How To Treat & Manage Endometriosis Without Losing Your Mind
Endometriosis happens when tissue similar to the lining on the inside of your uterus or womb grows outside of your uterus or womb where it doesn’t belong. This results in very painful cramping, bleeding, stomach problems, and other symptoms.
It can be crippling to live with - one out of every ten women suffers from it - but understanding the disorder can help you manage it better.
The first thing we’ll look at is an endometriosis overview: what is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a very painful condition where the tissue resembling the inner uterine lining (endometrium), grows outside the uterus and grows on to invade other body tissues resulting in extremely painful scarring, adhesions and disruptions in other body tissues.
It has low and fluctuating levels of hormone receptors compared to the native endometrial tissue and behaves very differently from the native endometrium. While the exact cause of this disease is still being researched upon, there are few plausible theories that point towards its origins and those help us in understanding how we can manage the condition.
What The Body Goes Through
The second aspect is: what happens when you have endometriosis? There are several things that happen when you have the condition, and these symptoms can help with your endometriosis diagnosis.
- Painful periods (pain and cramping to the point where you are unable to get out of bed or do everyday activities)
- Heavy bleeding during periods, bleeding between periods
- Chronic pelvic/lower abdominal pain
- Painful urination during periods
- Blood in urine
- Painful bowel movements during your period
- Pain during and/or after sexual intercourse
- Abdominal bloating and nausea
- Fatigue, feelings of depression and anxiety
- Difficulty getting pregnant
The third common question is - why is endometriosis associated with pain? During your menstrual cycle, this displaced tissue thickens breaks down and bleeds.
But, because it is thick and has no way to exit the body during menses, it gets trapped where it is, leading to the formation of blood-filled cysts and adhesions (these are abnormal bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other).
This results in heavy bleeding and causes immense pain.
And lastly - why is endometriosis associated with infertility? The reason why women with endometriosis deal with infertility problems are because the egg is unable to get completely fertilised - the excess tissue that is growing in and around it obstructs the egg and sperm cells from uniting.
The hormone estrogen plays havoc in women with endometriosis. Estrogen is a hormone that, when an egg is not fertilised after ovulation, in normal circumstances causes the womb lining to thicken and then break down during periods. In an endo warrior’s body, however, estrogen is thought to have the same effect on the uterine lining like tissue that grows outside the uterus, leading to very heavy and painful periods, fatigue, extreme pain in the pelvis, lower back or lower abdomen and pain during or after sexual intercourse. Endo also causes multiple fertility and conception problems in women where there is a lot of bleeding between period cycles as well.
Endometriosis 101 : All You Need to Know
Manage Your Endometriosis With The Right Diet
You can help your endometriosis condition by following a diet that helps alleviate pain and cuts out triggering foods. Relying only on medication will not help - diet plays an important role in the long-term management of endometriosis.
Cut Out Foods That Aggravate Endometriosis Right Now!
Here are the foods you must avoid if you have endometriosis.
Processed Food & Trans Fats: Endometriosis is worsened when your body is experiencing a rise in inflammation. Processed foods and foods rich in trans fats promote the production of inflammatory prostaglandins as they contain additives and preservatives that can trigger imbalances in the immune response.
Get rid of fried food, processed deli meats, ready to eat meals, white flour and maida products and high refined sugar-laden drinks and products. Yes, that means your favourite donuts and pastries have to go!
Saturated fats found in margarine, processed butter and lard, trigger the production of negative inflammatory prostaglandins that cause endometrial cramps and the spread of endometriosis.
Full-fat dairy is mostly rich in saturated fats that contribute to the production of inflammatory prostaglandins which causes extreme pain and cramps. Avoid cow and buffalo milk and products made out of these.
You should also switch to vegan milk made of almond, coconut and rice. You can find easy recipes to make them, here. You can fortify these with calcium easily.
Coffee & Tea:
Caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, energy drinks and sodas increase estrogen levels and aggravate digestive issues leading to more pain during periods, bloating and cramping.
Alcohol causes an instant spike in inflammation and you know you have to avoid it completely. Do we say more? A healthy liver is needed to process out all the toxins and inflammation and to keep the vitamin D levels in check.
High in saturated fats, red meat really wreaks havoc in your body and causes inflammation that takes longer to leave the body and has long term effects.
Cutting out gluten has been observed to lower inflammation and pain drastically. You can however use non-gluten flours and grains to balance out your nutritional needs.
Foods high in synthetic estrogen should be consumed at a minimum. Found in non-organically raised red meat, synthetic estrogen-rich foods like commercially grown deli meat and freshly cut meat should be avoided at all times.
They increase inflammation, are more difficult to process by the digestive system and leave long-lasting effects on the immune system because of all the man-made estrogens fed to the livestock.
What To Eat If You Have Endometriosis
What do you eat if you have endometriosis then? To combat endo, inflammatory foods are not to be consumed or consumed as little as possible. Inflammation is the body’s response to fighting something that is harmful.
Most chronic diseases are thought to be rooted in low-grade inflammation that persists and grows over time; endometriosis is a type of chronic inflammatory condition.
We understand that the world seems to shrink for you a little in terms of food but you can get all your nutrition from most plant resources and items easily available at your local grocery stores.
Fibre is a superstar when it comes to helping you expel unwanted substances from the body - particularly excess estrogen - in the case of endometriosis. Fibre will also aid in stabilising blood sugar levels, reducing inflammation like a boss!
Have at least 30 grams of fibre every day in the form of organic whole grains, beans, dals, fruits and veggies, chia seeds and flax seeds as they are rich in soluble fibre which is useful in binding unwanted substances and reducing their absorption.
Endo warriors often experience low iron levels due to heavy period bleeding. Ensure that you have a high iron intake at all times to make up for the high loss during periods.
Have lots of dark green leafy and iron-rich veggies like spinach, cabbage, broccoli and beetroot. Amaranth flour and amaranth puffs are also great for replenishing your iron levels.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs):
Clean and healthy fats are always helpful in the reduction of inflammation and endo warriors must opt for them at all times to manage the symptoms. Healthy fats like omega 3 aid in balancing hormones and relieve painful symptoms.
Get your daily fix from almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, melon seeds and some wild-caught organic oil fish like salmon, mackerel and anchovies.
Orange and citrus fruits, berries, beets, dark chocolate.
If you would like to know more about endometriosis management or if you are looking for endometriosis treatment, you can reach out to us at Nutrition By Lovneet. We offer specialised endometriosis diet plans that manage fertility and help you overcome the problem with nutrition.
Once we understand your bloodwork and other issues related to endometriosis, we can prescribe a plan for better management of your condition, that will go a long way in improving your chances of endometriosis cure.
We can create the right kind of diet for you that can help you on the path to better health, with less dependence on medicine. The plans at NBL are crafted keeping in mind your preferences, routine and lifestyle, with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients and Indian superfoods.
In addition to diet charts and weekly follow-ups, we also give you some easy home remedies for endometriosis that you can follow easily. The aim is to give you no-deprivation nourishment that is aligned with your health goals. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and browse the endometriosis diet recipe collection
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How serious is endometriosis?
Endometriosis affects millions of women worldwide and is becoming fairly common these days. If not diagnosed in time and left untreated, severe endometriosis can result in infertility.
Some forms of endometriosis can also increase your risk for certain cancers.
How do I know if I have endometriosis?
You can check for endometriosis if you have the following symptoms: painful periods, heavy bleeding, painful urination and bowel movements during your period; blood in urine, pain during and/or after intercourse, chronic pelvic and lower abdominal pain etc are some of the symptoms.
What is the main cause of endometriosis?
Endometriosis can happen to any woman, but there is no single, specific cause. Most medical journals and health organisations including the WHO have thought that it arises due to three possible factors: retrograde menstruation, cellular metaplasia, and stem cells.
Why does endometriosis cause pain in some women?
In endometriosis, cysts swell and bleed in the same manner that the uteral lining bleeds each month during periods.
But, because this bloody tissue grows in a part of the body where it cannot be easily flushed out - the outside part of your uterus, the ovaries, bowels and pelvic region - there is severe pain.
How does endometriosis affect fertility and my ability to get pregnant?
Women with endometriosis often deal with fertility problems, as the egg does not get completely fertilized, as the excess tissue obstructs the egg and sperm cells from uniting.
What is the treatment for endometriosis?
Unfortunately, there is no complete cure for endometriosis - it can only be managed, with medications and other tools. The most common treatment is painkillers to contain the cramping. In some cases, hormonal treatments are prescribed.