Supporting those suffering from Endometriosis: a Holistic Perspective on Endometriosis while Honoring and Working with Western Practices for it's Management
Endometriosis is a complex immune and reproductive women’s body issue. There is a lot of conflicting theories about it’s causes and whether or not there is a cure outside of a hysterectomy or hormonal birth control. However, what most of us can agree upon, is it causes massive discomfort and reduced quality of life in those it effects.
In my practice I’ve worked with many individuals suffering from endometriosis at various stages of the disease, whether it’s been formally diagnoses or not and whether they’ve had surgery or not or are awaiting surgery. Here is what I have learned and observed in my clinical practice that makes a big difference to the quality of life of those suffering. This is also concurred by those practicing in similar fields.
1. Endometriosis is an Issue of Pelvic Stagnation:
When pelvic issues are present like endometriosis there is some form of pelvic stagnation present. The tissues are made to slide and glide, even though they are relatively fixed in location. When organs and soft tissues can no longer slide and glide there is dysfunction that often shows up in the form of pain. For endometriosis this is the growing of en endometrial like tissues, fluctuating with the female hormone cycle, outside of the uterus. That endometrial like tissues sheds just like a normal endometrial tissue in the uterus, except in this case there is no where for the tissue to go so it stays in the body building up, layer upon layer. In a normal female hormone cycle the endometrial of the uterus would grow inside the uterus and then shed if no implantation of a fertilized egg. The uterus is built to shed the unused lining as menstrual flow. With Endometriosis that growth and shedding of the tissue has no where to go.
By the time endometriosis shows up on a sonograph or other kind of scan it’s been in the body slowly building up for a long time, which is why doctors usually like to ‘see’ with surgery to diagnosis it officially and at an earlier stage.
The number one thing any individual can do for themselves, with endometriosis is to prioritize getting an abdominal therapy. There are many out there. Not all therapies or practitioners are created equal so do research, look for testimonials and make sure you feel comfortable with your practitioner. if you are in the Brisbane City area you can come see me. If you live outside Brisbane, consider joining my mailing list here (scroll to the bottom of the page to add yourself to the mailing list) for when I travel to New Zealand or the Southern, Eastern United States. If you are in a lot of immediate pain, I suggest you find someone trained in The Gentling Way to work with first.
The aim of many abdominal therapies is to gently and externally begin to break up adhesions and help blood flow return to an area in a normal way. If you have many adhesions or long standing endometriosis, you may still need surgery. However, with time and diligence, much can be improved. Even if you still need surgery, after undergoing some form of a physical abdominal therapy, you will most likely recover more quickly post surgery and are more likely to have less surgical complications. Abdominal therapies begin to improve abdominal circulation and support the body in clearing out any stagnation.
2. Only use safe/clean feminine care hygiene products (below I’ll list my personal favorite):
For women who suffer from endometriosis often one of the simplest and cheapest solutions for self support is having a look at the feminine hygiene products used. Many store bought products are made from petroleum by products. If you were to burn them they’d burn a heavy black smoke which to a chemical engineer might mean they are full of chemicals and petroleum by products.
We often think because our bottom is where wastes leave our body in the form of pee, pooh and menstrual lining, that we don’t need to put much consideration to what products we use. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
The pelvic floor is highly vascular and delicately skinned and there fore is more akin to the area just under our tongue. We absorb supplements easily under tongue and do so when we want things to by pass the digestive system and hit our blood stream directly. The pelvic floor is just like this. If we put toxins near this body part we are more likely to absorb said toxins directly into the blood stream. Therefore it is wise to think carefully about what is used, preferably clean and organic.
Reusable items such as a Deva cup are great but don’t allow the free flow of fluids. In an Asian medicine system it is best allow the body to flow so no tampons or Deva cups used ideally. However, we live in modern worlds, some of us on swim team or in tight uniforms. This is a personal choice and one we make that best supports our current lifestyle or situation. In an ideal world or when possible and especially suffering from endometriosis do try to use pads for a while, especially while symptoms are particularly bad.
My personal favorite is feminine hygiene product is called Drion, a kind of high class menstrual pad. They are 95% organic and the 5% non-organic material is so the pad doesn’t start to break down in your pants :-). They break down in land fills or in a compost pile and they are incredibly absorbent. A regular sized pad can hold up to 150 ml of fluid - this is a lot by the way - and really do feel dry even with this much fluid inside. Try it!
Something that stays dry is good for the general health of the pelvic area as it naturally prevents microbial growth and minimizes odor plus it feels nice to sit on something dry, not soggy, damp and wet after a toilet break. Each pad has a crushed tourmaline infused green strip that naturally emits negative ionic energy witch is good for supporting the moving of any stagnant energy which we know is present see tip no. 1 above.
Here the link to order Drion and if you enter in BellyCare in the coupon at check out you get 10% off your oder of $25 or more.
2. Consider a detox plan:
Consider working with a knowlegeable naturopath that can help you identify what toxins might be high in your body. Most people with endometriosis have a build up of estrogens in their body. You could do gentle detox teas such as milk thistle or dandelion as a daily support, or consider a two week or 30 day gentle detox. Again, it is best to work with a qualified individual but doing some kind of detox, is especially helpful in helping the body regulate and lesson endometriosis symptoms.
We live in a very toxic world these days and most likely all or most of us have a build up of something. Excess estrogens are very easy to be exposed to as most plastics leach xenoestrogens (fake estrogens) that act like real estrogens in the body. Too many estrogens in the body will cause issues with our endocrine system such as contributing to endometriosis or causing a whole slew of other women’s based endocrine symptoms. Plastics are everywhere from food wrappings and containers to the countless plastic bottles all of our soaps and shampoos and beauty products come in. A gentle formula that might be helpful is Ben Warren’s Estro Clear.
Note detoxification is not considered generally safe during pregnancy, so always work with a qualified practitioner.
To minimize the exposure of more toxins, eat clean food, organic and/ or spray free as much as possible. For those with endometriosis the most important things to eat or organic meats (if not vegetarian) and organic dairy (if not dairy free) as chemicals get concentrated as we go up the food chain.At the bare minimum, eat organic meat, dairy and fats such as butter or olive oils. Avoid foods on the dirty dozen list if not able to afford organic, which is essentially foods most likely to be sprayed in agriculture. Besides being better for the environment to eat organic, it’s good for your health and your body. Please note many pesticides build up in the environment with use and break down the soil microbes which soil is the equivalent to our guy health for plants. If the soil isn’t healthy then plants too have a hard time being really healthy. Most people don’t think about soil but there are a few really smart big picture people out their thinking about this. If you’d like to go to the next level in organic look for foods biodynamicaly grown or go out and find your local markets. Changes are you’ll meet a farmer just as passionate about soil health as food health.
Foods to avoid, if not organic: The 2019 Dirty Dozen List.
Note: washing generally isn't enough to remove all pesticide residue on these foods. Soft skinned foods like strawberries and spinach absorb the pesticides.
5. Replenish key nutrients:
For those suffering from endometriosis it is imperative to replenish key nutrients often low in those with endometriosis. These are mainly Magnesium, Vit. A, Vit. C, Vit. D, Fat (organic), and Iodine. Again you may want to work with a good naturopath as sometimes the detox symptoms can be quite intense if you move too fast or have a really high build up of toxins in the body. You may actually need professional help to safely move out these toxins, and if you detox too fast or in the wrong way then you could inadvertently do more damage than good. So again working with an knowledge and experienced practitioner in these regards is a good idea.
Always treat iodine with respect. Iodine is essential but very strong. Topical application is best for iodine and magnesium. With the build up of key nutrients over time in the body, the body will have an easier time self correcting and reducing the signs and symptoms of endometriosis. Also consider a really good, full spectrum multi-vitamin. Again Ben warren offers a good multi-vitamine and so does New Chapter.
6. Hormone based birth control (the pill and Merina®) Cover a deeper Internal Issue, They do not correct underlying issues:
Most hormone based birth controls are estrogen dominant, which would be adding more hormones to a body that is probably all ready over burdened. Maybe talk to your doctor and make sure if you go down the birth control route you are on a low estrogen pill or better yet have your hormones tested prior to see where you are on this scale. Remember that hormones are only a bandaid for a deeper issue and though necessary sometimes or for the short term if symptoms are severe, it is still good to be looking at gentle lifestyle choices you can be making now to make sure things are improved in the future or if you decide to come off the hormones.
Also, note there are always other side effects to hormones and birth control hormones will further tax the body in key nutrients so it’s always good to do more research. And this said there is a place for birth control therapies.
7: Do vaginal / perineal steams:
Consider adding vaginal steaming to your self care list. Vaginal steaming offers a wide range of supportive body benefits, namely when practiced correctly, supports the womb in cleansing itself, and is very relaxing to the pelvic floor area. Again do not perform while pregnant.
I’ve written an ebook here and you can read more here.
8. Emotional work of endometriosis:
What I have noticed most in my clients with endometriosis is the need for greater self love and acceptance. We often feel betrayed by our body when we suffer such pain. Please note the body is only in pain because it is trying to communicate with us some message or do a vital job inside the body. The body is always on our side, and sometimes the labels the medical community gives to us can make it sound or feel like a betrayal. However, note the body is always doing it’s best to keep you alive and healthy to the best of it’s ability, no matter what or if it doesn’t always feel like that in moment.
What I notice is quite often during the self care self training portion of a class or one-on-one session, that moment is quite often the first time a client has really given themselves genuine self love and self nurturance. These are two vital ingredients for anyone suffering from any illness, the self compassion component. There may also be stored emotions here from past circumstances, conditioning from parents/society or past partners. For anyone with endometriosis I suggest taking paper and pen or maybe some crayons / paints and have a conversation with your most feminine self the womb and belly. See what your body or the illness has to say to you. Be open to possibility and play with the process. Often profound healing and clarity can come from this simple exercise.
Some women have found support for the endometriosis using Enzyme therapy. EndoEmpowered might be a good place to research this. https://www.endoempowered.com/
10. Consider enrolling in an immersion / intensive program or booking a presentation:
This all sounds like a lot or you feel over overwhelmed, consider an immersion class 1 day to 3 days. I from time to time offer day or 3 day long trainings. Sign up on my mailing list here to find out more or to be kept up to date. If you are really interested please write me and if I have enough people interested I’ll consider putting on a class or training privately. I’m happy to speak to groups and organizations.
To add yourself to the mailing list, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to automatically add yourself.
And remember to consider booking yourself a series of treatments for extra help managing your endometriosis symptoms!
May we all have excellent pelvic health!
Please note there are some affiliate links on this web page but some products endorsed here I receive no benefit for. I simply believe in these companies and use them for myself and my family.