The Endometriosis Association states it is extremely rare that a woman in this day and age should ever need a hysterectomy for endometriosis, no matter how severe. Yet, three out of four gynecologists I visited said, “You have already had your children, so if we find that you have extensive endometriosis during laparoscopy, the best option is to perform a hysterectomy.” This was in response to yet undiagnosed severe pelvic pain. The thought of a hysterectomy sent me searching for the cause for the intense pain I was experiencing. All my symptoms seemed to point to endometriosis. Finally, the fourth doctor I visited discussed diagnosis and treatment options with me without mentioning hysterectomy as a “cure.” That was over a decade ago and today I am still free of endometriosis (and doctors are still recommending hysterectomies).
Endometriosis is one of the most common yet misunderstood female diseases. Approximately 15 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 45 years of age are affected with this painful and debilitating disorder. Symptoms can begin with the onset of menstruation and progressively increase with pending menopause. Dysmenorrhea (pain with menses), dyspareunia (pain with intercourse), and infertility may also be present. The pain some women experience can be devastating. Pain worse than childbirth was my only symptom and, strangely, the pain radiated from my left hip into my back. Many women also experience pain when they have a full bladder or bowel. Some women experience no pain but may have fertility, ovarian or menstrual problems. The symptoms are many and vary from woman to woman.
Careful Diagnosis: Pelvic examinations by a highly skilled gynecologist may disclose nodules or lesions on the ovaries. Ultrasound tests will only show endometriosis if the ovaries are involved. Laparoscopy is the only diagnostic technique that can clearly determine if endometriosis is present. This examination, performed under general anesthetic, involves inserting a light-containing telescope through a small incision in your navel and another one or two small incisions along the bikini line for the instruments.
A laparoscopy is only as good as the surgeon who performs the exam. Removing all the endometriosis tissue requires a physician who is committed to biopsy and getting rid of all suspicious abnormalities. My surgeon was meticulous and I was rid of endometriosis in one surgery.
Endometrial tissue can look like tiny blueberries or black spots; white, yellow or reddish cysts, varying from tiny bluish or dark brown blisters to large chocolate cysts up to 20 centimeters in diameter. Only biopsy can confirm which tissue is truly endometriosis.
It is not uncommon for endometrial cells to grow on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the pelvic ligaments, the outer surface of the uterus, bladder, the large intestine and the covering of the abdominal cavity. Women are often misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, bladder infections, appendix attack, “just” PMS or painful cramps.
Until recently, the most predominant theory to explain the cause of endometriosis was that of retrograde menstrual flow. It was believed that blood flowing backward pushed tiny fragments of normal endometrial tissue (from the lining of the uterus) up the fallopian tubes where it took up residence in the abdominal or pelvic cavity. Here this tissue acted as it would in the uterus in accordance with the monthly menstrual cycle. The blood often could not escape, however, and caused the formation of deposits and severe pain.
Other researchers believe that retrograde menstruation occurs, but it is only in those women with altered immune function that the endometrial tissue implants on other body areas. In other words, your immune system should not allow the endometrial tissue to survive where it does not belong. Once this abnormal tissue is present, the immune system may mount an antibody response and create inflammation and pain in the region involved.
New research points to a glitch in the immune system. Dr David Redwine, world renowned expert and director of the Endometriosis Program at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon, believes that some women are born with abnormally located endometrial cells and that something goes awry with the immune system, causing the cells to become active. This theory has gained acceptance because endometrial implants have been found in the nose, lungs and organs far from the uterus. Dr. Redwine has a
website where further information on his technique can be found www.endometriosissurgeon.com or phone 541-382-8622.
Environmental Pollutants Linked to Endometriosis: Convincing evidence has linked organochlorine exposure to the development of endometriosis. Organochlorines are persistent, toxic substances, like DDT, PCP and dixoins. They are estrogen mimickers, causing an increase in estrogens in the body. Endometriosis is thought to be higher in women who have higher than normal circulating estrogens. Carolyn De Marco, in her book Take Charge of Your Body, states that dioxins are a group of 75 chemicals used to make PVC plastics (our drinking water runs through pipes made from PVC in our homes), solvents, pesticides, refrigerants and in the pulp and paper industry.
These same chemicals also persist in the fats of meat and dairy products. The EPA estimates that 90 percent of human dioxin exposure is through food, primarily meat and dairy products.
Endometriosis is an insidious disorder but it can be cured forever if you examine and reduce your stress levels, reduce the environmental toxins you are exposed to and improve your nutrition. I eliminated my endometriosis
for good, and you can too.
PRESCRIPTION FOR WOMEN’S HEALTH
(contains no iron)
|As directed. For a complete formula recommendations see Appendix A||Ensure adequate nutrient status|
|ESTROSMART||Take four capsules per day until in remission
Turmeric (95% curcumin)100 mg
Indole-3-carbinol 300 mg
Green tea extract 200 mg daily
Rosemary extract 50 mg daily
DIM 100 mg daily
Sulforaphane 400 mcg daily
|Important for healthy metabolism of estrogen; detoxifies breast cancer promoting agents
Prevents breast cancer, detoxifies cancer causing form of estrogen, excellent to reduce chemotherapy side effects
Reduces risk of breast cancer, can be used in conjunction with tamoxifen; prevents healthy estrogen from converting into the cancer causing form
Protects against breast cancer
Reduces tumor formation and breast lumps; antioxidant
Reduces risk of breast cancer
Reduces risk of breast cancer
|Natural pogesterone cream||In Canada, porgesterone cream is a perscription drug. Use 6% natural progesterone 1/4 to 1/2 tsp morning and night between day 5-28 (or whenever your normal cycle ends).||Limits the endometrial tissue build up caused by estrogen|
|Chaste Tree Berry (Vitex)||100-175 mg daily||Balances estogen-to-progesterone ratio; important for proper cell function|
|Cramp Bark tincture||1/2 teaspoon every 2-4 hours for accute pain||Relaxes the uterus and reduces cramps|
|Evening Primrose Oil or Borage Oil containing GLA||3000 mg Evening Primrose or 2000 mg Borage oil per day||Anti-inflammatory; controls negative prostaglandins involved in pain and inflammation|
HEALTH TIPS TO ENHANCE HEALING
- Take four capsules per day of ESTROSMART containing Indole-3-carbinol, d-glucarate, sulforaphone, green tea, curcumin, rosemary, DIM and lycopene.
- The key to eliminating endo is NO dairy products. Dairy products promote
the prostaglandins and leukotrienes that cause inflammation, cramps and
pain. Dairy also contains xenestrogens.
- Excess estrogens must be eliminated. Reduce your consumption of estrogens
from pesticide-laden foods; buy organic foods whenever possible.
- Reduce stress in your life. Working women with type-A personalities are
the most prone to endo. Women who are constantly under stress from their
job, family pressures and personal expectations are at higher risk for
developing endometriosis. In Tori Hudson’s book The Women’s Encyclopedia
of Natural Medicine, she states that, “Baboons who developed endometriosis
in captivity were found to have higher stress levels and a decreased ability
to react to stress compared to those in the wild,” suggesting stress is a factor.
- Get regular exercise to ensure that circulation in the pelvic area is restored.
If you sit all day, your lower abdomen becomes congested.
- A special endometriosis tea formula was developed by herbalist Rosemary
Slick. A healthy liver is essential for hormonal regulation because it converts active ovarian estrogen (estradiol) into the safer form (estriol). She recommends that women with endometriosis drink three to four cups of this tea
per day for four to six months.
3 parts dandelion root
3 parts wild yam root
2 parts burdock root
2 parts pau d’arco bark
1 part vitex berries
1 part Oregon grape root
1/2 parts dong quai root
Sassafras, cinnamon, orange peel and ginger to taste
Combine herbs. Fill a large pot with four cups of cold water. Add four to six
- Refuse to use bleached paper products containing dioxins (estrogen mimickers) – this includes toilet paper, sanitary napkins and especially tampons.
- Do not use plastic containers to store food or water they contain estrogen mimickers. Do not microwave in plastic as the estrogens leach into the food.
Pain Relief: Castor oil packs are excellent at controlling pain. Take six pieces
of flannel soaked in castor oil (damp but not dripping) about the size of the
area you want to treat. Cover these flannel pieces with a hot water bottle
wrapped in a towel and place on the lower abdomen for 30 to 45 minutes,
several times a day. This will not only relieve pain but also improves circulation
in the pelvic area.
Drug Side Effects: Because of the hormone connection, medical therapy for
endometriosis has concentrated on altering a woman’s hormonal chemistry with drugs. These drugs include Danazol, gonadotropin-releasing hormones (GnRH) such as Nafarelin and birth control pills.
Drugs can be successful in alleviating endometrial symptoms, but not without
side effects. They include acne, breast reduction, depression, oily skin,
appearance of facial hair and weight gain. Some may induce menopausal
symptoms such as lowered libido, vaginal dryness, hot flashes and a loss in
bone density. No drug can cure the disease. Upon withdrawal, the
endometriosis symptoms return. Holistic treatment that allows the body to
heal itself is more effective and much safer.
reference: An A-Z Woman’s Guide to Vibrant Health