Deciding to have a baby is a big step for anybody, but what happens when you have been diagnosed with Endometriosis? In the past, Endometriosis has certainly been a culprit for decreased fertility rates. It causes unnecessary stress and strain on a couple trying to fall pregnant. But today, it doesn’t have to be a baby deal breaker.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis happens when the lining cells (called the endometrium) of the uterus grow outside of it. Often it is found on and around the pelvic and abdominal organs, including the ovaries, and may even cause blockages to the fallopian tubes.
Signs and symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Painful periods, lasting a day or two throughout the period, usually starting on day 1
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea associated with the pain
- Spotting before or in between periods
- Increased frequency of the need to urinate
- Painful sex, especially on deep penetration
- Labor-like pains and backaches before and during your period
- Change in bowel movements when you have your period eg becoming constipated or suffering diarrhea
- Fainting associated with cramping
- Infertility and miscarriage
Some people have no symptoms and it is discovered during surgery, or after not falling pregnant (infertility).
With the right assistance, though, Endometriosis is treatable, and pregnancy is possible.
6 Things To Consider When “Trying” With Endo
1. Hormone Balance
It’s important to seek out a practitioner who is an expert in this area. To rebalance hormones naturally, you will generally require functional pathology testing to assess hormone levels and ratios; gut repair; natural hormone stimulating or detoxifying supplements (increasing progesterone and clearing out oestrogen is common practice for endo sufferers); liver assistance for optimal sex hormone detoxification, and proper diet advice. It may sound like a lot of work, but for someone who specialises in this area, it is common protocol and can take as little as four weeks to see a difference in your menstruation and health, and even have you pregnant!
For women suffering endo, exercise can be very beneficial to increase circulation and improve stagnant blood in the pelvic area—which may be one contributing factor for pain during menstruation. While seriously intense exercise may result in an increase in ovulation pain or period pain, gentle exercise such as walking, swimming, and Pilates are all highly recommended to get the blood flowing and boost your happy endorphin hormones too.
An impaired thyroid has been linked to sex hormone imbalances and affects everything from metabolism, temperature, energy levels, sleep and mood stability to gut health and hormone production. Request the full test including Free T3, Free T4, autoimmune markers and Reverse T3, as well as TSH readings. Some GPs will not have heard of these, or won’t request them if your TSH reading is in the normal range, and so your nutritionist should have access to a functional pathologist who will do these tests for a cost.
A normal TSH reading may be false from an abnormal Reverse T3 reading (which we won’t know unless you have it tested!). An easy test you can do at home is a basal temperature test. Take your temperature first thing in the morning before getting out of bed for three to five consecutive days when you’re not menstruating. If your temperature readings are below 36.5 degrees, it is indicative of low thyroid function (hypothyroidism or sub-clinical hypothyroidism). Seek out a qualified practitioner to assist you back to optimum health, naturally.
An endo diet is important to remove any endocrine (reproduction) disruptors such as hormones and pesticides found in non-organic dairy, meats and grains. A high fibre, predominantly vegetarian, gluten free and refined sugar free diet with high Omega 3s (including oily fish, flaxseed, chia seed, walnuts) is imperative to reduce inflammation and therefore reduce the incidence of endometrial tissue growth. A Registered Nutritionist or an Accredited Practicing Dietitian specialising in this area can review your diet and tailor individual advice for your body.
Clean up your surroundings. Remove plastic food storage containers and drink bottles and swap to glass, swap all cleaning products to natural varieties, use organic tampons and pads such as Toms Organics and swap to natural deodorants and moisturisers. All of these products contain chemicals that have the potential to disrupt our delicate hormone balance, so keeping things as natural you as you can in your home and surroundings will give you the best chance of reducing your endometriosis and therefore increasing your pregnancy chances.
6. Qualified Advice
I can’t express strongly enough the need to seek professional help from accredited health practitioners who specialise in this area. This way you will be on the right track from the start, ensuring optimum fertility and higher chances of conceiving naturally, sooner!
To chat more, please book a consult with me, Pip Reed at www.thehealthclinic.com.au to discuss the right treatment for you.
Words by Certified Nutritionist, Pip Reed