Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial tissue breaks off and grows outside the uterus, such as in the abdominal cavity, fallopian tubes, the ovaries or behind the uterus.

Endometriosis can cause pain, heavy periods or abnormal bleeding patterns. It is also a common cause of infertility.

What causes it?

The cause of the disease is not clear, though hormone imbalance (such as an oestrogen to progesterone ratio imbalance), inflammation and immune dysfunction are all contributing factors. Some even consider it to be an autoimmune disease. A comprehensive case history is required to determine the underlying causes for each individual.

What can we do to treat it?

Herbal medicine is a great tool for the symptomatic relief of the symptoms of endometriosis such as heavy bleeding and period pain.

Herbs can assist by improving lymphatic drainage, assisting tissue repair, promoting circulation, as anti-inflammatories and antispasmodics, to relieve pain and possibly by normalising the oestrogen/progesterone balance.

However, a thorough analysis of the patient may give a more comprehensive understanding of the contributing factors to the condition and enable the practitioner to work with the client to correct underlying causes.

This may involve assessment of:

  • Gut health: for underlying immune issues, food sensitivities and the source of nutrient deficiencies.
  • Endocrine health: cortisol and thyroid hormone levels as well as female reproductive hormones.
  • Risk factors: such as family history, obesity, exposure to toxins, and lack of exercise
  • Nutrient deficiencies: such as magnesium, essential fatty acids, zinc
  • Toxicity levels and detoxifcation capacity: functional testing can provide insight here
  • Reproductive cycle: irregular menstrual cycles may reflect hormone imbalances
  • Emotional issues: stress and other factors can exacerbate this condition