A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.
The uterus is lined by a layer of tissue called the endometrium; these endometrial tissues normally start building up over the uterine walls every month in preparation for implantation of an embryo. The flow during menstruation is simply the shedding of this excessive tissue along with blood if implantation does not occur. The endometrial tissue for some as yet unidentified reasons at times will get detached from the uterine walls, after detachment from the underlying uterine tissue, these often spread out towards many different areas of the body-this causes a lot of severe problems to the person. The detached tissues has thus been detected in areas of the body such as the ovaries, it has been found along the fallopian tubes, it has been detected in the urinary bladder, and at times in very strange places such as within the lungs, in the tissues along elbows, in the head and the brain, and along the nasal passages. The problem is that detached endometrial tissues may continue to respond to the fluctuating levels of hormone in the woman's body even when it is fully detached and far away from the uterus. Bleeding in such tissues will still occur during the coming of menstruation even when it is attached to other sites in the uterus or in the ovaries and the fallopian tubes among others. The problem with this abnormal bleeding is that it lacks the avenues for blood produced flowing out from the system. This released blood accumulates and stagnates in the areas where the endometrium tissues has traveled, resulting in serious inflammation, in the production of pain, and in the occasional formation of scar tissues and cysts along the areas it affects.
The underlying and actual causes for endometriosis still remain mysterious and are largely unidentified. Speculation has it that women with an immune system deficiency may be more likely to be affected by endometriosis. What is difficult to verify, is whether the immune system dysfunction is caused by the endometriosis itself or if the dysfunction is the originator of the condition. Genetic factors and hereditary defects have been pointed out as possible causes for endometriosis tissue formation as such abnormal growth have been detected in the pelvic areas of infant girls, at the same time, the disease could also be the result of toxic chemicals in the environment which have found their way into the body-thus two theories exists, one with an external implied cause and the other with an internal cause. Hormonal imbalances may well play a very big part in the rise of endometriosis, as this disease is known to be a hyper estrogenic disease-coming when there is an overproduction or an over secretion of estrogen. Imbalances in hormones within the body can be prompted by eating certain meats-such as beef derived from diary cows reared using excess use of hormones, eating the meat of chickens reared using hormone cocktails etc. Eating meat derived from such sources can place extra hormones in the body and these in turn can stimulate the excess release of these hormones in our bodies-adding to the imbalance and possibly triggering endometriosis. The occurrence of a retrograde menstruation in the body of certain women is still the most well received theory about the origin of endometriosis, when certain periods of the menstrual cycle are accompanied by the presence of excessive cramps, some endometrial tissues can be forced out from the cavity of the uterus and this can rise through the fallopian tubes covering them with abnormal growth. The endometrial tissues are carried by this "retrograde flow" and the abnormally placed tissues now quickly attaches itself to all the other organs and proceeds to multiply causing endometriosis. Transportation of the displaced endometrial tissues is thought to occur via both the lymphatic system as well as via the blood-this is deduced from the fact that the disease affects areas very far away from the uterine wall. At this juncture, the above suggestions are just hypothetical scenarios and need verification through research. The identification and actual cause of endometriosis, the reasons for detachment and spread of the tissues is still to be determined medically.
What is known is that the hormone estrogen stimulates the growth and induces bleeding of endometrial tissues, regardless of what causes the actual endometrial tissue to migrate outside the uterus. The lowering of estrogen levels in the body is the first point of focus for the majority of treatment protocols designed for this disorder. The various ways of conventional and orthodox treatment methodologies have included using birth control pill supplements, putting the woman on estrogen replacement therapy-ERT, treatment through surgery, or even inducing pregnancy in the woman. The relief gained from endometriosis though pregnancy is temporary and lasting results or full recovery from the disorder is never assured at the same time, getting pregnant is hardly considered as a remedy by the majority of patients. To treat some types of endometrial growths, the medication, Danazol, has been suggested and some success is claimed when treatment was carried out using the drug. The main ingredients in this drug is however, a male steroid compound-which can induce a lot of very weird and scary physical symptoms such as the occurrence of sudden bleeding between menstrual periods, the growth of facial and chest hair, the sudden occurrence of acne, abdominal bloating, the gaining of weight, a sudden decrease in the breast size, and other physical symptoms often connected to decreased estrogen levels in the body-like hot flashes. These symptoms are not pleasant, though the drug seems to reduce the pain for at least some months following treatment.
It is strongly suggested that all women affected by the condition take recourse to the use of different natural therapies. These can help the woman overcome the disorder through careful dietary regimens, through the use of herbs, and via vitamin supplement therapies-the stress-reduction techniques can also benefit patients. The underlying guide of many of these natural therapies is the belief that the body can heal itself given time and these treatments seek to establish a balance in the entire system, these holistic therapies are based on healing of the entire body to heal the specific disorder.
The long term success of either holistic or orthodox treatments is not well documented and very little information exists about benefits accrued from either one. At the same time, some relief is at hand for all women who suffer from endometriosis. Fundamental support for the body can be gained from the use of certain non-invasive herbal therapies; these can offer the restoration and cleansing of the body and reduce the symptoms of the disorder in the long term. Treatment via these herbal programs will not result in overnight or quick recovery from the condition. The beneficial effects may only be fully appreciated by undertaking repeated treatments over several months. Conventional medication for the treatment of endometriosis- includes the use of very strong medications, the use of pain killers and various hormones, or even the use of surgical procedures. These methods can induce relief from the symptoms immediately, but they tend to fail in rectifying the problems which bring about the displacement of endometrial tissue and thus never completely treat the disorder. The most holistic choice to make in treatment includes combining the use of both allopathic and natural treatments over a period of time. Individual choices must inform treatment methods to be utilized as the actual knowledge of endometriosis and its physical causes remain very sketchy and all treatments must aim at treating individual symptoms specific to each person affected by the disorder.
The discomfort and pain induced by endometriosis is very real and concrete even when we say that the actual causes of endometriosis and the potential cures still remain largely in the cloak of mystery-treatment of the symptoms is essential for the well being of all patients for this reason. Due to the close connection of some of these symptoms with the menstrual flow, often and frequently the very early symptoms simply tend to go largely unnoticed or are just dismissed by the woman-who may not be unduly discomfited by the initial symptoms. Some of the main physical symptoms induced by the actual endometriosis in the body are given below.
Physical symptoms include the presence of a severe pain in the pelvic region during the menstruation and ovulation process. The development of excessive and irregular menstrual flows and incidences of menstrual bleeding in between any two menstrual cycles. Patients are also affected by the presence of pain when indulging in sexual intercourse. Patients are also affected by infertility. Physical symptoms can also include extreme discomfort and pain in the intestinal region and the presence of painful sensations when moving the bowels or even backache when urinating.
The occurrence of any pain during the menstrual cycles, any type of backache, or intestinal discomfort does not necessarily indicate the occurrence of endometriosis by any means. The involvement of abdominal endometrial tissues is possible if you experience not one, but several of the above physical symptoms at once and if they progressively worsen at the same time-in such instances, the presence of endometriosis cannot be ruled out. Symptoms may not affect some women with endometriosis in some odd cases; such women may never experience any symptoms with the possible exception of infertility. The discovery of underlying endometriosis is such cases usually come in connection with another operation or test for some diseases-the discovery is accidental in all such cases.
The bad news is that it is not very easy to heal endometriosis. The majority of natural treatment methods, aim at bringing about a reduction in the levels of estrogen in the body and aim to help in regulating the production of female hormones-these two specific goals are the aims of most natural treatment methodologies as far as endometriosis is concerned. A primary focus is placed on the health of the liver and the endocrine system so as to meet such goals during treatment. Degradation of hormones occurs in the liver which converts raw estrogen secreted by ovaries and fat cells into the less potent estriol-a chemically safer form of the estrogen hormone. The presence of estriol in the body does not bring about tissue proliferation-a process that raw estrogen or estradiol tends to induce. In addition, the presence of higher ratios of the estriol to the estradiol form of estrogen will reduce the amount of endometrial tissue developing in the uterine lining and at the same time, also induce a marked reduction in the painful symptoms often experienced during endometriosis. At the same time, high ratios of estriol in the body also help the body by protecting against breast and uterine cancer development.
Supplements and herbs
All of the herbs and supplements given here can be used in the treatment of endometriosis. Patients can take the tincture made from the pau d'arco herb, thrice every day for a treatment period lasting six weeks. This dosage must be halted for a period of one week and then repeated in cyclic dosages. Supplements of the vitamin E are also helpful in treating symptoms of endometriosis. Estrogen is broken down in the body by the vitamin E; this nutrient is a natural antagonist of estrogen and aids the body in disposing of excess estrogen produced by the ovaries. The vitamin also helps the body in normalizing the production of hormones and the vitamin is also essential for the functioning and health of the reproductive organs. Adequate vitamin E levels in the body also ensure that the adhesions caused by growth of endometrial tissues are limited and this results in a reduction in the symptoms induced by endometriosis. The presence of the vitamin E aids in keeping the scar tissue soft and flexible-provided, that scarring occurs along the affected uterus. Daily dosage recommendations to treat the symptoms of endometriosis are 400-800 I.U. taken every day. For a period of three to four months, patients are also advised to drink at least three to four cups of herbal Endo-Tea on a daily basis. The consumption of this specific herbal tea will help in strengthening and cleansing the liver and enable hepatic tissue to function at optimum levels. During times of stress, the human body produces a group of chemical compounds known as the prostaglandins; the presence of these compounds in the body has a direct influence on the regulation of the levels and intensity of inflammation and is also responsible for regulating pain signals within the body to some extent. Prostaglandins can be defined into two distinct types based on their specific actions in the body, some of the prostaglandins intensify the inflammation, while others aid in reducing the inflammation. The presence of these prostaglandins is essential and necessary to the process of healing in the tissues in certain instances while their excess presence in other situations can bring about severe menstrual cramps and aggravate the endometriosis itself. The production of the prostaglandin compounds within the body is regulated by the essential amino acid gamma-linolenic acid. This essential and helpful acid is found abundantly in herbal oils of the evening primrose herb, in the seed oil of the black current, in the oil of flaxseed plants, and in herbal borage oil. Women suffering from the symptoms of endometriosis are advised to take the GLA rich oil-the use of these oils during treatment is highly recommended. The GLA rich herbal oils can be taken at a recommended daily dosage of 500 milligrams two times every day. The synthesis of inhibitory prostaglandins is stimulated in the body by supplements of the omega-3 fatty acids, which is found in many fish oils and in herbal linseed oil-these two oil can be included in the diet of women suffering from endometriosis. The role that the dietary regimen plays on functioning and the health of the liver must not be ignored or underestimated. Women who suffer from endometriosis must make a commitment to stick with dietary regimens which contain nourishing and wholesome natural or organically grown foods. It is advisable, for all patients suffering from the symptoms of endometriosis to avoid consuming any refined or processed foods, to avoid all sugar, drinks that contain alcohol, and to stay off caffeine laden beverages. These substances being about a reduction in the energy and functioning of the liver and put a limit on its ability to function properly interfering with hormone degradation. In addition, the intake of high amounts of sugar and alcohol can drastically drain the body of reserves of the B vitamins, all of which are vital to the health of the liver and its functioning. The levels of B complex vitamins in the body are not only taken away by caffeine but the presence of this stimulant also leads to an increase in the level of prostaglandins within the system. All patients need to focus on consuming foods which have a high content of the B vitamins, the vital proteins, and all types of essential minerals. Diets can also be fortified by including the herbal shitake mushrooms; these can be added to the meal several times each week. The development of abnormal growths within the body is inhibited by compounds found in the shitake mushrooms-these must be included in the diet for precisely this ability. In addition, the mushrooms are also considered to be very tasty and are a delicacy in Japan-they are also potent herbal medicine. Fresh shitake mushrooms are easily available in the produce department of many grocery stores in North America-they were hard to find at one time. These mushrooms can also be bought in a dry form and these can be reconstituted for purposes of cooking. All foods, such as the common wheat and any citrus fruit must be avoided as they raise the production of estrogen in the body. It is also important to eliminate the use of all herbs which can help in elevating the levels of estrogens, even when the majority of such these herbs are known to have a regulating effect on the levels of hormones within the body, and they can balance the hormonal levels rather than raise levels the levels of estrogen. The effects of estrogen on the symptoms of endometriosis can be offset by eating soy products with meals, these contain the phytoestrogens- which are herbal estrogens, include these products in the diet. It is important to exercise daily and regularly. The symptoms of endometriosis were actually seen to be suppressed when affected women exercised as observed in several studies-keeping fit may even help in preventing the endometriosis form occurring.
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