What You Need to Know About Endometriosis & Adenomyosis – Symptoms, Treatments & More

What You Need to Know About Endometriosis & Adenomyosis – Symptoms, Treatments & More

Endometriosis and adenomyosis are chronic gynaecological diseases affecting 11% and 20-35% of women respectively. Individuals with adenomyosis often have endometriosis, with features of the two conditions overlapping. Some women can be asymptomatic, as disease severity (the extent of endometrial lesions) does not correlate with the presence or severity of symptoms. This can make diagnosis challenging. It takes an average of 7.5 years from the first onset of symptoms for a woman to be diagnosed with endometriosis, which means a lot of women don’t receive early endometriosis treatment in Melbourne. Awareness of adenomyosis remains poor, and diagnostic delays are similar to that of endometriosis. Even after diagnosis and adenomyosis treatment in Melbourne via laparoscopic surgery, recurrence of both symptoms and disease remain high, with up to 45% of women readmitted for surgery within 5 years. Naturopathic management aims to lower presenting symptoms, prevent disease progression and extend recurrence times.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis occurs where tissue similar to the endometrium (lining of the uterus) grows outside of the uterus. This tissue proliferates in and around the pelvic region and attaches to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowel and bladder. Endometriosis can lead to cystic lesions called endometriomas, sometimes referred to as ‘chocolate cysts’.

What is Adenomyosis?

Adenomyosis occurs in the muscle layer of the uterine wall, and if concentrated in one area, it can lead to a mass called an adenomyoma. This can cause pain, heavy periods and fertility issues in some women.

What Causes These Conditions?

The causes of endometriosis and adenomyosis remain unclear, however, evidence strongly suggests that it is a combination of genetic, hormonal, inflammatory and immune factors. These factors can be further compounded by environmental and lifestyle stressors.

Symptoms of Endometriosis & Adenomyosis

The symptoms of these conditions can include:

  • Menstrual pain
  • Ovulation pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Nausea
  • Heavy menstruation
  • Periods lasting 7 days or more
  • Spotting mid-cycle or prior to menstruation
  • Unexplained infertility
  • Bloating or IBS symptoms
  • Urinary frequency (if bladder involvement)

Naturopathic Treatment

A naturopath will take a thorough case history to determine underlying factors and adopt an individualised treatment plan that incorporates herbal and nutritional medicine, as well as diet and lifestyle support. They will address current symptoms, provide menstrual pain treatment, optimise fertility potential and refer for further investigation when necessary, ultimately aiming to improve quality of life. Naturopaths incorporate strategies to lower inflammation and immune involvement whilst modulating hormone levels. Often an interdisciplinary approach to care may involve naturopaths, gynaecologists and pelvic health physiotherapists working together to enhance overall health outcomes.

General Dietary & Lifestyle Recommendations

  • Exercise i.e., yoga, Pilates and tai chi
  • Practice meditation and mindfulness
  • Identify and eliminate food allergens
  • Start liver support to enhance oestrogen clearance
  • Incorporate indole-3-carbinole foods i.e., broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale
  • Boost omega-3 essential fatty acids in the diet i.e., flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp oil and fish (such as salmon, mackerel, cod, herring and sardines)
  • Reduce proinflammatory foods i.e., dairy, gluten, red meat, caffeine and alcohol
  • Lower immune aggravating foods such as refined sugars and carbohydrates
  • Increase antioxidant foods i.e., spinach, carrots, pumpkin and broccoli
  • Optimise microflora colonisation by increasing prebiotic (found in whole grains, bananas, garlic and soy) and probiotic foods (found in fermented foods such as yoghurt and sauerkraut)
  • Avoid exogenous oestrogen sources and endocrine disrupting chemicals. Choose organic produce, use non-toxic personal care items and household cleaning products, and store food in glass, not plastic

Want to talk to someone about endometriosis and adenomyosis, or looking for adenomyosis or endometriosis treatment in Melbourne? Contact Melbourne Natural Medicine Clinic today to arrange a consultation at our clinic.

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