(Excerpt form my first book ‘Elixir: How To Use Food As Medicine’.)
‘Once thought to affect only women over 30 years of age who hadn’t had children, we now know endometriosis can occur in women of any age at any time after the onset of menstruation.
It is thought to affect about 10 to 20 per cent of all women, but this estimate is likely to be higher. Women most affected may have menstrual cycles that are regularly shorter than 27 days. It also seems to be genetic—mums are likely to pass it on.
Affected women were once advised to ‘have a baby’ or ‘a hysterectomy’. Both suggestions to a young girl seem ludicrous to me. I was diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 18, but I am certain I had it from the time of my first menses. (I’m sure my mother and paternal aunty had it too, but in those days they didn’t have a name for it.
Some women with endometriosis may be symptom-free but others experience a range of symptoms, including:
• pain in the uterus, lower back and pelvis
• pain before and during menstruation
• painful intercourse• breakthrough bleeding
• bleeding with intercourse
• intermittent pain throughout the cycle
• large clots during menstruation
• nausea, vomiting and/or constipation during menstruation
• mood swings and/or depression
• iron deficiency due to a heavy flow.
Herbs to take
• dang gui is often taken alone in the East for menstrual difficulties (in the West we use Angelica archangelica as a substitute)
• Vitex agnus-castus (chaste tree) is important here, as it will regulate your cycle and balance your hormones
• Ginkgo biloba increases and stimulates circulation to the reproductive organs; it will also help with scar tissue
• turmeric is a good anti-inflammatory, liver tonic and oestrogenic
• calendula helps to keep lymphatics in good order, which seems to be a problem with endo• golden seal is good for reducing inflammation in mucous membranes
• chen pi (mandarin peel) is great for improving digestion and reducing ‘damp’ conditions
• St John’s wort is a good antidepressant and anti-inflammatory; it also helps with related sciatica’
Endo’ is a debiltating, complex and very painful condition that greatly affects your fertility (and weight and mental state). You’ll need a (invasive and expensive) laparoscopy to be properly diagnosed, but thats not always necessary or advisable. See, an experienced Naturopath to treat Endo’ using herbs, supplements, diet and lifestyle changes.