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August 4, 2009 at 1:28 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Natural Care for Endometriosis

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Endometriosis is a female condition in which the uterine lining, or endometrium, grows outside of the uterus as well as inside. The results of this external growth can range from very mild to extremely painful and life altering. When endometrial tissue grows on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and other pelvic tissue, it acts exactly as it does when it grows inside the uterus.

For three weeks out of the month, it thickens and grows. During a menstrual period, the endometrium breaks down and bleeds. The problem is that there is no exit for this bleeding, as there is for normal endometrial tissue through the vagina. As the blood is trapped in the body, it might irritate surrounding tissues, and cause cysts, scar tissue, and adhesions (excess tissue that binds organs together). Other symptoms can include pain, fertility trouble, heavy periods, and difficulty during sex or using the bathroom.

The exact cause of endometriosis is not known, but there are a few theories:

  • Blood containing endometrial cells flows backward through the fallopian tubes, and the cells settle there to grow.
  • Endometrial cells are actually carried to other parts of the body, where they may or may not cause endometriosis.
  • Endometriosis is genetic, and some people are simply predisposed.
  • A weakened immune system allows endometriosis to happen.
  • Some women have residual cells that grew the reproductive system when they were in the womb, and these cells reacted with genetic and environmental factors to cause endometriosis.

If you think you might have endometriosis, talk to your doctor about the potential complications and solutions. It is likely that you will be told about medications, hormone therapy, and even surgery. However, it is important for you to be aware of all your options, including the natural remedies. The following is a list of natural ingredients that might help to ease the discomfort of endometrioses:

  • Vitamin E: As an antioxidant, vitamin E protects the body tissues from the damage caused by free radicals. It also boosts the immune system to help better fight endometriosis. Olives, spinach, almonds, and seeds are good sources of vitamin E. 
  • Magnesium Carbonate: Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, and is good for immune, bone, and blood health. It is thought to reduce bloating and other PMS-associated symptoms. Nuts, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains are good sources of magnesium. 
  • Chasteberry Extract: Chasteberry has been used traditionally and in the modern era for menstrual discomfort, and is thought to improve the mood. 
  • Calcium Carbonate: Calcium is essential for the health of your bones, muscles, nerves, and heart. It can also aid in digestion. After taking calcium carbonate in clinical studies, women reported improvement in mood and water retention. Dairy products are a good source of calcium, and many other foods are calcium fortified, such as fruit juices and cereal. 
  • Dandelion Extract: The Chinese used dandelion historically as a compress for breast inflammation. It is also known to have antioxidant properties. 
  • Pine Bark Extract: This extract, thought to offer antioxidant properties, may help in reducing swelling. One if its traditional uses was for the reduction of PMS symptoms. 

When you speak with your health care professional about endometrial health, be sure to discuss the natural options. They are often preferable to chemical medication, and offer wider-reaching health benefits.

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/endometriosis/DS00289 http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002406.htm http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium.asp http://nccam.nih.gov/health/chasteberry/ http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a601032.html http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-dandelion.html http://www.cancer.org/docroot/ETO/content/ETO_5_3X_Pycnogenol.asp?sitearea=ETO

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