Updated: Jun 30
Over my experience Naturopath, Endometriosis is a condition I have become very passionate about in my practice. I find women with endo come to me exhausted by the many challenges endo brings with it: severe chronic pain, digestive symptoms, and sometimes depression and fertility complications. My heart aches for the many women who go from one GP to the next, struggling to get a diagnosis for many years.
What I have found essential to understand about endometriosis is that it is a whole-body inflammatory condition. As part of the in-depth medical history taken in my first one-on-one sessions, I will always gauge the symptoms that typically go hand-in-hand with endo pain, such as constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, nausea, bladder problems of increased urgency and pain, headaches, fever, spotting and more. Emerging research has spotlighted the immune dysfunction and genetic connection with endo, hence why endo can be viewed in an almost autoimmune sense. This immune connection of endo is something I have become fascinated with. I will routinely assess clients for previous exposure to viral infections, pelvic and genito infections and most importantly, gut health! Yes, immune mediators can be switched on and activated due to dysbiosis/unbalanced gut bacteria. This bacteria may infiltrate the space surrounding our digestive and reproductive organs. But what do sex hormones got to do? It is important to remember that endo is fundamentally immune dysfunction related; however, sex hormones (particularly estrogen and progesterone) can encourage the growth of lesions. A lesson to take from this is that endo presents differently for each woman, and treatment must involve a multifaceted approach!
Knowing all of this, a holistic approach to treating endo is crucial. I am continually driven by the current research about endo and how I can incorporate this into my treatment plans. I aim to uncover whether someone needs more digestive, immune specific, hormonal support (or all!). From here, I tailor treatment plans specific to my client, which can involve modifications to diet, lifestyle choices, nutritional supplements, herbal medicines, probiotics, the list goes on! Testing is another critical element of practice, and the partnership between GP and naturopath is vital for getting the most out of clinical management. Our bloods can provide tremendous insights and direction for understanding root causes, and I am a big believer in retesting to ensure we are on track.
Some of my top tips for managing endo:
Advocate for your health. GP shop around if you need to. Reach out to friends or online endo Facebook groups or online pages to find a word of mouth GP recommendation in your area.
Address gut health and subsequent inflammation. If you have gut symptoms, seek advice from a holistic practitioner such as a naturopath.
Consider a vegetarian diet for one day a week to avoid inflammatory properties that come with the overconsumption of red meat.