Conquering Endometriosis for Superior Reproductive Health
Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis
Endometriosis is one of the prevalent reproductive health issues and a leading factor for infertility that several women worldwide experience. Estimates reveal that around 176 million women around the world suffer from the condition. Pain and discomfort in the reproductive region could be indicative of the problem. There exist numerous natural healing remedies for the condition. However, each woman tends to respond differently to the healing methods. Further, there can be various root causes for the condition. Therefore, an in-depth understanding of the condition and its associated symptoms helps in selecting the right therapeutic remedy essential for successfully correcting the problem.
What is Endometriosis?
It is a condition in which endometrium, the inner uterine-lining tissue, develops outside the uterus rather than inside resulting in painful symptoms. The female reproductive system includes the vagina, fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries. In the normal menstrual cycle, the ovaries produce estrogen causing thickening of the inner uterine-lining tissues referred to as endometrium. The buildup of endometrium tissue prepares the uterus to receive a fertilized egg. When the egg is not fertilized, the tissue lining sheds and bleeds with each menstrual cycle.
However, in the case of endometriosis, endometrium develops outside the uterus, in areas such as the exterior of the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and intestine. In rare cases, endometrial tissue may develop beyond the pelvic organs. As the displaced tissues thicken with the effect of reproductive hormones, it causes undesired pressure on the surrounding organs resulting in irritation, scar, and pain. Sometimes, there is an abnormal formation of fibrous tissue bands which can cause the organs and pelvic tissues sticking to each other. Further, the displaced tissues remain trapped inside the body as they do not find any exit. The reproductive issue can cause scar tissue, cysts, and infertility.
Some of the common symptoms of the reproductive problem include
- Painful periods accompanied by excessive bleeding
- Painful digestion
- Painful intercourse
- Chronic abdominal and lower back pain
- Chronic fatigue
- Bleeding and spotting between cycles
- Increased pain during urination and bowel movements
- Pelvic pain
- Nerve pain and joint pain
One of the common factors for the condition is hormone imbalance or overload, generally resulting from the hormone estrogen. About 20 to 40 percent of infertile women are known to be affected by the condition.
What Causes This Reproductive Health Issue?
There can be various causes of the condition. Evaluating the exact cause of the problem helps to successfully provide relief. High estrogen levels is one of the major factors contributing to the reproductive issue. The more the estrogen level in the body, the thicker the uterine lining, thus resulting in heavier bleeding during periods. This raises the chances of the endometrial tissues getting misplaced in other parts of the body leading to the condition. Endometriosis, therefore, reflects an underlying overload of estrogen in the body, either on an absolute or relative basis.
Women with infertility and delay in pregnancy are at higher risk of having the problem. Direct transfer of the endometrial tissues during surgeries such as episiotomy or cesarean section can also cause the condition. The endometrial cells may get transferred through the lymphatic system or bloodstream during surgeries.
Adrenal Fatigue and Endometriosis
When your body is under stress, the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response system swings into action to deal with the situation. NEM is a delicate network of various organs and six circuits including the hormonal circuit which functions closely to help fight stress. When your body detects any stressful situation, the NEM signals your adrenal glands to secrete the anti-stress hormone cortisol. However, when stress is constant, your adrenals are forced to secrete more cortisol which can overburden them. As a result, your adrenals are no longer in a position to secrete adequate cortisol which reduces your body’s natural stress-fighting ability, thus leading to adrenal fatigue.
Fatigue is not unusual in everyday stressful life. However, frequently experiencing extreme fatigue along with symptoms of anxiety, low energy levels, brain fog, insomnia, low concentration level, constipation, anxiety, craving for salty and fatty foods, and stubborn weight gain could be an indicator of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).
The hormonal circuit of NEM comprises of the thyroid, adrenal glands, and testes/ovaries. It is responsible for regulating thyroid function, stress hormones (including cortisol), and body temperature. Any imbalance in this circuit causes sluggish thyroid, reduced libido, fatigue, hair loss, infertility, miscarriage, and weight gain. Endometriosis affects ovaries of the hormonal circuit thus disturbing your body’s NEM stress response system. Ovaries secrete two important female sex hormones, progesterone and estrogen, which play a crucial role in fertility.
There can be several causes for the condition which can differ from person to person. Thorough evaluations of the condition help in revealing the exact cause of the problem. In most cases, a closer examination shows that the condition is linked to an estrogen hormonal imbalance which is often related to adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue is one of the most overseen factors in reproductive health problems. Adrenal fatigue causes imbalanced cortisol levels which affect the progesterone levels. This can result in estrogen dominance in the body which can lead to heavy periods, PMS, and signs and symptoms of endometriosis. Heavy bleeding, PCOS, fibroids, and fibrocystic breast disease are some of the indicators of estrogen dominance. Further, estrogen production occurs in the fat cells, ovaries, and adrenal glands. This is where adrenal fatigue and endometriosis are linked. Following an adrenal fatigue diet, practicing adrenal breathing exercise and meditation, minimizing stressors, and having adequate restorative sleep significantly helps in adrenal fatigue recovery, which in turn can minimize symptoms of the reproductive health issue.
Natural Methods To Deal With Endometriosis
If you are looking to naturally alleviate symptoms of the condition, then the key step is to eliminate inflammatory foods such as caffeine, refined sugar, dairy, and processed foods. High-estrogen foods such as soy and alcohol should also be eliminated from the diet owing to their estrogenic effects. Consider staying away from these foods for at least three weeks and observe your body transforming throughout the process.
According to a study published in Human Reproduction, women who included fresh fruits and green vegetables in their diet had reduced risk of developing endometriosis. Load-up with anti-inflammatory foods that include green leafy vegetables, broccoli, turnip, beets, celery, blueberries, figs, bok choy, pineapple, ginger, turmeric, coconut oil, quinoa, walnut, flax seeds, and chia seeds. Magnesium-rich foods such as spinach, black beans, chard, beans, bananas, avocado, almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds help to soothe the uterus and reduce symptoms of pain.
Supplements such as fish oil, milk thistle, and Pycnogenol can help reduce the symptoms. Pycnogenol, a French maritime pine bark extract, proves an effective therapeutic remedy to hormone therapy. Studies show that Pycnogenol can significantly help reduce symptoms of the reproductive disorder by balancing estrogen levels in the body. Taking vitamin B complex also provides relief from the condition by improving overall health, reducing toxicity, balancing the hormone levels, and boosting immune health. Whereas, vitamin B6 boosts mood, relieves chronic pain, and enhances energy levels.
Castor oil pack, when used on the pelvic and lower abdomen region can help minimize inflammation. Clary sage when applied topically followed by a warm compress can also alleviate symptoms of pain and cramps.
According to a study from the Harvard Medical School, Japanese acupuncture can help reduce symptoms of the condition. The study showed that Japanese acupuncture helped reduce pain and symptoms by 62 percent.
Other conventional methods of correcting the condition include medication and surgery. Knowing the root cause of the problem would help in selecting the right remedy. In certain cases, the reproductive health problem could also be a symptom of other underlying health conditions. Natural therapeutic remedies can always be considered before switching to conventional procedures.
Endometriosis is one of the major female reproductive problems. The condition causes inner uterine-lining tissue, endometrium, to abnormally develop outside the uterus rather than inside. As the misplaced endometrial tissues grow in pelvic areas such as the exterior of the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and intestine, undesired pressure develops on the surrounding organs resulting in pain, irritation, adhesion, and inflammation. With no way to exit, the endometrium tissues remain trapped inside the body causing pain and congestion. Further, the condition can cause cysts, scar tissue, and infertility.
There can be several underlying causes for the condition. However, hormone imbalance with estrogen dominance is the major contributing factor. Imbalanced cortisol level from adrenal fatigue can also be a contributing factor. In that case, following adrenal fatigue recovery protocols is important. Understanding the actual cause of the reproductive problem and addressing the symptoms helps in correcting the problem from its roots. An anti-inflammatory diet, natural supplements, aromatic oils, acupuncture along with regular physical workout could prove significantly helpful in dealing with the condition.
© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
Can endometriosis cause adrenal fatigue?
Endometriosis and adrenal fatigue are closely interrelated. This female reproductive problem affects the ovaries of the hormonal circuit thus disturbing the entire NEM stress response system which can lead to adrenal fatigue. Further, adrenal fatigue causes high cortisol level which can affect the level of estrogen and progesterone that impacts the reproductive system.
Dear Dr. Lam
I am an endocrinologist from Armenia. I have found your website 2 years ago, I always read your articles and treat my patients according your advices and have great results. Thank you very much for wonderful information.