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  • Writer's pictureKayla Ruschkowski

Endometriosis: Naturopathic Approaches

Endometriosis is an inflammatory, estrogen-dependent condition defined by the presence of endometrial glands and stroma outside of the uterus. It may cause chronic pelvic pain, infertility, painful periods, pain during intercourse, and irregular uterine bleeding. Women with endometriosis may have scarring of the Fallopian tubes, adhesions in the pelvic cavity, and enraptured ovarian follicles. Naturopathic Doctors are given extensive training on Endometriosis and can find natural ways to keep your feeling your best.

Endometriosis affects 10-15% of women of reproductive age and is a common cause of pelvic pain and infertility. Laparoscopic surgery is the gold standard for diagnosis; however, it is an invasive procedure, which results in diagnoses of endometriosis to be delayed or under-diagnosed. 35-50% of women experience infertility, pain, or both, and women who have endometriosis as the cause of these issues live with endometriosis for an average of 6.7 years until diagnosis.

The primary risk factor for endometriosis heredity, with a six times higher risk in women who have a first-degree relative with severe endometriosis. The potential causes of endometriosis is multifold, with both genetics and environmental factors playing a role. Women with endometriosis may have genetic abdomalities in the genes that influence detoxification enzymes. Other potential causes are exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, dietary and lifestyle factors, and altered immune function.

Early treatment for endometriosis is key in order to prevent the need for surgery if endometrial lesions progress. Naturopathic doctors have a variety of tools to positively influence the course of endometriosis and provide symptomatic relief. Since endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent condition, treatment is aimed at manipulating the body’s own estrogen levels. This can be done through dietary changes and supplements that influence estrogen detoxification and promote hormone balance. It is important to support the liver and the large intestine, since estrogen is eliminated through these organs. In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, these organs can be supported with botanical treatments and probiotics.

Creating an anti-inflammatory environment is the next goal of treatment. Targeting pro-inflammatory compounds and blocking their action with antioxidants can influence the course of disease and help to provide relief from pain. Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamins A, C, and E can provide supplemental support alongside an anti-inflammatory diet. Botanicals such as chaste tree, dandelion, ginger, and prickly ash can serve a dual purpose to promote hormonal balance in addition to pain relief.

A licensed health care provider should be consulted if there is any reason to suspect pelvic conditions such as endometriosis. Additionally, consult a licensed healthcare provider before starting any extensive use of analgesic medications, botanical or supplemental treatments. Find a practitioner that you trust and who is willing to take a holistic and preventative treatment approach to endometriosis.


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