What is it?? It is believed that Endometriosis develops when cells that line the uterus enter the abdomen by flowing 'backwards' during menses. The cells become abnormal and no longer act like 'normal' endometrial cells.
Here are some basic facts about endometriosis:
1. There is a very large genetic contribution to this disease. There is a 10 fold increased chance of having endometriosis if you have a first degree family member with it.
2. Nearly 9 million women in the U.S. are affected.
3. Symptoms can include painful and heavy periods, painful intercourse, pelvic pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, urinary symptoms, fatigue, and infertility
4. Women with endometriosis have a higher risk of developing autoimmune diseases
5. It is one of the most common causes of hysterectomies in the U.S.
Unfortunately, even a hysterectomy does not prevent endometriosis from coming back. That is because:
1. There is no way to extract every single endometriosis cell
2. Endometriosis cells make their own estrogen
3. Endometriosis cells grow their own blood vessels
4. Endometriosis cells are typically progesterone resistant
5. Endometriosis is fueled by intestinal inflammation (and its many causes), stress, diet, and hormonal status.
The treatment of Endometriosis has to be comprehensive and not include only oral contraceptives. Treatment must focus on: 1. Diet 2. Stress reduction 3. Hormone balance 4. Reduction of intestinal inflammation 5. Reduced exposure to Xenoestrogens