The endometrial tissues that normally develop in the uterus, in some cases tend to grow outside the uterus on the ovaries, fallopian tubes and in other parts of the pelvic area. This condition known as endometriosis causes painful menstruation, heavy menstrual bleeding, bleeding between periods, painful sexual intercourse and pain during ovulation, urination and bowel movement. It is a common cause of infertility.
Endometriosis is commonly treated with hormonal drugs and surgical procedures. However, it also responds to certain natural therapies. The traditional medicine systems target the hormonal cycle, nervous system and the detoxification process to alleviate endometriosis.
Plant compounds that mimic the human hormones can provide relief from endometriosis. Herbs that are usually recommended for treating endometriosis include chasteberry, red clover flower, raspberry leaf, dandelion root, verbena, chamomile, oatstraw and nettle. They contain minerals and hormone-like compounds that help to restore the normal reproductive cycle and support scar tissue healing. Moreover, the detoxification properties of herbs help to flash out toxins from the body, thereby protecting the body from harmful substances that traditional healers claim stimulate hormonal abnormalities. The herbs can be taken in the form of supplements and teas. In traditional Chinese Medicine, cotton root and seeds are widely used for inhibiting growth of the endometrial tissues. By altering the estrogen and progesterone levels, gossypol, the active constituent in cottonseed oil and cotton root, helps to treat endometriosis.
Fish oil can benefit women suffering from endometriosis. By inhibiting production of inflammatory immune substances, the omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil reduce endometriosis pain. Moreover, studies suggest that regular intake of fish oil can slow down endometrial tissue growth. Risk of endometriosis can be significantly reduced by consuming 10,000 to 20,000 International Units of fish oil daily.
Flaxseed oil is beneficial for endometriosis patients. Vegetarians can use flaxseed oil as alternative to fish oil. Omega-3 fats present in flaxseed oil helps to reduce pain. Evening primrose oil, borage seed oil and linseed oil can also benefit women diagnosed with endometriosis. The anti-inflammatory property of the essential fatty acids in the plant oils provides relief from endometriosis pain.
The severity of endometriosis symptoms can be reduced through dietary changes. Women suffering from endometriosis should adopt a healthy diet comprising of whole grain products, fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, nuts and seeds. The plant compounds flavones, lignans and indoles are especially beneficial for endometriosis patients. Parsley and celery are the best sources of flavones that prevent conversion of androgen to estrogen, thereby reducing the estrogen level in the body. Flaxseed is rich in lignans that can prevent conditions triggered by estrogen. By boosting metabolism of estrogen indoles present in cauliflower, broccoli, kale and cabbage prevent abnormal endometrial tissue growth. Endometriosis patients should avoid or limit intake of refined carbohydrates, foods and beverages with added sugar, saturated fats, meat and caffeine.
Calcium d-glucarate supplement is recommended for eliminating the excess estrogen from the body that stimulates abnormal growth of the endometrial tissues. Abdominal bloating and fluid retention during periods can be reduced with regular intake of vitamin B6 supplements.