Endometriosis is a chronic hormonal and immunological condition that affects about one in ten people with periods – that’s about 1.5 million people in the U.S. alone.
As our founder explains in her book, Seeing Red, “It’s named after the endometrial tissue, which lines the uterus and is discarded in your monthly period, and then grows again. In endometriosis, some of this tissue grows outside your uterus—sometimes on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or the outside of your uterus. Because this tissue, like your uterine lining, responds to your changing hormones, it may also shed and bleed when you have your periods.”
“The ‘nodules,’ as they’re sometimes called, can cause (often intense) pain and infertility. They also create an elevated risk of developing a variety of other diseases, including some immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as heart disease, so there’s a lot of incentive to get to the root of the problem and address it.”1
Studies show that endometriosis may be linked to autoimmune diseases.2 This is an important consideration because when you are stressed, not eating well, exhausted, over or underexercising, or exposed to harmful chemicals in your environment, you may be triggering your immune system to be attacking your reproductive and internal organs.
Based on our founder’s clinical experience, we’ve seen that improving diet and lifestyle can make a huge difference in the rate of progression and severity. That means you have some control over how your condition presents itself and how you manage it.
On the other hand, if you don’t do anything about it, you can expect it to get worse and more painful since it is a progressive disorder. This is why you really don’t want to ignore or mask it.
Below you’ll find some modifications and self-care tips that have helped our founder’s patients improve the presentation and symptom management of their endometriosis.
Tips for Improving Endometriosis:
Eat a low-carb, high-healthy-fat diet with plenty of fiber.
Eat more liver-friendly foods, like kale, brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
Add the following anti-inflammatory spices to your diet: turmeric, ginger, milk thistle seeds, dandelion leaves, and ground flaxseed.
Avoid gluten, sugar, caffeine, dairy and alcohol – all of these can be inflammatory.
Get tested for other food sensitivities and avoid the foods that are problematic for your body.
Try taking N-acetylcysteine (NAC).In a 2013 study with 92 people with endometriosis, 26% of participants experienced a decrease in pain and a shrinking of endometriomas after taking 600 mg of NAC 3 times a day for 3 days each week.3
Increase your intake of vitamin B, C, and E.It’s best if you can get your nutrients via food, but supplementing with vitamins B, C, and E can help your body with oxidative stress and hormone metabolism, which can aid in decreasing endometriosis pain.
See an acupuncturistStudies have shown that acupuncture can improve blood flow, reduce inflammation, and decrease pain.4
Take Chinese herbsStudies have shown Chinese herbs to be more effective than some drug therapies in relieving pain and shrinking the endometrial masses.5 Ask a board-certified reproductive acupuncturist for herbs or try our Cramp Support Formula. (The Cramp Formula was developed by our founder, a reproductive acupuncturist, with help from a team of master herbalists.)
Use hot castor oil packs on your lower abdomen.If you’re dealing with endometriosis pain, try soaking a small towel in castor oil, placing a heating pad on top (protect it with a plastic bag!), and resting with your legs up for an hour.
Please note: the tips above are not meant to be cures and our advice isn’t meant to replace your doctor’s. Endometriosis is something that should be taken seriously. If you have it or think you may have it, talk to your doctor about it.
- Karchmer, Kirsten. Seeing Red The One Book Every Woman Needs to Read. Period. Tiller Press. November, 12, 2019
- Shigesi N., Kvaskoff M., Kirtley S., Feng Q., Fang H., Knight J.C., Missmer S.A., Rahmioglu N., Zondervan K.T., Becker C.M. The association between endometriosis and autoimmune diseases: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Hum. Reprod. Update. 2019;25:486–503. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmz014.
- Maria Grazia Porpora, Roberto Brunelli, Graziella Costa et al., “A Promise in the Treatment of Endometriosis: An Ob- servational Cohort Study on Ovarian Endometrioma Reduc- tion by N-Acetylcysteine,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2013)
- Ming Chen, Hua Zhang, Jing Li, and Gui-Rong Dong, “Clinical Observation on Acupuncture Combined with Acupoint Sticking Therapy for Treatment of Dysmenorrhea Caused by Endome- triosis,” Zhongguo Zhen Jiu [Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibus- tion] 30, no. 9 (September 2010): 725–28
- Andrew Flower, Jian Ping Liu, Sisi Chen et al., “Chinese Herbal Medicine for Endometriosis,” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, July 8, 2009