Natural treatment for endometriosis including naturopathic modalities can assisting the healing of this disease. There are more and more success stories emerging of women who have achieved partial or complete healing of endometriosis using natural treatments.
Endometriosis can be triggered by a combination of factors, including hormone imbalances, stress and nutritional deficiencies, so considering natural treatment for endometriosis using an holistic approach, even in conjunction with medical intervention, will give you the best possible chance to eliminate the symptoms of endometriosis.
The aims of natural treatment for endometriosis are to decrease oestrogen levels, stabilise hormones, increase energy, alleviate ovulation and period pain, improve mood health and when appropriate, to improve fertility.
Endometriosis cannot be fixed quickly. Naturopathic treatment can take longer, but it will be gentler, safer and more effective for long-term results.
Diet and endometriosis
Diet changes are an important part of natural treatment for endometriosis. A suitable diet can help reduce the symptoms of endometriosis and improve your health so you can lead a vital and active life. Adjusting what you eat can bring about many positive physical and metabolic changes, as well as improving your health.
Foods to include for endometriosis
- Essential fatty acids help control inflammation, improve uterine relaxation and aid in tissue healing. Good examples are evening primrose oil, safflower oil, walnut oil and flaxseed/linseed oil.
- Dietary fibre helps to decrease total circulating oestrogens. Good examples are wholegrains (excluding wheat and rye), beans, lentils and pulses, brown rice, fruit and vegetables, and oats.
- Cruciferous vegetables have substances that help eliminate excess oestrogen from the liver more effectively. These vegetables include mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts and cabbage.
- Immune boosting foods such as garlic, onion carrots, live yoghurt, rhubarb, seeds and sprouted seeds, ginger and green tea.
- Phytoestrogens including peas, beans and pulses, red and purple berries, garlic, apples, parsley, fennel, cabbage, cauliflower, nuts and seeds, celery, carrots, rhubarb and sage
- Eat organic produce whenever possible. Peel fruit and vegetables to remove toxic chemicals.
- Drink two litres of filtered water daily.
Foods to avoid for endometriosis
- Gluten – this includes the grains wheat, barley and rye (see below)
- Refined and concentrated carbohydrates including sugar and honey
- Caffeine – found in tea, coffee, soft drinks and chocolate
- Dairy produce, including all milk and cheese
- Saturated fats – animal fat and organ meat, lard
- Red meat – contains an inflammatory chemical called arachidonic acid
- Fried food, margarine and hydrogenated fats
- Tinned and frozen packaged foods
- Additives and preservatives.
Gluten and endometriosis
There is growing evidence to suggest a strong link between gluten intolerance and endometriosis. Many sufferers who change to gluten-free eating notice positive improvements in their symptoms.
Women with endometriosis who are vegan and gluten-free appear to reap even greater health benefits and relief from their symptoms.
Refer to: gluten intolerance for more information on the role of gluten and hormones.
Candida and endometriosis
As mentioned above, a holistic, natural treatment for endometriosis needs to take into account many considerations including the aggravation candida in endometriosis.
There is speculation that there are links between candida (a yeast infection) and endometriosis. Some women are achieving great health improvements by following a diet to address candida. By following the candida diet, these women are seeing improvements with their endometriosis. A candida diet involves avoid yeast in foods, fermented products and added sugar.
Supplements and endometriosis
Although the best source of vitamins and minerals is through a well balanced diet, many foods today are depleted in these vital trace elements. Most of us need to supplement our diet with some of the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function optimally.
The following is a list of supplements that will help women with endometriosis:
- A good multivitamin and mineral supplement as an ‘all rounder’.
- Omega 3 found in oily fish have the greatest impact on menstrual pain and retrograde flow. A recommended dose is between three to five 200g serves of fish per week, or two to three 1000 mg capsules of fish oils daily.
- Magnesium is a mineral that is believed to ease menstrual cramps.
- Zinc is essential for hormone balance and tissue repair.
- Calcium levels in menstruating women decrease 10 to 14 days before the onset of menstruation. Calcium deficiency may lead to muscle cramps, headache or pelvic pain.
- Iron is an important supplement for women experiencing heavy periods. A loss of iron can lead to anaemia, which can cause extreme fatigue and weakness.
- B vitamins are important for the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates and fats in the body. They can also help with the emotional symptoms of endometriosis.
- Vitamin C is well known for helping boost the immune system and provide resistance to disease. It is also used for tissue repair.
- Vitamin A is another immune system booster, antioxidant and important tissue repairer.
- Vitamin E plays an important role in tissue repair and healing and is an antioxidant.
- Selenium, when taken together with vitamin E, has been reported to decrease inflammation associated with endometriosis, as well as boosting the immune system.
- DIM in a supplement form helps the liver convert oestrogen into a healthier form. The dose is dependent on body weight.
- Calcium d-glucarate assists the liver clearance of oestrogen, at the same time, it inhibits beta-glucuronidase, which is the enzyme made by gut bacteria that causes oestrogen to be reabsorbed.
- Iodine down-regulates oestrogen receptors, making them less sensitive. Iodine is safe up to a dose of 500 mcg (0.5 mg), higher doses must be managed under the guidance of a practitioner as iodine can damage the thyroid gland.
NB. For best results, try these recommended supplements for a period of three months. Natural treatment for endometriosis including these supplements are best taken under the care and guidance of your healthcare practitioner.
Herbs and endometriosis
- By far, the most valuable herb for endometriosis is Turmeric, closely followed by Calendula.
- Chaste tree (Vitex agnus castus) is one of the most important herbs for female hormone problems, including endometriosis. It helps stimulate and normalise the function of the pituitary gland, which controls and balances the hormones in our body.
- Milk thistle, Rosemary and Schizandra are excellent liver herbs, aiding in the removal of excess oestrogen.
- Paeonia (peony), Licorice, Dong Quai, Blue Cohosh, False Unicorn Root, Ladies Mantle, Feverfew, and Ginger are other herbs that may be prescribed by your naturopath or medical herbalist for endometriosis.
- Echinacea, turmeric and Rehmannia are key herbs for the immune system and inflammatory impact on endometriosis.
NB. You should not take any of the above herbs if you are taking the oral contraceptive pill, fertility drugs, HRT or any other hormonal treatment or other medication unless they are recommended by a registered, experienced practitioner.
Other Natural treatment for Endometriosis
- Homoeopathic medicines – your homeopath or naturopath will prescribe the most appropriate remedy for you. In addition, a study found a combination of homoeopathic oestradiol in C12, C18 and C24 greatly assists with pelvic pain.
- Natural progesterone cream – the dose is dependent on your symptoms and imbalances.
- Castor oil packs and linseed packs help with pain, inflammation and swelling, as well as the detoxification process.
- Acupuncture helps facilitate the free flow of energy through the body. Some acupuncture points can be used to move blood, break up stagnation and stop pain.
- Aromatherapy can assist and support the reproductive system, and gently contribute to rebalancing your hormones.
NB. Always consult a qualified, registered practitioner when using natural treatment for endometriosis.