Healing Endometriosis Naturally – with Diet, Herbs, and Supplements

N-ACETYL-CYSTEINE – has been shown in at least one study to make endometriosis disappear without side effects.

Endometriosis is a diagnosis that affects over 190 million women worldwide. It’s a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in other areas of the body, occurring in women during their reproductive years. This endometrial-like tissue can grow all over the bowels, the bladder, and the kidney system. It’s one of the leading causes of infertility, and up to 50% of infertility cases have endometriosis.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “With endometriosis, the endometrial-like tissue acts as endometrial tissue would – it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. But because this tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped.”[1] This creates inflammation and pain with each menstrual cycle. Scar tissue (adhesions) forms and the fallopian tubes can close leading to infertility. Abnormal bleeding and painful periods may also result.

Other symptoms include painful intercourse, painful bowel movements, painful urination, excessive bleeding, spotting and bleeding between cycles, painful digestion, constipation, bloating, chronic lower back and abdominal pain, pelvic pain and chronic fatigue.

Currently the cause of endometriosis is unknown and there is no specific cure for this condition, but various treatments are used to control the symptoms. There appears to be a genetic link within families but this is still unclear.

Women with endometriosis have a higher risk of developing ovarian, breast, and endometrial cancer. One study worth noting was recently published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. It found that: “Women who are postmenopausal and consume sugar sweetened beverages are more likely to develop endometrial cancer than those who didn’t. In fact, the study points out that high sugar intake can increase the risk of endometrial cancer by 78%.”[2]

The medical treatments offered are pain killers, surgical procedures including hysterectomy, and hormonal prescriptions. Common hormone-affecting drugs include Lupron, Progestins and Danazol. There are, however, some natural remedies that are effective at controlling symptoms before turning to hormone therapy and surgery.

Natural Treatments

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET

The first thing to do is reduce consumption of foods that can increase inflammation. That includes dairy, processed foods, refined sugars, wheat, caffeine and simple carbohydrates as much as possible. Also avoid alcohol, soy, and red meats because of their estrogenic effects. High estrogen can make endometriosis symptoms worse.

There’s a great book out called Meals That Heal Inflammation by Julie Daniluk which is an excellent guideline for those wanting practical information on how to deal with inflammation naturally through diet alone. Eating more green leafy vegetables, celery, beets, blueberries, salmon, bone broth, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds and hemp hearts will help reduce inflammation on a long-term basis.

Magnesium-rich foods like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, black beans, avocado, almonds, bananas, Swiss chard and spinach can help to soothe the uterus and reduce pain.

Inflammation can also be reduced with high omega-3 foods like flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, salmon, trout, sardines, anchovies and mackerel. If you consume fish on a regular basis, watch out for high mercury content. This can usually be offset with chlorella, cilantro, selenium, mung beans, and vitamin C.

Reduce Xenoestrogens from the Environment

There is a very long list of chemicals in the environment that mimic the effects of estrogen that can make endometriosis and other estrogen dominant conditions worse. These mostly involve plastic products, some cosmetics, bisphenol A and PCBs. See: https://womeninbalance.org/2012/10/26/xenoestrogens-what-are-they-how-to-avoid-them/

Supplements for Endometriosis

VITEX (Chaste Berry Extract) – 1,000 mg daily can stimulate the production of more progesterone by the body that can offset high estrogen levels.

CHAMOMILE – This herb tea can help ease pain and cramping in many cases of endometriosis. Experiment with doses to see where you get benefits. Chamomile contains chrysin, which helps suppress the growth of endometrial cells.

BERBERINE (500 mg 3 times daily) – is a herbal extract that is antibacterial and can both neutralize bacterial toxins and repair gastrointestinal damage often seen with endometriosis. It also improves insulin resistance much like the drug metformin, without side effects.

GREEN TEA – has also been shown to inhibit endometrial growth and studies show that it can reduce endometriosis progression. Drink it regularly too.

CURCUMIN – This constituent of turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory supplement which is capable of improving pain caused by endometriosis. Usually 1,000 mg daily is effective, and far safer than prescription drugs.

INDOLE-3-CARBINOL (200 mg daily) from cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts can prevent excess estrogens that stimulate spread of endometriosis.

N-ACETYL-CYSTEINE (NAC) (1,000 mg daily) – has been shown in at least one study to make endometriosis disappear without side effects. NAC helps the body make more of its glutathione in the liver. Glutathione is the body’s most important antioxidant.

PYCNOGENOL (Pine Bark Extract) (100 mg daily) – shows evidence of benefits for endometriosis through its powerful antioxidant properties.

MILK THISTLE – A good dose is usually 1 tablespoon daily to enhance liver health. The liver can detoxify high estrogen levels that helps offset estrogen dominance and this reduces endometriosis symptoms.

Milk Thistle

PEPPERMINT HERB TEA – can also be effective in moderate amounts. It can certainly reduce abdominal pain and inflammation.

Other anti-inflammatory herbal remedies that can be used include lavender, ginger, cinnamon and clove.

PROGESTERONE CREAM (bioidentical) – The dose depends on the individual. It’s applied to the skin and can be used by more severe cases of endometriosis to reduce symptoms. In Canada, one requires a prescription from a licensed MD or ND.

B-COMPLEX vitamins (100 mg or more daily) – can benefit ordinary health in many different ways. Vitamin B6 will also boost body progesterone levels but should be taken in a balanced B complex in order to prevent other B vitamin deficiencies.

ZINC BISGLYCINATE (50 mg daily) – is recommended because this is a very common deficiency in endometriosis sufferers. It can help in pain control.

ASHWAGANDHA – is a herbal remedy that helps with adrenal gland stress, so it can be used if stress triggers endometriosis symptoms.

CBD OIL from cannabis – amounts used are variable but studies indicate that it can help ease endometriosis pain and inflammation. The liquid form is preferred over inhaled forms. Creams, ointments and oral supplements are legally available.

PROBIOTICS and prebiotics can improve endometriosis symptoms especially in those with an imbalanced gut flora. There are many companies that make these available in powder or capsule form. Use at least 50 billion units of a broad spectrum probiotic daily.

Other Natural Strategies

ACUPUNCTURE – can help most chronic pain conditions so is well worth doing. Some studies have shown benefits for those suffering from endometriosis.

CASTOR OIL PACKS – can be used topically to reduce pain and inflammation in the abdominal and pelvic area as needed.
Heat packs and Clary Sage can be effectively used topically as well for acute pain control.

Some New Hope

New research on endometriosis involves a fundamental rethinking of this condition not as a disease of the pelvis, but rather “a whole-body disease”. Much of this research has evolved from thinking more holistically when confronting endometriosis. For another thing, research on genetics has shown similarities to several other diseases involving severe inflammation. Some common and different forms of endometriosis could eventually result in some new hope for many chronic sufferers.

Most recently, Japanese researchers found a common form of bacterium called fusobacterium (found in gum disease) was playing a role in the growth of endometriosis lesions and that it could potentially be treated with existing antibiotics. This may be the reason why the herbal extract berberine could be a potentially effective treatment but definitive proof is still lacking for that. On the other hand, as I mentioned earlier, berberine is harmless and has been reported by several sources as an effective remedy.

Conclusion

The standard medical remedies should not be abandoned if they are effective but it should not be forgotten that side effects of synthetic hormones can result in abnormal blood clotting, high blood pressure, strokes, and heart attacks in many young women. On the other hand, the natural approaches can often also produce beneficial results without any of the dangerous side effects. Work with a holistic doctor or naturopath for personalized natural treatments of endometriosis.

(Editor’s note: The information in this article is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. For any changes to your healthcare regimen, please consult a qualified healthcare professional.)

REFERENCES
[1] Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354656

[2] Sugar sweetened beverages linked to endometrial cancer: https://seattleorganicrestaurants.com/vegan-whole-food/cancer-thrives-on-sugar-consuming-sugar-sweetened-beverages-can-increase-risk-of-endometrial-cancer.php

Endometriosis Treatment Delays: https://toronto.citynews.ca/2023/07/07/endometriosis-treatment-delays-can-lead-to-devastating-effects-on-fertility/

12 Natural Remedies for Endometriosis: https://www.verywellhealth.com/natural-treatments-for-endometriosis-89275

9 home remedies for Endometriosis: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321402

Herbs for Endometriosis: https://www.healthline.com/health/herbs-for-endometriosis

17 Proven Natural Remedies for Endometriosis: https://thehiddencures.com/natural-remedies-for-endometriosis/

Meals That Heal Inflammation.  https://www.juliedaniluk.com/julie-daniluk-s-meals-that-heal-inflammation-book

Herbal remedies for endometriosis: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/herbs-for-endometriosis

Natural Treatments for Endometriosis: https://www.larabriden.com/endometriosis-natural-treatments-really-work/

Estrogen dominance and endometriosis: https://endometriosis .net/living/estrogen

Foods to Avoid if you have high Estrogen: https://food.ndtv.com/health/foods-you-must-avoid-if-you-have-high-estrogen-levels-3770971

Dr. Axe on Endometriosis: https://draxe.com/health/endometriosis-symptoms/

Endometriosis Breakthrough: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/aug/10/its-really-only-the-beginning-are-we-on-the-cusp-of-a-breakthrough-in-endometriosis?ref=futurecrunch.com

High Estrogen Foods: https://draxe.com/nutrition/5-high-estrogen-foods-avoid/

Xenoestrogens and How to Avoid Them: https://womeninbalance.org/2012/10/26/xenoestrogens-what-are-they-how-to-avoid-them/

Indole-3-carbinol effects. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36432626/I-3-C

Food sources. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/indole-3-carbinol

 

Zoltan P. Rona, MD, MSc, offers consultations on nutrition and natural remedies in Thornhill. He has recently retired from medical practice as a Complementary and Alternative medical practitioner and now strictly offers nutritional consultations. He is the medical editor of The Encyclopedia of Natural Healing and has also published several Canadian bestselling books, including Vitamin D, The Sunshine Vitamin. To see more of Dr. Rona’s articles, visit: www.highlevelwellness.ca and for appointments, please call (905) 764-8700; office located at: 390 Steeles Ave. W., Unit 19, Thornhill, Ontario

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