe based on amount of lesions, whether there is endometriomas (cysts filled with blood sometimes called chocolate cysts, not the tasty kind). It can be a very debilitating disease impacting quality of life due to the fatigue, severe pain (not always), emotional states: anxiety, depression and fertility issues. It affects both their work life and home life with sex often being rather painful and it impacting the intimate relationship with their partner.

There doesn’t seem to be a connection between having more endometrial tissue and worse symptoms or vice versa having very little endometrial lesions and having minimal symptoms. In fact, in some cases, you could have Endometriosis and not even know (asymptomatic).

This can impact fertility as well depending on where the lesions are so surgery is often necessary to remove them so that it doesn’t impact the uterine cavity, ovaries or fallopian tubes.

 

How is it diagnosed?

Currently the gold standard diagnosis is through Laparoscopy which is a type of key-hole surgery to have a bit of a looksie to see if there is Endometrial lesions there. If endometrial lesions, adhesions and / or cysts found it is then removed while they are there.

Sadly, diagnosis can take years because it can look like something else like IBS for instance particularly if there is a lot of digestive symptoms. And the only way to truly find out is via laparoscopy, ultrasound won’t usually pick it up.

 

What is the cause?

It is still largely unknown, but there are a number of theories. Too many to cover in this video.

Other potential aggravating and contributing factors:

 

– Endometriosis is dependent upon oestrogen which contributes to inflammation, growth & pain associated with Endo

– Immune factors

– Hormone imbalance

– Genetics

– Environmental factors – toxins like dioxins (chemical from bleached rayon found in non-organic pads & tampons)

 

Are there things that can be done to prevent Endometriosis from returning?

Definitely! You’ve had laparoscopy and you are worried about it returning or it already has returned. There are loads of things that you can do to prevent recurrence. It is essential that you do put things in place to prevent the unwelcomed return, because at the end of the day surgery doesn’t always prevent it from coming back unfortunately.

If you think of rust for instance, it thrives on metal when it is wet. Think of rust like the Endometrial lesions and the metal are the organs that it has decided to stick to. So, like rust, if you have the right sort of conditions welcoming it in, it will proliferate, grow and spread.

Let’s talk about some things that you can do. This is a just a small handful of things to get started with, there is a lot more to it.

  1. REDUCE OESTROGEN

Toxins at home and near your privates

Considering environmental toxins are linked to endometriosis it is essential to look at what you are using at home that could be contributing to the growth of your endometriosis and symptoms that come along with it.

Sanitary Items

We now know that there is a link between dioxin which is the by-product after bleaching rayon (fibre from wood pulp). This is found in non-organic pads and tampons. Any toxins will pretend to be oestrogen like a cameleon, totally disguised and the body is unaware. It is known as a xeno-oestrogen (xeno means foreign) this is a real problem as it can increase oestrogen levels in the body. High oestrogen > more endometrial growth.

Make the switch to organic pads instead. A brand that is readily available is TOM organics found in health food stores and supermarkets. I don’t usually suggest using tampons as this seems to contribute to more pain with periods. The other option could be organic period undies like TOM organics and Modibodi. Otherwise perhaps a period cup, you’ll just have to see how you feel and whether it contributes to more pain for you.

Support healthy oestrogen detox

Brassica family of vegetables: cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage because they contain indole-3-carbinol to assist with healthy liver detoxification. Because one of the many jobs of the liver it to break down and remove the oestrogen from the body. Otherwise there is a risk of reabsorption > high oestrogen which drives endometriosis growth.

Reduce Inflammation

Endometriosis is already an inflammatory condition. So don’t consume things that are going to add gasoline to the already burning bright fire. Keep in mind when there is inflammation this can lead to hormone imbalance. If there is hormone imbalance for instance, high oestrogen this can contribute to Endometrial lesion growth.

Include foods that will cool the flames:

  • Oily fish (sardines, mackerel, herring) this contains omega 3 that is anti-inflammatory and they are still low in mercury because heavy metals can also make Endometriosis worse

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Cold pressed oils: flaxseed oil, hemp seed oil (these are not to be heated, do not cook with them. Just pour a tablespoon over your dinner after it has been cooked, to your smoothie or as part of a salad dressing with fresh herbs, lemon & garlic). They contain omega 3, 6 & 9 to reduce inflammation.

  • Spices: turmeric, ginger (either fresh or dried). These are beautiful anti-inflammatory herbs & provide lovely circulation & oxygenation to the uterus and ovaries. It is the ultimate using food as medicine.

Avoid inflammatory oils:

Don’t cook with oils that contain trans-fats as they aggravate inflammation by increasing circulation of inflammatory markers involved in Endometriosis. They are not healthy for the body for so many different reasons

Vegetable oil, Corn oil, Canola oil, Grapeseed oil – yucky!

Switch to healthier cooking oils like organic olive oil (just make sure that you cook at a low to medium heat, don’t cook the arse out of it), organic coconut oil & organic ghee (clarified butter). The last two are good options if you would like to cook at a higher cooking temperature because they are saturated fats and more stable.

 

Can a Naturopath help with Endometriosis

Absolutely! A Naturopath that specialises in periods & hormones (ah hem! That is what I do)

Treatment approach will involve:

– Reducing inflammation & pain

– Supporting the immune system

– Emotional support

– Hormone balance

– Period & menstrual cycle support

– Liver & bowel support to remove excess oestrogen, toxins

– Lymphatic support to clear out contributing toxins

– Using support to reduce oestrogen which contributes

We acheive this through the use of natural medicines such as herbal medicine & nutritional medicine along with dietary & lifestyle advice.

I would love to help you, go ahead and book a FREE 15 min discovery call to find out more about how we would work together and if we are a good fit. Book here:

If you have any questions or comments please pop them in the box below 🙂