August 14 2021
Endometrial tissue is generally found growing in the uterus and it usually contains glands, blood cells, and connective tissues which help in the formation of womb covering for ovulation. When these tissues grow in places other than the uterus, the condition is known as endometriosis and it is found to be most commonly occurring in the pelvic region. Other areas where endometriosis can occur are the ovaries, the Fallopian tubes, the peritoneal area, and the lymph nodes.
Symptoms of endometriosis
The symptoms of endometriosis may be manifested as pain during menses, severe menstrual cramps, chronic lower back pain, menstrual cycle occurring for more than 7 days, excessive bleeding during periods, bowel disorders such as diarrhea, constipation and bloating, blood-tinged urine or stools, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and occasional spotting between menstrual cycle.
Complications and risk factors of endometriosis
Some of the complications of endometriosis that may occur when the condition is left untreated include infertility, the formation of ovarian cysts, inflammation in the pelvic region, scar tissue formation, and bladder disorders. The risk factors for developing endometriosis are age as it generally affects women between the age group of 30 to 40 years, no previous birth history, family history of endometriosis, medical history such as pelvic infections and uterine disorders, an irregular menstrual cycle, and lack of physical activity as well as alcohol consumption.
Treatment of endometriosis
Pain medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) which include ibuprofen or other medications for relieving pain during menstruation can be used in the treatment of endometriosis. Hormonal therapy such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone ( Gn- RH) agonists and medroxyprogesterone can be used to relieve the symptoms of endometriosis. Insertion of intrauterine devices can also be used. In cases where medication management does not provide symptomatic relief, surgical intervention is recommended which involves the removal of the areas affected by endometriosis and in chronic cases, a hysterectomy is performed where both the ovaries become essential. Some of the natural remedies which may be beneficial in the treatment of endometriosis include:
Some studies show that improper functioning of estrogen may be one of the reasons for developing endometriosis in some women. Thus the use of some plant derivatives known as isoflavones may play a significant role in alleviating the symptoms of endometriosis by blocking the action of the enzyme aromatase which helps in converting androgen which is the male hormone into estrogen. A few sources that are rich in isoflavones include celery, parsley, soybeans, chickpeas, fava beans, pistachios, and peanuts. Another type of anti-estrogen effect containing compound that is primarily found in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy is known as indoles and it can also be used in the treatment of endometriosis.
Research shows that the risk of developing endometriosis as well as the increase in the severity of endometriosis symptoms increases as a result of exposure to environmental compounds such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls for a prolonged duration. Thus by reducing the intake of saturated fats such as high fat-containing dairy products and red meat, the consumption of these compounds also decreases indirectly as these e substances are predominantly found accumulated in animal origin fats which on consumption by humans increases their risk of developing health disorders such as endometriosis.
Many studies show that the use of progesterone creams is beneficial during the treatment of endometriosis. The major role of progesterone is the inhibition of the formation and multiplication of endometrial cells and also the formation of blood vessels known as angiogenesis which in turn promotes uterine growth. Thus progesterone cream acts by inhibiting this process thereby reducing endometrial growth in excess and also providing symptomatic relief in the treatment of endometriosis.
Omega 3 fatty acids
One of the compounds from the group of fatty acids which is the causative factor responsible for menstrual cramps and pain during the periods in women suffering from endometriosis is prostaglandins. In the body, omega 3 fatty acids are converted into anti-inflammatory prostaglandins thereby are found to be beneficial in the treatment of endometrial. The main sources of omega 3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies. The other main action of these omega 3 fatty acids include inhibiting the inflammatory prostaglandins that may enter the body during the consumption of red meat and high fat-containing dairy products.
Owing to the presence of the compound eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in omega 3 fatty acids derived from the intake of fish oil has an inhibiting action on prostaglandins and thus causes a reduction in the pain and cramps during the menstrual cycle in women with endometriosis. Studies show that the presence of a higher level of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in the body is associated with a lesser risk of developing endometriosis.
The main characteristic feature of chamomile is its calming effect which makes it an appropriate choice for disorders associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) by alleviating the symptoms such as cramps and pain which may occur as a result of endometriosis. The calming effect of chamomile is due to the presence of chrysin which is an isoflavone that plays a vital role in initiating cell death or apoptosis where there is uncontrollable growth such as in the uterine tissues.
Mainly obtained from plant sources such as grapes, peanuts, and mulberries, resveratrol can be beneficial in the treatment of endometriosis as it helps block the action of aromatase which controls the activity of estrogen and also pain associated enzymes such as COX-2 enzymes and it acts by decreasing the endometrial size lesions considerably.
Since turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties due to the presence of Curcumin, turmeric has beneficial effects on the symptoms of endometriosis as it helps in decreasing the rate of cell formation and growth in the endometrium by blocking the synthesis of estradiol which is a type of estrogen.
Green tea is believed to have an action similar to progesterone as it blocks aromatase. Green tea also has anti-angiogenic activity as it inhibits the formation of tiny blood vessels that can cause overgrowth in the endometrial tissues and thus cause inflammation.
Milk thistle safeguards the liver from extensive damage and promotes the process of detoxification by initiating estrogen clearance from the body. Milk thistle is also endowed with a flavonoid complex which is important for protecting cells against free radical damage and inflammation of the uterine lining. Alvizia Milk Thistle supplements are found to be beneficial in the symptomatic relief in endometriosis.