period painEndometriosis Overview

Endometriosis is a condition in which the cells from the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) also grow elsewhere in the abdominal cavity. It can produce a host of different symptoms, including incapacitating pain in the uterus, lower back, and organs in the pelvic cavity prior to and during the menses; intermittent pain throughout the menstrual cycle; painful intercourse; excessive bleeding, including the passing of large clots and shred of tissue during the menses; nausea, vomiting and constipation during the menses; and infertility.

Growths of endometrial tissue outside of the uterine cavity occur most often in or on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the urinary bladder, the bowel, the pelvic floor, and/or the peritoneum (the membrane that lines the walls of the abdominal cavity), and within the uterine musculature. The most common site of endometriosis is believed to be the deep pelvic peritoneal cavity, or the cul-de-sac. The presence of endometrial implants outside the pelvic area is uncommon. A continually changing hormonal environment stimulates the endometrium to grow in preparation for a possible pregnancy during the normal menstrual cycle. This cycle causes a follicle within one of the ovaries to ripen and an egg is released. Fingerlike tissues on the fallopian tube grasp the egg, and the tiny, hair like cilia inside the tube transport it toward the uterus, the lining of which is now spongy and well supplied with blood. If within twenty-four hours or so of being released, the egg is not fertilized, the uterine lining proceeds to "die", to be sloughed off, and to pass through the vagina during the menses.

Because endometriosis depends on hormonal cycles, and pregnancy temporarily interrupts those cycles, many women find their symptoms improve during pregnancy. The improvement may be permanent in some cases presumably because the break from cycles of growth, bleeding, and other cases, is only temporary, and once the hormonal cycles return to normal, the symptoms of endometriosis recur.

Cause of Endometriosis

Although the cause of endometriosis is unclear, some authorities argue that these endometrial cells wander out through the fallopian tubes. Others suggest that they are displaced through some sort of embryologic mix-up when an embryo is just forming its tissues. However, the fact is that endometriosis seems to be a disease of the twentieth century. It seems unlikely that earlier doctors would not have described the condition, given the severity of the pains and the association with monthly periods. We now know about xeno-estrogens and the fact that the tissues of the developing embryo are especially sensitive to the toxic effects of xeno-estrogens, therefore it is tempting to speculate that our petrochemical age has spawned diseases we've never know before - and that endometriosis is one of them.

Surgical attempts at removing every endometrial implant throughout the pelvis, is only temporarily successful. Mainstream treatment of endometriosis is difficult and not very successful. Many of the tiny islets are simply too small to see, and eventually they enlarge and the condition recurs. The removal of both ovaries, the uterus and the fallopian tubes, yet another surgical venture is even more radical. Here the aim being to remove or reduce hormone levels as much as possible is not a pleasant prospect.

Progesterone and Endometriosis

Dr. John Lee author of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause has treated a number of endometriosis patients with natural progesterone, some after failed surgery. He has observed considerable success. As estrogen initiates endometrial cell proliferation and the formation of blood vessel accumulation in the endometrium, the aim of treatment is to block this monthly estrogen stimulus to the aberrant endometrial islets. Dr. Lee's findings showed that progesterone stops further proliferation of endometrial cells. Over time (four to six months), the monthly pains gradually subside as monthly bleeding in these islets becomes less, and healing of the inflammatory sites occurs. This treatment does require patience. The monthly discomfort may not disappear entirely but becomes more tolerable. Since the alternatives are not all that successful and laden with undesirable consequences and side effects, this technique is surely worth giving a trial.

In combination with the Natural Progesterone using DIM, (Di Indoylmethane) an extract from cruciferous vegetables (Broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts) has also been shown to block the cascade into Estrone the strongest of the oestrogen group of hormones. This effectively reduces the stimulus to proliferate endometrial cells reducing blood loss with periods and the pain and inflammation associated with Endometriosis.

For effective control of Endometriosis nutritional supplements and dietary changes in combination with Progesterone therapy may also be necessary. Given the xeno-estrogens in our environment removal of toxins for the lifestyle, where possible, is essential.

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Lee John (1999) What your doctor may not tell you about Menopause/Peri-menopause
Northrup Christiane. (2010) Women’s bodies, women’s wisdom. New York, NY. Bantam Book