Hormonal Imbalance, Period Pain and Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the uterus, grows in locations outside the uterus. The endometrium normally responds to the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone. In women with endometriosis, the misplaced endometrial cells in the pelvic cavity also respond to these hormones.
During ovulation, the endometrium and the misplaced cells thicken. Unlike the endometrium, the misplaced cells cannot leave the body via menstruation. They bleed, cause inflammation and pain and then heal. Over time, this process can create scar tissue. Fibrous scar tissue can form on the uterus, causing the uterus to stick to the ovaries, fallopian tubes and bowel. Endometriosis may cause very painful periods and may reduce fertility.
Often left untreated, many women are told by doctors that it is simply period pain. If women receive the right treatment and correct the hormonal imbalance before serious scarring forms, it is very possible to increase the likelihood of successful conception.
Symptoms of endometriosis can include severe pain, very heavy bleeding, painful sex, pelvic pain, bowel/bladder symptoms and reduced fertility. Women experiencing symptoms should remember that intense period pain is often a direct sign of imbalance; though common, this pain is not necessarily normal.
How can Naturopathy help?
Conventional medicine uses laparoscopy as the gold standard diagnostic tool. This explorative surgery is very invasive. Sometimes medical diagnosis is not needed to treat hormonal related issues, if change can be affected. An alternative naturopathic treatment very often has a profound impact on the symptoms after two or three months, significantly improving quality of life for many women.
Treatment plans include a variety of recommendations. Herbal medicine is a key part of this plan, there are some beautiful women’s herbs which can restore balance in the body. Our bodies usually know what to do, but need a little encouragement and support. Nutrient deficiency can also be a part of the issue. Zinc, B6 and magnesium are the most common deficiencies in this case. If the woman has suffered very heavy periods month after month year after year, she may also be iron deficient.
There are specific yoga postures which can increase circulation and reduce congestion through the pelvis. Using food as medicine is also most helpful, foods which are also anti-inflammatories, blood tonics, and offer liver support are super important with any hormonal issues.
Mainstream treatment hormonal medication tends to stop ovarian function, stop hormone production, mask symptoms; failing to actually remedy the original issue. Consequently, imbalance recurs. Addressing deficiencies, supporting liver function, working on diet are all ways to aid in normalising ovarian function. Genetics can also play in to the hormonal issues, and bowel flora can affect oestrogen overload.
Exploring symptoms with an experienced practitioner and addressing them with a view to restoring balance in the body, is the best way to treat the actual source of the discomfort and achieve better and more sustainable health from month to month.