Endometriosis is a gynaecological condition in which cells from the endometrium (the lining of the uterus), are found outside the uterine cavity – most commonly in the pelvis, fallopian tubes, ovaries, bowel and bladder, and sometimes in the lungs, heart, eyes, knees and armpits.
Wherever it grows, the uterine tissue responds to female hormones by growing during every cycle and bleeding during menstruation. The fluid in the tissue results in pain, inflammation, cysts and scar tissue. This can be a serious and very debilitating condition.
The amount of endometrial tissue found outside the uterus does not equate to the level of pain. We have observed in clinc patiens with very small lesions who suffered greatly every month, and others find out by accident that their internal organs are covered in endometrial tissue, and they never had any problems. The National Endometriosis Society estimates that endometriosis affects 1.5-2 million women in the UK.
Endometriosis is a common condition for complementary therapists to work with. In this blog we will explain the approaches our different therapies use and discuss some tips and advice that you can try yourself.
The general consensus is that excess oestrogen plays a significant role in endometriosis. It is therefore important to support liver function and bowel function so that they can help to eliminate excess oestrogen and excrete hormones from the body, while regulating immune function to control the inflammation within the body.
Reducing inflammation is key to the general treatment strategy as inflammation leads to excessive conversion of hormones into oestrogen via aromatase activation more info here.
Whilst a Nutritional Therapist would ideally see a woman in person in order to work with her as an individual, there is some general advice that can be beneficial for everyone.
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts) are a rich source of B vitamins, iron and magnesium and contain phytonutrients called glucosinolates, and indole- 3 carbinol. These help support the liver to remove excess oestrogen.
Adding a variety of coloured vegetables to the diet ensures that the liver gets all the required nutrients to convert excess oestrogen into weaker forms and expel them from the
Oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout), nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds), and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame) contain essential fatty acids (EFAs) and vitamin E.
These have anti-inflammatory properties and can help support immune function, reduce inflammation and may help with menstrual cramps.
Dietary fibre such as brown rice, oats, rye, quinoa along with beans, pulses, lentils can help to promote a healthy bowel function and thereby facilitate excretion of excess oestrogen.
Naturally fermented foods such as kefir ( can be made from non dairy sources such as coconut), sauerkraut & kombucha help to support your gut microflora. They contain
Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species that are vital in supporting immune function, producing B vitamins, and restoring balance in the gastrointestinal tract.
Filtered water can help relieve constipation and prevent water retention. 1.5-2l per day is recommended.
Magnesium is a muscle relaxant that has been shown to have beneficial effect on painful periods and lower back pain. Espom salt baths are rich in magnesium sulphate – add 2 cups
into bath and soak for 15-20minutes.
Caffeinated beverages. Replace them with herbal teas such as dandelion and nettle as they can support liver and kidney function due to their diuretic properties, which helps rid the body of excess oestrogen.
Red meat and deep fried foods. They contain a high percentage of saturated fat which has pro-inflammatory properties, thus may aggravate symptoms such as menstrual cramps.
Alcohol. It has been shown to deplete B vitamins and magnesium which are important for overall health. Smoking. This depletes vitamin C which is vital in supporting immune function.
Plastic containers and water bottles. Plastics contain polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) that can have an oestrogenic effect on the body. Try and use glass or stainless steel
containers and avoid wrapping food in cling film.
Later in the week we will be posting advice from our Naturopaths, Herbalists and Chinese Medical Practitioners, so be sure to check here again if you found this