Do you experience:
- moderate to severe pelvic pain?
- Cramping that begins before your period and is associated with lower back pain and abdominal pain?
- Pain during intercourse or during a bowel movement or urination?
- Infertility or delayed conception?
If you haven’t seen a health care provider yet, it might be worth making an appointment and discussing these symptoms, as you may have what is called endometriosis.
What is endometriosis?
It is a hormone-dependent inflammatory condition that targets the endometrial tissue outside the uterus. It’s associated with pelvic lesions, pain and infertility. Endometriosis can have a profound impact on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of a woman.
Endometriosis affects an estimated of 176 million women of reproductive age worldwide. Symptoms can sometimes be mistaken for IBS, due to the bouts of constipation and diarrhea caused by heavy periods. Some women also experience fatigue, nausea, and bloating during their menstrual period.
- We want to Reduce inflammation
- Enhance detoxification in the body of hormones
- Reduce symptoms
Vitamin C helps increase cellular immunity while vitamin E helps to correct abnormal progesterone/estradiol ratios. Both of these factors can help reduce the inflammation associated with endometriosis.
Vitamin D boosts immunity and increases T-helper cells, a type of cell that can regulate immune responses. Polyunsaturated fats such as flaxseeds, walnuts, some fish and sunflower seeds, decrease prostaglandin levels in the body and reduce inflammation.
A study by Goldin et al. in 1982 showed women with a higher intake of red meat had an increased risk of endometriosis by 80%, whereas those who had a higher intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and a balanced diet lowered their risk by 40%.
Superfoods for Endometriosis:
- High fiber foods such as lentils and legumes, sweet potato, brown rice, fruits with edible skins
- Consuming more organic foods
- Incorporating more beets, artichokes, lemons, dandelion greens, watercress, burdock root. These are liver cleansing foods and help remove excess estrogen from the body.
- Green vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. These foods a very helpful for the support of normal functioning estrogen in the blood
- Onions, garlic, leek and turmeric to reduce inflammation
- Flaxseeds they counter the effects of excess estrogen
- Eat more omega 3 fatty acids (eg: wild fish and flax) while keeping your intake of omega 6 (red meat) balanced to around 2-3 times a week.
Therapeutic Nutrients for Endometriosis:
Some other vitamins you may wish to consider in your diet if you are suffering endometriosis and fertility issues are:
- Essential Fatty Acids gamma-linenic acid in borage, black chia seeds and evening primrose oil and alpha-linenic acid in flax seed, pumpkin, walnuts helps to decrease tissue inflammation
- Vitamin B complex helps the liver inactivate excess estrogen
- Selenium supports detoxification and stimulates white blood cell function
- Lipotropics such as B12 vitamin, methionine, chlorine, inositol and betaine (brazil nuts, soybean, white beans, lean cuts of meat, poultry, tuna, shellfish, plain yogurt) enhance liver function, promote bile flow and facilitates excretion of estrogen
Dian Shepperson Mills & Michael Vernon, 1999. The key to healing and fertility through nutrition
Goldin, B. R, Adlercrutz, H., et al. (1982). ‘Oestrogen-excretion patterns and plasma-levels in vegetarian and omnivorous woman.’ New England Journal of Medicine 307, 1542-1547
Parazzini, F., Vigano, P., Candiani, M., Fedele, L. (2013) Diet and endometriosis risk: A literature review. ‘Reproductive BioMedicine’ 26,4, 323-336.