Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 menstruating women. There is a good chance that you know several women living with this disease who don’t even know about it due to the inaccuracy of standard testing. Having worked in a thyroid-focused natural health clinic for over 10 years, I have seen a strong link between thyroid health and Endometriosis and helped so many people improve their life with natural medicine.
Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that is similar to the tissue that lines the uterus (the endometrium) begins to grow outside the uterus. It is usually found in the pelvic region (ovaries, fallopian tubes, etc.) but can move to almost any region of the body.
Even though the tissue is not in the Uterus it still responds to messages from the Ovaries. This means that they get full during the month and then bleed when the woman has a period. Over time this can lead to inflammation, and scarring, and even cause organs to stick together (depending on the location of the tissue.)
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But you don’t have to have a uterus to have Endometriosis.
There are also rare cases where men and non-menstruating suffer as well, and these lesions have been observed in the abdominal wall and the genitourinary system, which includes the bladder and genitals, as well as in the ducts connecting them.
Regardless of who has this condition, as a functional health practitioner, the approach is actually very similar.
The Driving Causes Of Endometriosis
There are 3 key factors that are at play, and these need to be addressed to support the body to heal.
- Estrogen excess. Many people think that this is the main trigger to endometriosis, but it is not.
- Immune dysfunction. Thyroid autoimmunity has long been associated with endometriosis, and thyroid disorders are associated with more severe forms of endometriosis.
- Inflammation. Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease.
It is the combination of these 3 factors that fuel the growth of endometriosis.
Functional medicine uses a combined diet, lifestyle, and supplement approach to effectively address these concerns and bring the body back to balance.
There are definitely cases that warrant surgery, especially when the disease is advanced, but I must say that I have seen some amazing results in my clients who even cancelled surgery because they saw such improvements. There is no cookie-cutter approach to this success, it takes testing, identifying the triggers that are driving the immune and inflammation imbalance, and supporting better hormone health with diet, generally a food intolerance diet, and herbal medicines. When people try just incorporating one or two aspects they rarely get results, particularly with endometriosis. But for people ready to make the changes necessary, natural health solutions can be profound.
And lastly, I wanted to mention iodine! Despite our understanding of the many healing qualities of iodine in the body, there is still a general misunderstanding of the use and need of this nutrient.
Did you know that iodine has an anti-estrogenic effect in the body? Iodine is an aromatase inhibitor. Aromatase is an enzyme made in tissues all around the body and is responsible for turning female androgen and male testosterone into estrogen. It’s found in elevated amounts in disorders like uterine fibroids, endometriosis, uterine and breast cancer. So using an aromatase inhibitor in these conditions is a therapeutic tool in managing the endometriosis.
Iodine also helps to maintain the estrogen balance in favour of estriol – the healthy and protective estrogen.
Used in the right doses, with the correct nutritional cofactor or ‘friends’, iodine therapy can reduce nodule, cysts, lumpy breasts, fibroids, and goiter.