Endometriosis is a mysterious disease but very common among women of reproductive age, from all social and ethnic groups.
Endometriosis is a chronic non-cancerous disorder and continues to be a challenge for scientists as the cause is still unclear.
Endometrial tissue is a dynamic tissue that undergoes continuous changes in the preparation for and maintenance of pregnancy. Pieces of endometrial tissue normally occur only in the lining of the uterus (endometrium), they are responsible for the monthly menstrual cycle and shed during menstruation. Some times, this tissue grows outside the uterus and is called endometriotic implant (growing as a single lesion) and/or plaques (group of implants usually varying in size).
With endometriosis this endometrial tissue will continue to respond to hormonal stimulation and will build up and shed cyclically, just like the endometrial tissue sheds monthly in the uterus and will lead to the formation of cysts, scar tissue, adhesions, and areas of inflammation that can cause pain, and other symptoms and progressively damage or distort nearby organs.
Endometriosis is most often located on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and in the surface of the uterus. Other places that can be found are sigmoid colon, pelvic and abdominal lymph nodes, cervix, abdominal wall, kidneys and urinary bladder.
Endometriosis is commonly associated with infertility, dyspareunia, dysmenorrhea and pelvic pain.
What does cause endometriosis?
The cause of endometriosis is still unclear and it is likely that the condition has a multifaceted aetiology. Some theories trying to explain the cause of endometriosis are:
1) Retrograde menstruation where menstrual cells that enter in the peritoneal cavity by retrograde menstruation can implant and can develop further to endometriotic lesions.
2) Xeno-estrogens (pesticides and herbicides which have an oestrogenic effect), PCBs, nonyphenols and Dioxins may disrupt the immune, endocrine and reproductive systems and may increase the incidence of endometriosis.
3) Immune deregulation – As women with endometriosis have menstrual grow and implanted tissue in areas other than the uterine lining it appears that them lack the normal cellular immunity that destroys transplanted endometrial cells and prevents them from implanting leading to inflammation.
Most common Sites & Symptoms of Endometriosis
Females Organs (Ovaries, uterus, vagina, fallopian tubes, pelvic peritoneum)
- Sluggish menstrual flow, thick, tarry and dark
- Lower Pelvic pain
- Ectopic pregnancy
Gastrointestinal system (rectum, small intestine, colon)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal cramping, bloating
- Blood in stool
- Pain in the low back or tailbone
- Pain in the umbilicus
- Difficulty in defection
- Rectal bleeding
Urinary tract (bladder, ureter, urethra, kidney)
- Pain or burning upon urination
- Urinary frequency, urgency, or retention
- Blood in the urine
Medical intervention is the primary treatment. However more and more women are looking for complementary medicine treatments to help them to cope and give relieve to their symptoms, to support healing and improve their quality of life
Naturopaths can assist women with endometriosis by:
• Regulating oestrogen and progesterone levels by improving liver and bowel function
• Reducing inflammation and pain
• Supporting endocrine, lymphatic, and immune system
• Balancing insulin level,
• Increasing fertility (if it is the desire)
• Maintenance of a healthy diet and lifestyle
All the above can be accomplished by taking herbs, nutritional supplementation and having a healthy diet.
If you would like to further discuss possible treatment for Endometriosis, please call 96506520 to make an appointment.