About 1 in 10 women suffer from endometriosis, making this female reproductive disorder more common than many people know. While endometriosis does not have a cure, some of the symptoms can be relieved with effective natural remedies.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus begins growing outside the uterus. This tissue usually builds up and thickens, then breaks down and bleeds as part of a woman’s natural menstrual cycle.
With endometriosis, the tissue doesn’t remain inside the uterus lining (endometrium) like it is supposed to, but instead expands to outside of the uterus, affecting organs like the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Not only is this incredibly painful, but the tissue that grows outside the uterus doesn’t have anywhere to exit, so it remains trapped, becoming cysts, scar tissue, or abnormal adhesions that bind organs together.
Women suffering from endometriosis often don’t realize they are affected by the condition until they’ve been diagnosed by their doctor. Symptoms can vary among women, but one of the most common endometriosis symptoms is intense pelvic pain. Other symptoms include:
- Painful periods
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain during bowel movements or urination (especially during your period)
- Very heavy periods or bleeding in-between periods
Less indicative, yet common symptoms include:
How severe your endometriosis pain is does not necessarily signify how advanced your endometriosis is. For example, women who experience severe pain may have mild endometriosis, while women who have very little pain have advanced endometriosis.
Endometriosis symptoms also overlap with symptoms of other conditions, including ovarian cysts and IBS, therefore, it’s best to see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above.
Natural Remedies for Endometriosis
As discussed, endometriosis can cause chronic pain for women who are afflicted by this condition. While it’s best to discuss the condition with your doctor, there are some natural remedies that can potentially alleviate some of the pain and other symptoms of endometriosis.
Certain vegetables, like celery, are rich in plant chemicals called flavones, which some evidence suggests can inhibit aromatase, an enzyme that converts androgens to estrogens. Foods like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage contain chemical compounds called indoles, which are believed to improve estrogen metabolism.
Since endometriosis tends to be an estrogen-dependent disease linked to high levels of estrogen, vegetables can be an effective natural remedy for dealing with this condition.
Flaxseeds can help improve estrogen levels and improve hormonal imbalances. Flaxseeds are rich in lignans and fiber, which can be helpful for conditions that are estrogen-related, like endometriosis. Flaxseeds are sold as small brown seeds, or in the form of cooking oil. The seeds can easily be added to smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods.
More than just being heart-healthy, fish oil could be beneficial to relieving endometriosis symptoms. Researchers have found some evidence that connects omega-3 fatty acids, specifically those found in fish oils, linked to lowered levels of pain.
The EPA and DHA chemical compounds in fish oil have an anti-inflammatory effect on prostaglandin E2, which causes pain in endometriosis sufferers. Researchers also found that fish oil can be an effective way to slow down the growth of endometrial tissue.
Meditation or Other Stress-Reducing Practices
Other than simply distracting yourself from the pain associated with endometriosis, mindful meditation and other stress-reducing practices can help lower your stress levels. Researchers have found that elevated stress levels are connected to elevated coristol levels in the body, which can cause a decrease in progesterone in the body.
The decrease in progesterone can cause a hormonal imbalance in the body, and cause estrogen levels to be higher relative to progesterone.
Essential oils like clary sage can help symptoms of endometriosis. Applied as a few drops to the abdomen area with a warm compress, associated pain from endometriosis can be reduced.
Other essential oils, like frankincense and sandalwood, can also provide anti-inflammatory effects when ingested, which can be helpful in providing relief from endometriosis.
Using Natural Remedies Safely
Like any health condition, it’s best to speak to your doctor first about your personal health profile and what the best solution may be for your condition. The natural remedies shared here are based on limited research and evidence, and their safety and effectiveness is not guaranteed.
Always talk to your doctor before you decide to attempt any natural remedies, as certain side effects can occur when these remedies interfere with other health conditions or are used improperly.