InVite? Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Amanda Williams, MPH
There are so many women who deal with chronic and debilitating pain. They may go on and on, year after year, dealing with this pain. Today, I want to talk a little bit about endometriosis, what it is, how common it is and different nutrients that may be beneficial.†
What is endometriosis?
It’s estimated that close to 10% of women have endometriosis. This is a really large number and incredibly problematic. It’s important to understand exactly what endometriosis is. It is when there is inflammation in the endometrium. What happens is that, when the cells in the uterine lining begin to grow outside the uterus, it can also begin to spread to other areas in the body where it does not belong. Most commonly, it’s going to spread to places like the ovaries and fallopian tubes.†
Endometriosis, which is this overgrowth of the endometrial cells, can also start to go to places like the bladder, bowels and rectum. There are even cases where they have found endometriosis in the lungs, brain and skin.†
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For any woman who has experienced incredible menstrual pain, they can attest that they just want it to go away. This is one of the most common symptoms that goes along with endometriosis. The pain actually gets worse through the years, so it becomes this chronic, long-term pain syndrome. For some women who have endometriosis, they can experience pain when they’re going to the bathroom or when they’re having sexual intercourse. There can be major issues when it comes to digestion, such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating and nausea. This becomes heightened during the menstrual cycle. We can also look at infertility, which is one of the main reasons endometriosis is diagnosed in the first place.†
The impacts of nutrition on this issue
We certainly understand a lot more about endometriosis and the impact that diet can have on contributing to or exacerbating this incredibly problematic condition. We certainly recognize that low omega-3 fatty acid intake, which is very common in the Standard American Diet, actually increases that risk. Studies have shown that women with endometriosis have lower levels of EPA comparative to things like arachidonic acid, which drives inflammation.†
We have to take a step back and talk about what we can do if we know we have endometriosis. First, we have to think about dietary and lifestyle considerations. We have to look at a strong adherence to the Mediterranean Diet with the higher consumption of high-antioxidant foods, along with foods that are going to help ease inflammation. We also want to look at making sure we’re staying physically active.†
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When it comes to other integrative or nutritional ways to target endometriosis, we have some really fabulous data out there that has shown us options to help, such as supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a real powerhouse when it comes to targeting endometriosis. Studies have indicated that when they give women NAC, they see a reduction in endometrial lesions, which is very impressive. Another nutrient that can be helpful is resveratrol, which has also been shown to help reduce the number of endometrial lesions that are found spreading throughout the uterine cavity. EGCG coming from green tea can also be beneficial.†
In this episode, Amanda Williams, MPH discusses endometriosis. She explains what this issue is and how common its, and also provides recommendations for nutrients that have been studied in the setting of this condition.†
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- Symptoms of endometriosis
- Are there specific risk factors for this condition?
- Studies on nutrition for endometriosis