How To Manage Endometriosis Without Losing Your Mind
You know how every time you have your period, you shed your uterine lining that is INSIDE your uterus usually except when you are on your period? Well, if you were suffering from endometriosis, you wouldn't know that. You’d most likely be doubling up in pain thinking about when we talk about it.
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 causes Endometriosis? Since this is a very common disease unfortunately, with 1 in 10 women being affected, there is a lot of research going on in trying to understand the root cause of this condition. There are a few plausible theories that are helping us figure endometriosis out.
Mülleriosis: Currently the most popular theory based on multiple evidence and lab results, mulleriosis is a developmental defect that happens during the migration of any cell-like component of the mullerian duct during the embryonic development. the current best-fit model of the origin of endometriosis, refers to a developmental defect in the differentiation or migration of any cellular component of the müllerian duct system during embryonic development. It is believed that some adult cells retain their ability to transform into reproductive tissue like they did at the embryonic stage and this is what causes endometriosis. However it would be wrong to assume that the endo affected tissue lining the outsides of the uterus is anything like the one inside. This is a toxic growth that spreads to other organs causing similar disruptions.
Retrograde Menstruation: A debatable theory but quite popular, states that during periods, pieces of the endometrium enter the abdominal cavity via the fallopian tubes , latch onto the peritoneal lining and develop into endometriosis lesions.
How to manage Endometriosis: The hormone estrogen lays havoc in the endometriosis condition. 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 grow outside the uterus, leading 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.
Cut Out Foods That Aggravate Endometriosis right now!
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 favorite 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.
High Fat Dairy: 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 milks made of almond, coconut and rice. You can find easy recipes to make them, here. You can fortify these with calcium easily.
Coffee and 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. You can find a host of non caffeinated drinks here on our recipes.
Alcohol: 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.
Red Meat: 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.
Gluten: 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: 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 do I eat on Endometriosis then? 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.
High Fibre: 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 atleast 30 grams of fibre everyday 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.
Iron: 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.