Endometriosis from a Holistic Perspective
Endometriosis occurs when parts of the uterus lining, or endometrium, find their way outside the uterus and embed themselves in other tissue. They most commonly embed on the fallopian tubes, ovaries or the tissue lining the pelvis. As the endometrium thickens each month with hormonal changes, these cells also expand wherever they have embedded. When the period begins these cells cannot release their blood through the vagina and so bleed directly onto the surrounding organs and tissues.
Symptoms of endometriosis include bloating, irregular bowel habits, heavy and/or irregular bleeding, tiredness and pelvic pain during or after sex and during a period.
Kinesiology and Endometriosis
There are common mental/emotional and psycho-spiritual themes as well as nutritional and toxicity factors that are generally associated with the manifestation of Endometriosis. Kinesiology is a truly holistic therapy that explores subconscious areas of the brain to explore the root causes of dis-ease and assist the body to release stress and blockages in order to self-heal.
The following has been provided for information purposes only and should not replace a consultation with a professional health practitioner. I recommended booking in for a kinesiology session to explore more specifically the root causes of your experience and your unique treatment plan.
Pysiologically whats going on in my body?
The manifestations of all hormonal imbalances in the body including endometriosis, PCOS and irregular and painful periods can be all linked back to the same physiological processes in the body.
- Mismanaged blood sugar - The primary and most important function of the endocrine system is to transport glucose to your brain, muscles and heart. If this function of the endocrine system is not working properly then no other parts of your endocrine system will function according to plan either, including regulating your hormones.
- Overexertion of the adrenal glands - When chronic stressors keep you in a state of flight-fight reaction, that perpetual state of readiness can wreak havoc on your entire endocrine system and put you at risk of potentially deadly conditions such as heart disease and stroke. It can also cause insomnia, weight gain, fatigue, and challenge fertility and sex drive.
- Congestion through the pathways of elimination - Supporting organs of elimination help prevent the build up of hormones in your blood stream.
- A lifestyle that works against the patterns of your menstrual cycle - Synching to your menstrual cycle can help you to get a better understanding about whats going on in your body and your bodies needs to maintain a healthy balanced state.
- Separation from your feminine energy
Mind Body Analysis
In addition to physical factors, I have found in my kinesiology practice that there is a definite connection between endometriosis and unresolved emotional issues. There are a number of studies that demonstrate how stress directly exacerbates endometriosis manifestations and inflammatory parameters (Cuevas et al. 2012).
Endometriosis is the illness of competition. It manifests when a women’s innermost needs for creative expression, companionship and emotional support are in competition with her outer needs of success, autonomy and tribal approval. One Jungian analyst has referred to endometriosis as ‘a blood sacrifice to the Goddess’. Endometrioses can manifest when we reject or suppress our feminine nature, neglect our need for self-nurturance and lack connection with other women. We may be working hard in a male dominated career and feel the need to suppress our inner femininity in order to compete and be ‘successful’.
The uterus is related energetically to a women’s innermost sense of self and its state of health reflects her inner emotional reality. The health of the uterus is at risk if a woman does not believe in herself, is excessively self-critical or feels inadequate and unacceptable. We may be holding on to feelings of rejection from others, especially men.
There may also be a fear of transferring creativity after a women has given birth into producing something from her own inner desires.
Endometrisos is about learning to feel able, competent or powerful to create financial and emotional abundance and stability, and to express her femininity and creativity fully.
It is recommended to stop using conventional feminine hygiene products including both tampons and pads because of the following effects:
- Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) - This condition develops in the body when the common bacteria, Staphylococcus Aureus, produce a toxin which is absorbed into the bloodstream. The toxin rapidly overwhelms the immune system and attacks the major organs, leading to kidney failure, collapse of the lungs and in severe cases, cardiac arrest.
- Chemicals - Rayon is the main ingredient in generic tampons and pads. It’s a fiber that is made from cellulose fibers. Cellulose is a natural fiber but to produce Rayon chemical procedures are needed that include: carbon disulphide, sulphuric acid, chlorine and caustic soda. Side effects from exposure to too much Rayon can include: nausea, vomiting, chest pain, headaches and many others. Tampons and pads are also bleached using chlorine, which results in the production of dioxin, which is linked to breast cancer, endometriosis, immune system suppression and various other ailments.
- Tampons can cause infections - Tampon use causes micro lacerations (tiny wounds) every time you insert one and pull it out, leaving your vagina wall more exposed to any infection or disease.
- Tampons disturb the PH by absorbing moisture
- Tampons leave chemical residue in your vagina - Loose fibers are left behind in your uterus, which your body eventually flushes out but until then you have chemicals stored in your body and these can cause bladder, vaginal infections, and TSS. Some of the fibers might also get stuck in the cervix, which might cause uterine infection.
Healthy and efficient alternatives to feminine hygiene products include:
- Organic reusable cloth pads.
- Menstrual cups - these are flexible silicone or natural rubber menstrual cups that are inserted into the vagina and catch all of the menstrual fluid. Some brands I recommend include Diva Cup, The Keeper or Lunette.
MAKEUP AND PRODUCTS
A study in the United Kingdom found that women who use makeup absorb almost half a kilogram of chemicals into their bodies each year (Stokes, P 2007). Endocrine disruptors can be found in anything from nail polish, toothpaste, body wash, to hairspray and foundation. Avoid products with the following chemicals: Phthalate family (DBP, DEHP), sodium laurel sulphate (SLS) or sodium laurel ether sulphate (SLES), paragons (including methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl), anolamine family (DEA, TEA, MEA) or petrolatum.
TRACK YOUR MOON
Awareness of the four phases of your menstrual cycle including the Menstural Phase, Follicular Phase, Ovulation and Luteal Phase and the changes that happen in your body during these times can increase a women's understanding and connection to her body. Listening to your body during these phases is especially important. For example, the best thing to do during menstruation phase, especially the first day is to nurture oneself and rest as much as possible, and if you body asks for it then stay internalised, meditate and journal. If you deny the natural need to give self nurturance during this time then feelings of resentment, frustration and anger can build up in the body increasing tension and and stress and exacerbating symptoms such as pain and PMS.
If you have an iPhone then you can use the free applications IPeriod or MyMoontime to track your period. Or another option is to use a free menstrual cycle calendar online such as mymenstrualcalendar.com, fertilityfriend.com or Stawberrypal.com.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE PILL
Birth control Pills do not actually cure any of the conditions of hormonal imbalance. It simply alters hormone levels to diminish or eliminate the symptoms; the underlying hormonal problem persists. The longer a hormonal problem exists, the more complicated it is to treat. The Pill can affect many organs in your body including your ovaries, kidneys, liver, and heart. It impacts the quality of your blood. It changes your brain chemistry and alters the way your mind communicates with your body. It can have serious consequences for your physical health, moods, weight, libido, and personal relationships, and even your connection with yourself.
FOODS TO EAT
- Calcium and magnesium can reduce the severity of menstrual cramps (Proctor et al. 2001).
- Organic foods will reduce your exposure to substances that can affect your hormones (Cooney et al. 2010).
- Foods rich in Zinc such as mushrooms, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and green beans
- Increase your dietary intake of essential fatty acids such as flaxseed oil, hemp seel oil or evening primrose oil. This tends to reduce certain inflammatory processes associated with endometriosis (Proctor et al. 2001).
- B vitamins especially B6 which encourages production of progesterone to help rebalance the two main sex hormones (Proctor et al. 2001).
- It is important to nourish the body with these vitamins and minerals through a whole food diet as opposed to supplementation. Eat plenty seasonal and organic fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds to support healthy insulin metabolism and support overall hormonal balance. Especially cruciferous vegetables such as kale, collard greens, broccoli, cabbage and turnips (Parazzini et al. 2004, Armstrong, 1979).
- Foods containing ‘isoflavanoids’ in products such as tofu, tempeh and miso, and foods high in ‘lignans’ such as rye breads appear to help stabilise hormone levels.
FOODS TO AVOID
- Non-organic meats and dairy products that contain high level of saturated fat, growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, larvicides, herbicides and insecticides. These residues cause damaging effects on the reproductive and immune systems.
- Foods heated or stored in plastic containers contain xenoestrogens which can leak into the food causing hormone disruption (Cobellis et al. 2003).
- Avoid meat consumption. Studies show that periods become heavier and more painful when animal fat consumption rises (Parazzini et al. 2004; Bosetti et al., 2001). Decreasing fish, milk and meat in your diet will also decrease your exposure to dioxins which bio accumulate in animal fats. Studies show that exposure to dioxins are detrimental to the reproductive system (Porpora et al. 2009).
- Avoid dairy and wheat consumption. Dairy is loaded with estrogen interfering with the hormonal balance in the body. Casein (the indigestible portion of dairy) and gluten (the indigestible portion of wheat) elicit an inflammatory response in the small intestine, compromising ability of the body to absorb nutrients from food. Both wheat and dairy also slow the transit time in the large intestine leading to estrogen dominance as the body is not able able to clear the hormone out of your body fast enough.
- Avoid an excess of foods that stimulate the body including caffeine, coffee, chocolate, tea, alcohol, refined sugars and flours (Grodstein et al.1994; Missmer and Cramer 2003).
- Herbs aid in the healing of internal scar tissue or are useful in other ways for the reproductive cycle. There are many gently acting herbs that can be safely and effectively incorporated into your diet including dandelion root, red clover flower, chamomile, nettle, oatstraw, raspberry leaf and verbena. These can be taken on a daily basis – two to three cups of herbal tea a day.
- Other herbs such as black cohosh, chasteberry and wild yam can give symptomatic relief
- You can also use herbs in baths (make a bag of dried herb and put in the bath or use herbal/essential oils)
Willlow: For feeling you are a victim as a female. To give self empowerment.
She Oak: For hormonal imbalance to give energy to the ovaries and fertility.
“I am both powerful and desirable. It is wonderful to be a women, I love myself and I am fulfilled”
“I embody the divine Goddess within”
Rose quartz, Moonstone, Orange Aventurine
Pure essential oils
- Cypress – Creates sense of security and grounding. Benefits: Menstrual pain and ovarian cysts.
- Clary Sage – Balances yin and yang between stimulation and relaxation and the feminine and masculine aspects of self. Benefits: long history of use for female complaints, menstrual cramps, PMS, hormone imbalance and cell regulation
- Geranium – balances emotions, lifts spirit, fosters peace, well being and hope. Benefits: hormone imbalances and regeneration
The internal pelvic organs (ovaries, tubes and uterus) are related to the sacral chakra which represents the ability to create and to be given the space for this creation. The health of these organs depends upon a woman feeling able, competent or powerful to create financial and emotional abundance and stability, and to express her creativity fully. She must be able to feel good about herself and about her relationships with other people in her life.
Orange has an antispasmodic effect so use their colour over the pelvic area for relief of muscle spasms and cramps.
The meridians are energy pathways that run through the body, acting as a transportation system that supplies the physical and subtle bodies with vital energy. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine blockages in the Pericardium meridian are associated with reproductive issues such as endometriosis.
Neurovascular and neurolymphatic points
These points identify areas on the body that help stimulate the removal of toxins and blockages from the body and open up energy flow to the corresponding meridian and organs. The areas marked in blue are neuromuscular points and are stimulated by lightly touching/holding. The pink line represents the neurolympathic point and can be massaged.
(Hughes, E. 2012)
Reflexology is based on the principle that congestion or tension in any part of the foot mirrors congestion or tension in a corresponding part of the body. Massaging the following points can have a beneficial effect on corresponding glands: Ovaries, Pituitary and Uterus.
Click here to enlarge
Armstrong BK (1979) Diet and hormones in the epidemiology of breast and endometrial cancers. Nutr Cancer 1:90–95.
Bosetti C, Negri E, Franceschi S, Pelucchi C, Talamini R, Montella M, Conti E and La Vecchia C (2001) Diet and ovarian cancer risk: a case-control study in Italy. Int J Cancer 93:911–915.
Cobellis L, Latini G, De Fellice C, Razzi S, Paris O, Ruggieri F, Mazzeo P and Petraglia F (2003) High plasma concentrations of di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate in women with endometriosis. Hum Reprod. 18(7):1512-5
Cooney MA, Louse GMB, Hedier ML, Vexler A and Kostyniak PJ (2010) Organochlorine pesticides and endometriosis, Reprod Toxicol. 30(3): 365-369.
Cuevas M, Flores I, Thompson KJ, Ramos-Ortolaza DL, Torres-Reverson A and Appleyard CB (2012) Stress Exacerbates Endometriosis Manifestations and Inflammatory Parameters in an Animal Model. Reproductive Science 19(8): 851-862.
Grodstein F, Goldman MB and Cramer DW (1994) Infertility in women and moderate alcohol use. Am. J Publ Health 84:1429–1434.
Hughes, Elizabeth (2012) Your Body has the Answer - A Guide to Self-Testing with Kinesiology. Elizabeth Hughes, China.
Missmer SA and Cramer DW (2003) The epidemiology of endometriosis. Obstet Gynecol Clin N Am 30:1–19.
Parazzini F, Chiaffarion F, Surace M, Chatenoud L, Cipriani S, Chiantera V, Benzi G and Fedele L (2004) Selected food intake and risk of endometriosis. Human Reproduction 19(8): 1755-1759.
Porpora MG, Medda E, Abballe A, Boll S, De Angelis I, Domenico A, Ferro A, Ingelido AM, Maggi A, Panici P and Felip E (2009) Endometriosis and Organochlorinated Environmental Pollutants: A Case–Control Study on Italian Women of Reproductive Age. Environ Health Perspect. 117(7) 1070-1075.
Proctor ML and Murphy PA (2001) Herbal and dietary therapies for primary and secondary dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. (3):CD002124.
Stokes, Paul. (2007) Body Absorbs 5 lb. of Make-up Chemicals a Year. The Telegraph, Jun 21, 2007. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1555173/Body-absorbs–5lb-of-make-up-chemicals-a-year.html.