Skip to main content

Endometriosis is a chronic and often painful condition affecting millions of women worldwide. The cause and solution have long challenged medical practitioners as well as patients. Many believe surgery is the only solution to chronic pelvic pain and other discouraging symptoms. We’re here to tell you that’s not the case. This article delves into potential contributing causes to endometriosis and offers The Wellness Way approach. It is possible to overcome endometriosis and restore hormonal balance and vitality.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic and often painful medical condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside the uterus. [1]

Usually, the endometrium thickens and sheds each month during the menstrual cycle, leading to menstruation. In women with endometriosis, this tissue can develop outside the uterus on other pelvic organs and tissues. It may attach to:

  • Ovaries
  • Fallopian tubes
  • The outer surface of the uterus
  • Bladder
  • The inside of the intestines

As endometrial tissue implants itself in these areas, it can cause inflammation and irritation. As a response to this inflammation, the body may try to repair the affected areas by laying down collagen, a fibrous protein that forms the basis of scar tissue. This process can result in the development of fibrosis or adhesions. Fibrosis is what often causes endometrial pain and other symptoms.

Symptoms of Endometriosis

Endometriosis can cause a wide range of symptoms, and the severity and type of symptoms can vary from person to person. Some individuals with endometriosis may experience mild symptoms, while others may have more severe and debilitating ones. Common symptoms of endometriosis include: [2]

  • Pelvic pain
  • Painful periods (dysmenorrhea)
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Painful ovulation
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Fatigue
  • “Endo belly” with digestive symptoms like bloating, cramping, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Infertility

It’s important to note that the severity of symptoms does not always correlate with the extent of endometriosis. Some women with extensive endometriosis have mild symptoms, while others with minimal endometriosis may experience severe pain.

How is Endometriosis Diagnosed?

Diagnosis typically involves a combination of clinical evaluation, imaging studies, and laparoscopy, a surgical procedure that allows direct visualization of endometrial implants and adhesions. [3]

The Fireman vs. The Carpenter in Healthcare

At The Wellness Way, we talk about the current medical system’s perspective on healthcare versus our perspective, as the “fireman approach” versus the “carpenter approach.”

The current medical system’s “fireman” doctors have two tools (treatment options) to take care of people: an axe and a hose. The axe represents cutting things out during a surgical procedure. The hose represents using medications to extinguish the “flames”: inflammation, pain, and other symptoms.

Wellness Way doctors are more like carpenters: They assess the body’s current state with testing and then create a personalized plan to rebuild using nutrients from foods and supplements. Sunshine, rest, and positive relationships are some common natural therapies that support the body in healing.

While these things are considered “complementary medicine” or “alternative medicine,” scientific research backs up their effectiveness in supporting the healing process.

The Current Medical System’s Approach to Endometriosis

Our current form of healthcare generally ties to alleviate pain and other symptoms while improving fertility in women of childbearing age.

Medications for Endometriosis

Medications for endometriosis aim to manage pain and improve fertility, and they can include: [4]

  • Pain Medications: Over the counter or prescription pain relievers are given to help manage pelvic pain and discomfort.
  • Hormonal Therapies: Birth control pills, hormonal IUDs, and other hormonal treatments can regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce pain by suppressing the growth of endometrial tissue.
  • (GnRH) agonists: Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs or agonists like leuprolide (Eligard) reduce the production of female hormones, helping with pain and other symptoms.
  • Progestin medications: Progestin is a synthetic progesterone. Drugs or devices containing progestin are also used for pain and other symptoms.

These pharmaceuticals may alleviate some discomfort by synthetically suppressing hormones and inflammation, but they all have side effects.

Surgeries for Endometriosis

If medications aren’t helpful, a doctor may recommend surgery. Surgical interventions, including laparoscopic surgery or a hysterectomy (removal of the entire uterus), may be recommended. [4]

  • Laparoscopic Surgery: Removing endometrial implants and adhesions can provide diagnostic and therapeutic benefits. In some cases, it may improve fertility.
  • Hysterectomy: In severe cases or when other treatments have been ineffective, a doctor may recommend a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) as a last resort. There may also be ovary removal in postmenopausal women.

However, not everyone wants to undergo surgery, and it isn’t always effective. There are also plenty of risks associated with these invasive procedures. For these and other reasons, many women seek out natural treatments or home remedies for endometriosis.

What Causes Endometriosis? Traumas, Toxins, and Thoughts

At The Wellness Way, we think differently! The most common causes of endometriosis fit into one or more of these categories: traumas, toxins, and thoughts. There’s rarely one root cause – Usually, it’s a combination of several factors, outlined below.

Traumas (Physical Stressors)

Traumas or physical stressors can be acute (like a car accident) or chronic (like being in a physically abusive relationship). Examples of traumas that could contribute to endometriosis include the following:

  • Physical abuse
  • Concussions
  • Abdominal injuries
  • Sexual assault/rape
  • Car accident
  • Severe illness or infection
  • Witnessing violence or a natural disaster
  • Military combat – PTSD
  • Having a baby
  • Surgery
  • A death in the family or a close friend

These physical traumas may set off a state of chronic stress within the body. The result may be hormone imbalance and endometriosis.

Toxins (Biochemical Stressors)

Toxins are biochemical stressors in the body. Examples of toxins that could contribute to endometriosis include:

  • Excess sugarExcessive sugar consumption causes inflammation and may lead to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for endometriosis. [5]
  • Environmental pollution – PCBs and dioxins are endocrine-disruptors known to contribute to endometriosis. [6][7]
  • Nickel toxicity – Women with endometriosis tend to have higher nickel levels in blood tests and endometrial tissue. [8] They’re also more likely to have skin reactions to nickel and may seek out nickel-free jewelry, for example. [9]
  • Medications – Certain pharmaceutical drugs, including birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, can lead to too much estrogen in the body, contributing to endometriosis. [10]
  • Plastic exposure – Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic chemical compound widely used in plastic manufacturing, including food containers, water bottles, and the lining of canned foods and beverages. BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical, meaning it can interfere with hormone regulation. Specifically, BPA can act as a xenoestrogen, binding to estrogen receptors and increasing estrogen activity. This imbalance may contribute to endometriosis. [11]
  • Alcohol consumption – Frequent alcohol consumption can contribute to estrogen dominance by impairing liver function, increasing the conversion of male hormones to estrogens, increasing abdominal fat, and more. Women who consumed over 25 grams of alcohol daily had higher levels of circulating estrogens. That translates to just over two drinks a day. [12]
  • Food allergies – Foods can act like toxins, causing inflammation and imbalance. [13]
  • Gut dysbiosis – Intestinal dysbiosis, imbalanced gut bacteria, may also contribute to estrogen dominance and an increased risk of endometriosis. Overgrowth of certain gut bacteria increases an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase. When this happens, estrogens recirculate instead of being eliminated. The result can be estrogen dominance. [14]

Traumas and toxins are made worse by negative thought patterns and emotional stress.

Thoughts (Emotional Stressors)

Don’t underestimate the power of your thoughts. Emotional stress is just as powerful (or more powerful) than physical and biochemical stressors in triggering inflammation and imbalance. When the stress hormone cortisol goes up, progesterone goes down, and you may be left with estrogen dominance and endometriosis. Emotional stress can come from the following:

  • Relationship issues – Relationships can turn toxic, leading to chronic stress. Prolonged stress can lead to dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which can, in turn, affect hormone levels, including progesterone and estrogen.
  • Financial stress – Again, stress and cortisol are linked to hormone imbalance.
  • Watching the news – The mainstream media rarely focuses on the positive. Regularly exposing yourself to bad news increases fear, worry, and overall stress.
  • Feeling overwhelmed – Stress from significant life changes, like a recent marriage, a new baby, graduation, a divorce, or even moving to a new city, can lead to high cortisol, low progesterone, and estrogen dominance.
  • Holding a grudge/pent-up anger – Holding a grudge creates stress in the body. Chronic stress may show up as inflammation, weight gain, and hormonal imbalance.
  • Grief/feelings of loss – Grief is another form of stress that may create imbalances in the body.

The cumulative effect of these traumas, toxins, and thoughts can create inflammation and increase the risk of dis-ease anywhere in the body.

The Wellness Way Approach to Hormone Imbalance and Endometriosis

At The Wellness Way, we dig deeper to solve the health challenges others can’t. We don’t just address symptoms; we run tests to find out what’s going on behind the scenes.

Essential Tests for Assessing Your Inflammation Levels and Hormone Health

Your Wellness Way doctor or health restoration coach will order more tests based on what he or she considers most relevant based on your health history.

Dietary Changes for Women with Endometriosis

First, focus on lowering inflammation in the body. That means avoiding food allergies and following a personalized nutrition program, as the Wellness Way clinic recommends. Here are some general dietary guidelines for women with endometriosis:

  • Reduce sugar and processed foods – Both increase inflammation and cortisol. They can also lead to gut dysbiosis, potentially causing estrogens to go up by increasing beta-glucuronidase.
  • Gluten-free, mostly grain-free – Gluten is known to aggravate the gut lining, contributing to chronic inflammation in the gut and throughout the body. An Italian study found following a gluten-free diet improved endometriosis pain in 75% of participants. All women in the study reported a better quality of life (mood, energy levels, etc.) [15]
  • Consume an overall low carbohydrate, non-inflammatory diet of organic whole foods, which supply nutrients, antioxidants, and food for a healthy gut microbiome. A Mediterranean diet, for example, improved endometriosis symptoms in a 2012 study. [16]
  • No cow’s milk dairy products – Goat and sheep’s milk products may be better tolerated. In fact, they may even be beneficial for lowering inflammation in the gut, which makes up a large part of the inflammatory response. [17]
  • Avoid high omega-6 vegetable oils, like corn, canola, soybean, cottonseed oil, sunflower, grapeseed, and others, which can alter the omega-6 to omega-3 balance to be more inflammatory. [18] Instead, use fruit oils like olive, coconut, avocado, and palm oil or animal fats like beef tallow, bacon grease, and duck fat.
  • Eat omega-3-rich foods – Wild-caught salmon, herring, sardines, walnuts, and ground flaxseeds provide omega-3s and help lower inflammation. [19]
  • Follow a Personalized Nutrition Program based on your food allergy test results.
  • Add specific nutrient-dense foods: Add Liver/organ meats, sauerkraut, and microgreens for enhanced nutrition. Liver is nature’s multivitamin, according to Dr. Flynn.
  • Focus on antioxidants – Including things like turmeric, green tea, berries, dark chocolate, and other botanicals high in polyphenols support the gut and keep inflammation under control. [20][21]

A healthy diet can reduce inflammation, but supplements can support gut healing and hormone balance.

Supplements For Women with Endometriosis

A healthy diet reduces inflammation, but natural remedies like herbs and supplements can support proper hormone levels. Here are some herbs and supplements that may balance out estrogen and bring you closer to hormone balance:

  • Green tea extract– Green tea, with its key bioflavonoid epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), may shrink endometrial lesions, according to a 2021 review. [22]
  • Chaste Tree – Chaste tree (also known as chasteberry or vitex) increases progesterone levels, which can help balance out estrogen levels. Ultimately, it can help reduce the growth and number of endometrial cells. [23]
  • Passionflower– Passionflower has a compound called chrysin, a flavonoid that reduces inflammation and improves ovarian function. [24] Chrysin may also promote the conversion of estradiol (a potent estrogen) into estrone (a weaker estrogen), reducing overall estrogenic activity in the body. [25]
  • Resveratrol or Japanese Knotweed helps prevent estrone from heading into a dangerous form of estrogen called 4-Hydroxyestrone (4-OHE1), which may aggravate endometriosis symptoms. [26]
  • Turmeric– Curcumin is the main active constituent in turmeric, known for its anti-inflammatory effects. Curcumin may improve endometriosis by lowering inflammation and breaking down endometrial adhesions and lesions. [27]
  • Boswellia – Boswellia is also known as Indian Frankincense. It’s a tree resin known for its anti-inflammatory properties. A 2023 animal study found Boswellia reduced endometrial adhesions. It may also help with pain symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory effects. [28]
  • Calcium D-Glucarate – Supplementing with calcium-D-glucarate has been shown to inhibit beta-glucuronidase, reducing the recirculation of estrogens. Reducing estrogens may also reduce the risk of endometriosis. [29]
  • DIM (Diindolylmethane) – DIM is a compound in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. In studies, DIM reduces circulating estrogen, potentially lowering the risk of developing estrogen dominance and endometriosis. [30]
  • Vitamin D – Getting enough vitamin D may reduce your risk of endometriosis. [31] However, the jury is out on whether supplementing with it is helpful. [32]
  • NAC (N-acetylcysteine) – In an Italian study, NAC improved ovarian endometriosis in those partaking in the study. [33]
  • Fish Oil – Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil may also decrease the risk of having endometriosis. [34]

Each person is different – herbal medicines that work for one individual may not work for another. Part of that is due to body chemistry, including genetics and allergenic responses, and part is due to differences in the contributing factors to endometriosis.

Lifestyle Changes & Complementary Therapies

These lifestyle changes and therapies are helpful for women’s health in general and may help reduce endometriosis-related pain and other symptoms.

  • Weight loss – Fat cells make more estrogen and increase endometriosis risk. [35]
  • Regular chiropractic care – If your posture is poor and your nervous system is affected, it can create stress and inflammation, affecting hormone balance.
  • Acupuncture – Acupuncture may also support proper levels of estrogens and progesterone. [36]
  • Yoga – Practicing yoga may also help. A study of 15 women with endometriosis found that doing yoga twice weekly provided pain relief. [37] A 2021 Brazilian study also found reduced pain and increased quality of life with yoga twice weekly. [38]

Be a well-informed patient! Here are some resources for learning more about inflammation, hormones, and endometriosis.

Educational Resources for Endometriosis

Videos & Webinars Related to Endometriosis

Endometriosis | Instant Info
Back To School & Endometriosis | The DPF Show | Episode 60
PCOS, Endometriosis, Circumcision | The DPF Show | Episode 69
Estrogen Part 1 | A Different Perspective | Episode 132
Estrogen Part 2 | A Different Perspective | Episode 133
Estradiol | Living Hormoniously

Articles to Support Women with Endometriosis

They Said She Couldn’t Have Children: He Disagreed and Wrote a Book
Endometriosis is NOT Genetic – Dr. Patrick Flynn
How Do You Know if Your Hormones Are Messed Up?
Estrogen Dominance: Is This Imbalance Behind Your Hormone Problems?
Is Your Uterus Happy? 5 Steps to a Happy, Healthy Uterus

CONNECT WITH US

We invite you to connect with us! Find an event at a clinic near you! Follow us on social media. Tune in to A Different Perspective each Saturday morning LIVE to get cutting-edge training directly from Dr. Patrick Flynn. Please set up a no-obligation health consult with one of our doctors today. The best is yet to come! Think differently – and THRIVE. To learn how best to overcome endometriosis and other chronic complaints, contact a Wellness Way clinic today.

References:

  1. Endometriosis (who.int)
  2. What are the symptoms of endometriosis? | NICHD – Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (nih.gov)
  3. Endometriosis – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic
  4. Treatment options for endometriosis – InformedHealth.org – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)
  5. Association between endometriosis and metabolic syndrome: a cross-sectional study based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data – PubMed (nih.gov)
  6. Environmental dioxins and endometriosis – PubMed (nih.gov)
  7. Polychlorinated biphenyls and its potential role in endometriosis – PubMed (nih.gov)
  8. Elevated levels of whole blood nickel in a group of Sri Lankan women with endometriosis: a case control study – PubMed (nih.gov)
  9. High rate of nickel allergy in women with endometriosis: a 3-year population-based study – PubMed (nih.gov)
  10. High Estrogen: Causes, Symptoms, Dominance & Treatment (clevelandclinic.org)
  11. Bisphenol A: an endocrine disruptor with widespread exposure and multiple effects – PubMed (nih.gov)
  12. Alcohol and breast cancer – PMC (nih.gov)
  13. Food Allergies: The Basics – PMC (nih.gov)
  14. Estrogen-gut microbiome axis: Physiological and clinical implications – PubMed (nih.gov)
  15. Gluten-free diet: a new strategy for management of painful endometriosis related symptoms? – PubMed (nih.gov)
  16. Effectiveness of Dietary Interventions in the Treatment of Endometriosis: a Systematic Review – PMC (nih.gov)
  17. Reviewing the Benefits of Grazing/Browsing Semiarid Rangeland Feed Resources and the Transference of Bioactivity and Pro-Healthy Properties to Goat Milk and Cheese: Obesity, Insulin Resistance, Inflammation and Hepatic Steatosis Prevention – PubMed (nih.gov)
  18. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids – PubMed (nih.gov)
  19. Omega-3 Fatty Acids And Inflammation – You Are What You Eat! – PubMed (nih.gov)
  20. The Immunomodulatory and Anti-Inflammatory Role of Polyphenols – PubMed (nih.gov)
  21. The effects of polyphenols and other bioactives on human health – PubMed (nih.gov)
  22. Molecules | Free Full-Text | Beneficial Effects of Green Tea Catechins on Female Reproductive Disorders: A Review (mdpi.com)
  23. [The efficacy of the complex medication Phyto-Hypophyson L in female, hormone-related sterility. A randomized, placebo-controlled clinical double-blind study] – PubMed (nih.gov)
  24. Chrysin reduces inflammation and oxidative stress and improves ovarian function in D-gal-induced premature ovarian failure – PubMed (nih.gov)
  25. Inhibitory effect of chrysin on estrogen biosynthesis by suppression of enzyme aromatase (CYP19): A systematic review – PMC (nih.gov)
  26. A pilot clinical study of resveratrol in postmenopausal women with high body mass index: effects on systemic sex steroid hormones | Journal of Translational Medicine | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)
  27. Curcumin treats endometriosis in mice by the HIF signaling pathway – PubMed (nih.gov)
  28. Frankincense ameliorates endometriosis via inducing apoptosis and reducing adhesion – PubMed (nih.gov)
  29. Calcium-D-glucarate – PubMed (nih.gov)
  30. 3,3′-Diindolylmethane Modulates Estrogen Metabolism in Patients with Thyroid Proliferative Disease: A Pilot Study – PMC (nih.gov)
  31. Vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for endometriosis in Iranian women – PubMed (nih.gov)
  32. Association between vitamin D and endometriosis: a systematic review – PubMed (nih.gov)
  33. A Promise in the Treatment of Endometriosis: An Observational Cohort Study on Ovarian Endometrioma Reduction by N-Acetylcysteine – PMC (nih.gov)
  34. Serum Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Endometriosis – PubMed (nih.gov)
  35. Obesity, estrogens and adipose tissue dysfunction – implications for pulmonary arterial hypertension – Kirsty M. Mair, Rosemary Gaw, Margaret R. MacLean, 2020 (sagepub.com)
  36. A Literature Review of Women’s Sex Hormone Changes by Acupuncture Treatment: Analysis of Human and Animal Studies – PubMed (nih.gov)
  37. A Qualitative Study on the Practice of Yoga for Women with Pain-Associated Endometriosis | The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (liebertpub.com)
  38. The Practice of Hatha Yoga for the Treatment of Pain Associated with Endometriosis – PubMed (nih.gov)

STAY CONNECTED TO WELLNESS

Subscribe to our newsletter for health tips & updates.

+30k
Join the community

Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your Wellness Way clinic or personal physician, especially if currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Pregnant women, in particular, should seek the advice of a physician before trying any herb or supplement listed on this website. Always speak with your individual clinic before adding any medication, herb, or nutritional supplement to your health protocol. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Leave a Reply