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Endometriosis

The Endometriosis Association states that it is extremely rare for a woman in this day and age to need a hysterectomy for endometriosis, no matter how severe. Yet, three out of four gynecologists I visited said, “You have already had your children, so if we find that you have extensive endometriosis during laparoscopy, the best option is to perform a hysterectomy.” This was in response to yet-to-be-diagnosed severe pelvic pain. The thought of a hysterectomy sent me searching for the cause of the intense pain I was experiencing. All my symptoms seemed to point to endometriosis. Finally, the fourth doctor I visited discussed diagnosis and treatment options with me without mentioning hysterectomy as a “cure”. That was over a decade ago, and today I am still free of endometriosis (and doctors are still recommending hysterectomies).

Symptoms

Endometriosis is one of the most common, yet misunderstood, female diseases. Approximately 15 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 45 years of age are affected by this painful and debilitating disorder. Symptoms can begin with the onset of menstruation and progressively increase with pending menopause. Dysmenorrhea (pain with menses), dyspareunia (pain with intercourse), and infertility may also be present.

The pain some women experience can be devastating. Pain worse than childbirth was my only symptom, and, strangely, the pain radiated from my left hip into my back. Many women also experience pain when they have a full bladder or bowel. Some women experience no pain but may have fertility, ovarian or menstrual problems. The symptoms are many and vary from woman to woman.

Careful Diagnosis: Pelvic examinations by a highly skilled gynecologist may disclose nodules or lesions on the ovaries. Ultrasound tests will only show endometriosis if the ovaries are involved. Laparoscopy is the only diagnostic technique that can clearly determine if endometriosis is present. This examination, performed under general anesthetic, involves inserting a light-containing telescope through a small incision in your navel. Another one or two small incisions along the bikini line are made for the instruments.

A laparoscopy is only as good as the surgeon who performs the exam. Removing all the endometriotic tissue requires a physician who is committed to biopsy and getting rid of all suspicious abnormalities. My surgeon was meticulous, and I was rid of endometriosis in one surgery.

Endometrial tissue can look like tiny blueberries or black spots, or white, yellow or reddish cysts, varying from tiny bluish or dark brown blisters to large chocolate cysts up to 20 centimeters in diameter. Only a biopsy can confirm which tissue is truly endometriotic.

It is not uncommon for endometrial cells to grow on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the pelvic ligaments, the outer surface of the uterus, the bladder, the large intestine and the covering of the abdominal cavity. Women are often misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, bladder infections, appendix attacks, “just” PMS or painful cramps.

Causes

Until recently, the predominant theory to explain the cause of endometriosis was that of retrograde menstrual flow. It was believed that blood flowing backward pushed tiny fragments of normal endometrial tissue (from the lining of the uterus) up the fallopian tubes where it took up residence in the abdominal or pelvic cavity. Here this tissue acted as it would in the uterus in accordance with the monthly menstrual cycle. The blood often could not escape, however, and caused the formation of deposits and severe pain.

Other researchers believe that retrograde menstruation occurs, but it is only in those women with altered immune function that the endometrial tissue implants in other body areas. In other words, your immune system should not allow the endometrial tissue to survive where it does not belong. Once this abnormal tissue is present, the immune system may mount an antibody response and create inflammation and pain in the region involved.

New research points to a glitch in the immune system. Dr. David Redwine, world-renowned expert and former director of the Endometriosis Program at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon, believes that some women are born with abnormally located endometrial cells and that something goes awry with the immune system, causing the cells to become active. This theory has gained acceptance because endometrial implants have been found in the nose, lungs and other organs far from the uterus.

Environmental Pollutants Linked to Endometriosis: Convincing evidence has linked organochlorine exposure to the development of endometriosis. Organochlorines are persistent, toxic substances, like DDT, PCP and dioxins. They are estrogen mimickers, causing an increase in estrogens in the body. Endometriosis is thought to be more common in women who have higher than normal circulating estrogens. Dr. Carolyn DeMarco, in her book Take Charge of Your Body, states that dioxins are a group of 75 chemicals used to make PVC plastics (our drinking water runs through pipes made from PVC in our homes), solvents, pesticides and refrigerants, and in the pulp and paper industry. These same chemicals also persist in the fats of meat and dairy products. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 90 percent of human dioxin exposure is through food, primarily meat and dairy products.

Endometriosis is an insidious disorder, but it can be cured forever if you examine and reduce your stress levels, reduce the environmental toxins you are exposed to and improve your nutrition. I eliminated my endometriosis for good, and you can too.

Seven Early Warning Symptoms of Endometriosis

  • Menstrual cramps that increase in severity
  • Intermenstrual pain, usually at mid-month
  • Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Infertility of unknown origin
  • Thinking you have a bladder infection, but the test results are negative
  • Pelvic pain that is all-encompassing
  • A history of ovarian cysts

PRESCRIPTION FOR HEALTH

Nutrient Dosage Action
ESTROsmart 4 capsules daily with food until remission

Important for healthy metabolism of estrogen; supports normal cell growth

Prevents abnormal cell growth, detoxifies cancer-causing forms of estrogen

Stops healthy estrogen from converting into cancer-causing forms

Protects against abnormal cell growth, detoxifies excess estrogens

IMMUNOsmart 2 capsules daily Strengthens immune system, enhances T cells and natural killer (NK) cells
Shepherd's Purse Tincture

2.5 ml 3 times daily in water or juice

Relieves painful menstruation, eases heavy flow

Borage Oil / GLA Skin Oil

2000 mg borage oil daily

Anti-inflammatory; controls negative prostaglandins involved in pain and inflammation

MULTIsmart 6 capsules or 2 packets Ensures adequate nutrient status

HEALTH TIPS TO ENHANCE HEALING

  • The key to eliminating endometriosis is NO dairy products. Dairy products promote the prostaglandins and leukotrienes that cause inflammation, cramps and pain. Dairy also contains xenoestrogens.
  • Excess estrogens must be eliminated. Reduce your consumption of estrogens from pesticide-laden foods; buy organic foods whenever possible.
  • Reduce stress in your life. Working women with type-A personalities are the most prone to endometriosis. Women who are constantly under stress from their job, family pressures and personal expectations are at higher risk for developing endometriosis. In Tori Hudson’s book The Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, she states that, “Baboons who developed endometriosis in captivity were found to have higher stress levels and a decreased ability to react to stress compared to those in the wild”, suggesting stress is a factor.
  • Get regular exercise to ensure that circulation in the pelvic area is restored. If you sit all day, your lower abdomen becomes congested.
  • A special endometriosis tea formula was developed by herbalist Rosemary Slick. A healthy liver is essential for hormonal regulation because it converts active ovarian estrogen (estradiol) into the safer form (estriol). She recommends that women with endometriosis drink three to four cups of this tea per day for four to six months.

Endometriosis Tea

  • 3 parts dandelion root
  • 3 parts wild yam root
  • 2 parts burdock root
  • 2 parts pau d’arco bark
  • 1 part vitex berries
  • 1 part Oregon grape root
  • 1/2 part dong quai root
  • Sassafras, cinnamon, orange peel and ginger to taste

Combine herbs. Fill a large pot with four cups of cold water. Add four to six tablespoons of the herb mixture. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Strain.

Other Recommendations

  • Refuse to use bleached paper products containing dioxins (estrogen mimickers) – this includes toilet paper, sanitary napkins and especially tampons.
  • Do not use plastic containers to store food or water; they contain estrogen mimickers. Do not microwave in plastic as the estrogens leach into the food.

Pain Relief: Castor oil packs are excellent at controlling pain. Take six pieces of flannel soaked in castor oil (damp but not dripping) about the size of the area you want to treat. Cover these flannel pieces with a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel and place on the lower abdomen for 30 to 45 minutes, several times a day. This not only relieves pain but also improves circulation in the pelvic area.

Drug Side Effects: Because of the hormone connection, medical therapy for endometriosis has concentrated on altering a woman’s hormonal chemistry with drugs. These drugs include Danazol, gonadotropin-releasing hormones (GnRH) such as Nafarelin and birth control pills.

Drugs can be successful in alleviating endometrial symptoms, but not without side effects. They include acne, breast reduction, depression, oily skin, appearance of facial hair and weight gain. Some drugs may induce menopausal symptoms such as lowered libido, vaginal dryness, hot flashes and a loss in bone density. No drug can cure the disease. Upon withdrawal, the endometriosis symptoms return. Holistic treatment that allows the body to heal itself is more effective and much safer.

ESTROsmart

What to expect from this product: Maintains healthy estrogen-to-progesterone balance Protects and treats your fibrocystic breasts Halts abnormal cell growth, including breast lumps, fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, and thick uterine lining...

From $32.19

IMMUNOsmart

What to expect from this product: Reduces duration of colds and flu Balances the immune system Reduces allergies Controls autoimmune responses Calms inflammation Contains Beta 1,3/1,6 glucans, buffered vitamin C...

$36.79

SHEPHERD'S PURSE TINCTURE

What to expect from this product: Relief from heavy periods (menorrhagia) Reduced menstrual flow Relief of uterine blood clots Relief from painful menstruation Elimination of diarrhea For urinary tract infections...

$22.99

GLA SKIN OIL

Highly Concentrated GLA from Borage Oil What to expect from this product: Ensures beautiful, smooth, glowing skin Improves calcium retention in bones Treats eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis Stops breast and...

$56.39

GLA BORAGE OIL

Highly Concentrated GLA from Borage Oil What to expect from this product: Ensures beautiful, smooth, glowing skin Improves calcium retention in bones Treats eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis Stops breast and...

$52.89

MULTIsmart

What to expect from this product: All the nutrients you need every day Easy-to-use powder packets with a delicious fruit taste or capsules Highly absorbable nutrients Complete bone nutrient formula—no...

$40.29