Alternative Treatment For Endometriosis
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Natural treatments involving diet, nutritional supplements and alterative therapies such as reflexology and Chinese medicine are achieving excellent results for women with endometriosis. This is particularly appealing as the medical endometriosis treatment alternative of hormone drug therapy or surgical intervention can have significant side effects. Even if you have had a laparoscopy or hormone treatment for endometriosis, you should consider alternative techniques to help prevent re growth of endometrial implants. Always discuss any self-help remedies with your doctor.
Foods To Eat
• Eat more foods which are known to create hormone balance through eliminating excess hormones from the body (read about the causes of endometriosis to know why this may be important). These foods include cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. These foods are rich in indole-3-carbinol (I3C) which aids detoxification. Alternatively you can take an indole-3-carbinol supplement.
• Soya based foods also help to rid the body of excess hormones. These include tofu, miso and tempeh. Beans also act in a similar way, so include all types of beans, chickpeas and lentils in your diet.
• Oily fish are excellent for their anti-inflammatory properties and may help prevent an endometriosis flare up. These include salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and pilchards.
• Spices turmeric and ginger are also anti-inflammatory.
• Pineapple is rich in bromelain, another anti-inflammatory. It should be eaten before a main meal for best effect rather than after.
• Sprinkle sunflower, cracked linseeds and/or pumpkin seeds on your cereal in the morning. These contain fatty acids and zinc which are important for healing soft tissue.
• Magnesium rich foods like bananas, almonds, prunes, cashew nuts and broccoli can help reduce endometriosis symptoms like cramps.
• Foods which contain lots of fiber, like brown rice and oats bind excess estrogen so that it can be expelled from the body. Read about the effects of estrogen and why an excess is not good for you.
• Foods rich in vitamin E like avocados and wheat germ are good for helping to reduce endometrial scar tissue.
• Fruits like blueberries, cherries, prunes and blackberries are high in bioflavonoid which reduces inflammation.
Foods To Avoid
• Sweet sugary foods which can trigger inflammation such as cakes, sweets, soda drinks and pastries.
• Alcohol, or reduce intake to maximum of one drink a day.
• Red meat and dairy products can raise estrogen levels, placing extra work on the liver and causing pain and inflammation.
• Many nutritional practitioners suspect a link between endometriosis and Candida. If you suffer any yeast infection symptoms such as thrush, bloating, food cravings, constipation or diarrhea, then reduce your intake of refined carbs (like white bread and biscuits), sugary snacks, cheese, mushrooms, yeasted breads and concentrated fruit juices. It is worth following our candida diet guidelines.
• Peel vegetables which are not organically grown as this is where pesticides are concentrated. Pesticides and herbicides disturb hormone balance.
• Reduce caffeine intake (coffee and caffeine sodas like Coke). Caffeine reduces the body's ability to cope with pain.
• Reduce or cut out wheat and wheat bran from your diet. Although good for constipation relief, wheat contains phytic acid which binds essential minerals like zinc and magnesium which are needed for muscle relaxation and hormone balance.
• Omega 3 fish oils are vital for reducing inflammation associated with endometriosis. The recommended course is 3g daily.
• Vitamin E supplement (400iU daily) will help reduce endometrial scar tissue.
• Most women with endometriosis are lacking in magnesium. Take 200-500mg daily as part of a good multi-vitamin. Check the label to ensure the vitamin contains a strong enough dosage.
• A B-complex capsule will support the liver in the breakdown of excess estrogen hormones. A good multi-vitamin should also contain the B vitamins.
• Pine bark extract (pycnogenol) helps reduce bleeding, pain and inflammation of endometrial tissue. A 50-100mg supplement a day is recommended if you have received an endometriosis diagnosis.
• Take a soya/isoflavone supplement once a day if you do not include soya products in your diet.
• Soothing herbals teas such as ginger tea are recommended.
• Naturopathy and Chinese Medicine: These have proven beneficial to many women who suffer from endometriosis. Always discuss the use of Chinese herbs with your doctor as they may want to monitor your liver function. In addition, check out our list of women's health books for other self-help methods.
• Acupuncture: In a 2002 study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 67 women with painful periods (dysmenorrhea) due to endometriosis were surveyed. Half were given ear acupuncture. Of those half, 87 percent reported improved symptoms and less painful periods. Researchers speculated that this may be because acupuncture promotes blood circulation and regulates the endocrine system (the glands which secrete hormones). It may also be related to endorphins (happy hormones) being elevated by acupuncture.
• Advanced Reflexology Techniques (ART): Medical research with a leading gynecologist has shown significant success in the treatment of endometriosis with this technique.
• Acupressure: May help relieve premenstrual syndrome (PMS) cramping. See books on alternative medicine for a list of useful resources.
• Chemicals: Remove chemicals from the house and use biodegradable products where possible. Some research indicates a link between endometriosis and environmental toxins.
Sunscreen Block With BP-3: A recent study discovered a link between chemicals found in sun screen blocks and endometriosis. However the researchers at the Department of obstetrics and gynecology at McMaster University in Ontario are quick to point out that the results are not conclusive, and that the use of sun screen is crucial in the fight against skin cancer. The chemicals in question are benzophenone-type UV filters which protect the skin from ultraviolet rays, but they also mimic the effect of estrogen. Previous research has found that benzophenone-3 (BP-3) is absorbed into the bloodstream faster than other agents. Researchers say if women are worried about the results they should look for a sun block that does not contain BP-3.
• Hydrotherapy: Also called contrast sitz bath. This involves sitting in a basin of hot water for 3 minutes and then sitting in another basin with cool water for 1 minute. This process should be repeated 3 times and avoided during menstruation. This is a home-remedy and has not been scientifically tested.
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