The incidence of fibroids and endometriosis are nearly epidemic in the USA. More than a half million American women have hysterectomies every year due to problems associated with fibroids and endometriosis. It is estimated that around 40% of American women 35 and older have fibroids and 10 to 20 percent of American women of childbearing age have endometriosis. Fortunately, there are choices you can make to help this condition.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a common gynaecological condition which can affect up to 15% of all women. Half of all women with endometriosis will be infertile. It is a condition where the lining of the womb implants and grows outside the womb itself. They can growth in the Fallopian tubes, pelvis, bowel bladder and even the nasal passages. The tissue bleeds every time there is a period, but in endometriosis the blood has no outlet and becomes trapped in the tissue causing pain, inflammation, cysts and scar tissue. It appears endometriosis is sensitive to oestrogen, so high oestrogen levels are linked to endometriosis. Common symptoms are pain during periods, painful sex (60% of all cases), heavy or irregular periods, back pain, nausea, fatigue, GI problems and infertility.
What are Fibroids?
Fibroids are non-cancerous growths in or on the muscular wall of womb and affects about 20% of women over age of 30. Symptoms are mainly heavy periods-due to surface of the womb being bigger, but no pain. Sometimes women experience frequent urination, constipation and even back ache, for some there is a risk of anaemia and infertility.
Risk Factors Associated with Endometriosis and Fibroids
Excess Levels of Estrogen / Deficient Progesterone: Excess estrogen causes abnormal tissue growth and is a direct cause of both fibroids and endometriosis for many women.
X-Rays: Any amount of radiation may increase the risk of fibroids. Many women actually develop these problems months after a mammogram.
Too Much Caffeine: A 2001 study published in Fertility and Sterility revealed that women who consume 500 milligrams of caffeine daily, which is the equivalent of 4-5 cups of coffee, produce 70% more estrogen in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle than women who consume less than 1 cup of coffee.
Meet: Research published in Obsetrics and Gynecology discovered that eating red meat doubles the risk of developing uterine fibroids. This is most likely due to the hormone injections and antibiotics given to conventional animals.
Oral Contraceptives: Statistics show that a large percentage of women who have these issues have taken the pill. Oral contraceptives can also aggravate fibroid problems and endometriosis for susceptible women.
Lifestyle Changes that can Help Endometriosis and Fibromyalgia.
Fiber – Increase the amount of fibrous foods in the diet to balance estrogen’s .
Lose Weight – Being obese increases the number of fat cells in the body, which produce more oestrogen increasing hormone levels.
Stress – stress can cause women to stop ovulating and hormonal issues.
Avoid alcohol – It is the job of the liver to break up oestrogen levels and excrete them, so excess alcohol is a burden to the liver .
Avoid Sugar and simple carbohydrates such as white bread – These foods cause inflammation, pain and swelling.
Avoiding smoking – this depletes micro-nutrients required for healthy hormone balance and the immune system.
Essential Fats – EFAs help to metabolize hard, clogging saturated fats that contribute to fibroid growths. EFAs also help maintain hormone balance and reduce inflammation- important.
Cruciferous veggies – These vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts and contain a natural antioxidant with powerful anti-tumor activity called Indole 3 carbinole. This improves estrogen metabolism and the body’s ability to eliminate excess estrogen.