We eat ten times our own body weight every year; I don’t understand how there are doctors who still think that it doesn’t make much difference to our health.
What exactly is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is the name doctors give to a disease in which tissue similar to endometrium (which is normally only in the uterine cavity) also occurs outside the uterus. This tissue can then settle on, for example, the peritoneum, on or in the intestinal wall, between the uterus and the bladder, and on or in the ovaries. In rare cases, it can even occur in the chest cavity. These spots are called endometriosis foci.
These endometriosis foci respond to your normal cycle. The thickened uterine lining with blood is shed in the normal way during menstruation, but the blood from these other tissue pockets often cannot be shed or cleared. They can then become sources of inflammation during menstruation. This can eventually lead to cysts or adhesions of various tissues and organs. Many women experience these sources of inflammation as (very) painful. One in ten women is said to suffer from endometriosis.
How do you know if you have endometriosis?
Severe pain in your abdomen during your period is, therefore, the main symptom that can indicate that you suffer from endometriosis. A client told me that she sometimes screams in pain.
Other symptoms may include:
- a lot and often abdominal pain and/or pelvic pain
- bowel and bladder problems (intestinal cramps, constipation or diarrhea, pain when urinating)
- pain when making love
- lower back pain or pain in the thighs (especially during menstruation)
- general fatigue
- Reduced fertility
In all cases, the symptoms get worse during menstruation. This is therefore important to mention when you visit your doctor. Complaints can get worse over the years and last longer if you don’t do anything about them. So don’t wait too long to take action.
Where do these fireplaces come from?
According to doctors, it is unknown what causes the proliferation of this endometrium. There are several studies showing that toxic substances such as certain pesticides, or chemicals commonly found in products such as sunscreen and nail polish can worsen endometriosis. These substances are also known as xenoestrogens: chemicals that behave in our body like estrogen, but have a more intense effect on our body than our own estrogen. You can see endometriosis as an excess of estrogen (estrogen dominance) in the body. An under-functioning liver that normally drains too much estrogen and toxic substances can make matters worse.
As a woman, it is smart to be aware of these toxic substances in our environment and to avoid them where possible. At least in your cosmetics and care products, but also in your household products and your food. Opt for 100% natural as much as possible. You can read more about xeno-estrogens in Xeno-oestrogens; a tsunami of endocrine-disrupting substances.
The standard treatment: drugs or surgery
Of course, the pill is often prescribed as the first treatment, so that ovulation is prevented and less endometrium is built up. This makes the endometriosis less active. Other drugs that are used, including progestin hormones, have the same effect. All drugs against endometriosis inhibit egg maturation, ovulation, and growth of the endometrium. In some cases, endometriosis can shrink and even ‘dry up’. But the cause is not removed.
If the pain has become unbearable, or if young women want to have children, surgery can also be initiated. The endometriosis foci and possible adhesions are then removed as well as possible.
What can you do with your own food?
It seems that many women have one or more obsolete foci of endometriosis in the abdominal cavity. These have become scars of spots of mucous membrane that have once been active but which the body has cleared itself. That’s possible! Your body has an enormous self-healing capacity; it just needs you to give it the right tools for that. Time for teamwork!
There is actually such a thing as an endometriosis diet. Two English researchers, Dian Shepperson Mills and Michael Vernon wrote the book Endometriosis: a key to healing through nutrition. This book provides clear guidelines when it comes to nutrition and is full of scientific references to studies that support these guidelines. I will briefly summarize the essence below.
The core of the matter: strengthen your immune system and liver
In fact, all the advice in this book is all about strengthening your immune system. Because the endometrium is located in places where it should not be, inflammation occurs. Your immune system works extra hard to keep these within limits as much as possible. This is a major cause of the fatigue associated with endometriosis: your body works ten times to fight this inflammation. So it’s about making your immune system as strong as possible on the one hand and avoiding all foods (and other substances) that can trigger inflammation on the other.
If there’s one thing that fuels inflammation in the body and weakens your immune system, it’s elevated blood glucose. So it’s about keeping your blood glucose as stable as possible.
Put this on your plate especially
Because your body is probably sensitive to toxic substances and/or your liver cannot properly dispose of them, it is wise to eat as much organic food as possible. This is put first.
- All kinds of vegetables in all colors of the rainbow. Preferably as fresh as possible and with lots of greenery. An Italian study found that eating mostly green vegetables (in combination with fresh fruit) lowered the risk of endometriosis.
- Fruit but not too sweet. Preferably mix fruit with some healthy fats so that your blood glucose does not rise too quickly.
- All kinds of unroasted nuts, seeds, and kernels.
- Healthy fats such as coconut, ghee, avocados, olives, and grass-fed butter.
- Gluten-free grains such as quinoa, black rice, buckwheat, and brown rice.
- All kinds of vegetable milk (nut milk, oat milk, etc.). Preferably homemade.
- Healthy starches such as sweet potato, parsnip, and Jerusalem artichoke (in moderation).
- Lentils and other legumes (in moderation)
- Organic eggs (preferably biodynamic)
- raw cocoa
- Organic, preferably grass-fed meat (but be careful with red meat)
- Oily fish is healthy in itself, but many fish, including wild caught, contain toxins. Personally, I would avoid fish if I had endometriosis. Make sure you get enough omega 3 in the form of krill oil or algae oil.
- Flaxseed (grind it yourself in an electric coffee grinder) is very healthy because of the lignans. This helps to get rid of excess estrogen.
- Powerful anti-inflammatories: ginger and turmeric. Make a delicious pot of tea with this every day.
Be (very) careful with this
- Avoid all sweets and fast carbohydrates that push your blood sugar up as much as possible. Also, be careful with anything that has a high glycemic load, meaning anything that quickly raises your blood sugar. This is hard, I know, but if there’s one thing that upsets your hormone balance, it’s that the hormone insulin has to come into play again and again to bring down too much blood glucose.
- Avoid wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and kamut as they contain gluten. Gluten irritates your gut lining, which can promote inflammation. Especially avoid wheat: 80% of women with endometriosis are intolerant to wheat. Research shows that cutting gluten can provide a lot of relief.
- Avoid dairy and especially milk. Like gluten, dairy irritates your gut lining, which can lead to more inflammation.
- Avoid processed foods as much as possible and make everything yourself. Many processed foods contain added sweets or wheat. This also includes synthetic substances that should provide fragrance, color and taste and a longer shelf life. Some of these synthetic substances can have an estrogen effect, which is precisely what you are trying to avoid. Food wrapped in plastic may also contain synthetic substances.
- Avoid bad fats. If you avoid all processed foods, you have already banned most of them. At home, heat only in coconut oil, palm kernel oil or ghee. Olive oil is healthy but do not heat it too high, a little heating is possible. Never heat in corn oil or sunflower oil: this promotes inflammation. Eat butter instead of margarine and avoid frying.
- Be very careful with caffeine, this has an estrogen-boosting effect. Women with endometriosis who stopped drinking coffee reported significantly less pain. The same goes for alcohol and energy drinks. They put a strain on the liver that you need to remove toxic substances.
- Do not eat soy products except fermented soy such as tempeh or miso. Soy products have an estrogen-boosting effect.
If you are still used to bread twice a day and a lot of processed food, this can mean a significant switch, but then your profit can be enormous! I know women who have become completely pain-free thanks to a new diet. A good detox cure to support your liver and to get rid of an excess of estrogens and toxic substances can also help you with this.
Get to the root of endometriosis and don’t settle for symptomatic relief. You are so worth it!