What is Endometriosis?
As far as women’s health goes, problems related to the menstrual cycle can be some of the most upsetting to deal with. Often times there is a lack of understanding about what actually causes various menstrual related conditions, which only adds to the frustration many women feel when they are trying to seek help.
Endometriosis is a condition that affects 1 in 10 Kiwi women. Some experts think that this number could be higher, with many women going undiagnosed. Endometriosis is a condition characterized by extremely painful periods. Sometimes the pain can occur at other times in the cycle such as around ovulation.
Endometriosis is diagnosed when pieces of the uterine lining called endometrium, are found to have migrated outside of the uterus to other parts of the body such as the abdominal cavity. The reason why this is problematic is because the endometrium is very sensitive to changes in hormone levels and can become swollen and painful when hormones change, such as around time of ovulation and menstruation. So an excess build up of endometrium not only in the uterus, but also in the abdominal cavity will lead to distention, pain, and inflammation.
Many women have to take time out of family life and work during episodes which can have a major impact on quality of life.
It is unfortunate that not much is known about what causes endometriosis and treatment offered is usually not very effective. There are however a few safe natural remedies that can be used either on their own or in conjunction with doctor prescribed medications.
Supplements that help to balance oestrogen have been shown to be helpful. Evening Primrose Oil has long been a favourite for women who experience menstrual related issues. Some of the supplements we are going to look at today are:
- Evening Primrose Oil
- PMT Tea by Artimis
- KNH Resveratrol Complex
- Clinicians Women’s Hormone Support DIM
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening Primrose Oil naturally works to support healthy female hormone balance. In addition it can help to lessen pain associated with menstruation by interfering and blocking the over production of inflammatory chemicals that can cause distention pain and swelling. This supplement also has many beneficial effects on the skin, hair, and joints. Taken twice a day over long term is considered very safe, with no negative side effects reported.
Boswellia more famously known as frankincense, has been used for thousands of years in India and China. It in herbal medicine it is classed as a blood invigorator and a pain reducer. It was traditionally thought of as keeping stagnant blood from building up, creating blockages and then leading to pain. It also has a warming property to it which helps its ability to invigorate blood.
In modern research, boswellia has been shown to act like an NSAID in the body, much like nurofen, but without any negative side effects. It is a must have for any type of chronic pain. It can be taken from the onset of the pain associated with endometriosis. It is safe to continue taking daily until the pain subsides. It can be taken with each cycle.
It will work to reduce pain all over the body, which is important as some women experience headaches and back pain with endometriosis.
PMT Tea by Artemis
PMT Tea by Artemis is a beautifully crafted herbal tea blend created by a Swiss trained herbalist in Dunedin. This tea ideally should be taken 2-3 times a day every day for 2-3 months to create a lasting effect. Many women notice a big improvement in hormonal related symptoms within the first month’s cycle and are happy to continue drinking the tea daily.
It can be used long term, but it should be used for at least three months to create a real change in body chemistry and hormone balance. The herbs in this tea are focused on balancing hormones associated with women’s menstruation and fertility.
There are also herbs added to ease pain and spasm as well as to calm the nervous system and balance the mood. In my opinion this tea would work best if combined with any of the other supplements listed in the blog.
KNH Resveratrol Complex
Resveratrol Complex is not something that people would typically associate as a remedy for endometriosis. However the KNH brand resveratrol complex is unique in that it is a blend of 5 different plant extracts that specifically target circulation, inflammation, and pain reduction.
This formula blends resveratrol, pine bark, turmeric, grape seed and green tea extracts. All of the extracts work in harmony to powerfully improve overall circulation and blood flow. They all have anti-inflammatory properties, but it’s the turmeric that is the real winner when it comes to reducing pain. The curcumins in turmeric, like boswellia, act like a natural NSAID and inhibit the formation of pain and inflammation causing prostaglandins.
Proper blood flow is very important for endometriosis sufferers because it’s the build up of stagnant blood in the uterus that leads to the overflow of endometrial tissue out of the uterus. It is recommended to take a therapeutic dose of this formula to start in order to gain the full benefits.
A therapeutic dose would be 2 capsules twice a day preferably with a meal for 2-3 months, and then reduced to 2 capsules daily to maintain the benefits.
Clinicians Women’s Hormone Support (DIM)
Clinicians Women’s Hormone Support (DIM) sounds like a scary chemical but actually it’s a phytochemical found naturally in high quantities in broccoli and other vegetables from the brassica family. This supplement is very interesting for anyone suffering from hormone related illness.
DIM has an amazing ability to truly balance oestrogen by preventing spikes or dips in production of the hormone. Women who have endometriosis typically suffer from oestrogen imbalance; usually they produce too much oestrogen which feeds the build up of the uterine lining.
By balancing the oestrogen levels of the body, there will be less stimulation leading to a reduced build up of endometrial tissue with in the uterus. Low dose supplementation over long term has been found in research to be beneficial for women suffering with hormonal imbalance.But keep in mind that in this situation less is more.
A low dose long term is helpful but too much DIM over a long term can actually have a reverse effect. So stick to 100-200mg as a daily dose of DIM.
If you or someone you know is dealing with endometriosis it should be beneficial to give some of the supplements a try. Combine ones that you think will suite your needs. They will work better when used together. All of the supplements listed are safe to take in conjunction of pharmaceutical medications including birth control. And remember to give these supplements a chance to work.
Don’t expect results over night. Chronic illness typically takes a while to show improvement. Also don’t forget the power of regular exercise, good sleep and healthy diet. If you never exercise or your diet is lacking in fresh whole foods then no drug from the doctor or supplement from a health shop can restore your health.
These supplements will work best as part of a healthy living life style. If you need help figuring out what a good diet actually is, come visit our retail store and talk to on of our amazing retail staff at New Zealand Health Food Co.
She is our in-house whole foods nutritionist and she has a wealth of information to help you regain control of your body and your health.