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ENDOMETRIOSIS

What You Need To Know
WHAT IS ENDOMETRIOSIS?

Endometriosis is a chronic condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus, called the endometrium, grows outside the uterus. This displaced tissue can attach to various organs in the pelvic cavity, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the lining of the pelvis.

Endometriosis can affect fertility, but not all individuals with endometriosis experience infertility. Fertility treatments, such as assisted reproductive technologies (ART) or surgery, may be considered for those trying to conceive.

Endometriosis affects millions of people worldwide, primarily women of reproductive age.

DIAGNOSIS

The diagnosis of endometriosis typically involves a combination of medical history, pelvic examination, imaging tests (such as ultrasound), and laparoscopy—a surgical procedure to visualise and biopsy the abnormal tissue.

Laparoscopy is the most definitive way to diagnose endometriosis.

CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT FOR ENDOMETRIOSIS

treatment options for endometriosis aim to manage symptoms, reduce inflammation, and improve quality of life. They can include:

  • Pain medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers (e.g., nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may help alleviate pain symptoms.

  • Hormonal therapy: Hormonal medications, such as birth control pills, progestins, or gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, can help suppress endometrial tissue growth and reduce pain.

  • Surgical intervention: In cases of severe pain or infertility, laparoscopic surgery may be performed to remove endometrial implants, scar tissue, or cysts.

THE AUTOIMMUNE-ENDOMETRIOSIS CONNECTION

The understanding of endometriosis has evolved over time, and new approaches to treatment are being explored.

While surgical intervention and hormonal suppression have been commonly used in the clinical management of endometriosis, there is increasing interest in anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating treatments.

Several studies have investigated the potential association between endometriosis and autoimmunity.

The 2012 paper titled "Is there an association between autoimmunity and endometriosis?" reviewed the available literature and suggested that endometriosis fulfills some of the criteria for classification as an autoimmune disease. The paper discussed the presence of inflammatory cytokines in the blood and tissue-specific autoantibodies in endometriosis. It also noted the co-occurrence of endometriosis with other autoimmune conditions like autoimmune thyroid disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

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SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
  • Pelvic pain: Pelvic pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis. The pain can be experienced as chronic pelvic pain, severe menstrual cramps, or pain during or after sexual intercourse. The pain may also occur outside of menstruation.

  • Painful periods: The pain may be more intense than typical menstrual cramps and can interfere with daily activities.

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding

  • Infertility or difficulty conceiving: Endometriosis can affect fertility in some individuals. It can lead to the formation of scar tissue, inflammation, and structural abnormalities that can interfere with the fertilisation of the egg or implantation of the embryo.

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms: such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and pain during bowel movements.

  • Fatigue and exhaustion: Many individuals with endometriosis experience fatigue and exhaustion, potentially due to the chronic pain, hormonal imbalances, and inflammatory response associated with the condition.

  • Urinary symptoms: Endometriosis can affect the urinary system, leading to symptoms such as frequent urination, urgency, pain during urination, or blood in the urine.

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CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH
ENDOMETRIOSIS

Endometriosis has been associated with several other conditions and health concerns. Here are some conditions commonly associated with endometriosis:

  • AUTOIMMUNE CONDITIONS: There are associations between endometriosis and certain autoimmune conditions, such as autoimmune thyroid disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

  • INFERTILITY: Endometriosis can affect fertility and is often associated with difficulties in conceiving. The presence of endometrial implants and scar tissue can interfere with the fertilization of eggs or implantation of embryos

  • ADENOMYOSIS: Adenomyosis is a condition in which the endometrium grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. It is frequently found coexisting with endometriosis, and both conditions share similar symptoms such as pelvic pain and heavy menstrual bleeding.

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  • IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS): There is a higher prevalence of IBS symptoms in individuals with endometriosis compared to the general population. Abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits can be experienced by those with both conditions.

  • CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME (CFS): Endometriosis has been associated with an increased risk of chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition characterised by persistent fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive impairment.

  • FIBROMYALGIA: Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder, has been found to be more prevalent in individuals with endometriosis.

HOW WE CAN HELP YOU

A Functional Medicine Approach to Endometriosis

Our approach to endometriosis focuses on addressing the underlying factors as well as associated co-morbidities that contribute to the condition and aims to support overall health and well-being. While individualised treatment is essential, here are some key principles that may be considered:

  • HORMONE BALANCE: Endometriosis is influenced by hormonal imbalances. We may involve assessing and supporting hormonal balance through dietary modifications, targeted supplementation, and lifestyle changes. Balancing estrogen levels, reducing inflammation, and supporting healthy hormone metabolism may be a focus.

  • ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET: Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce inflammation and support immune function. Emphasing whole, nutrient-dense foods while reducing or eliminating processed foods, sugar, and potential inflammatory triggers may be recommended.

  • GUT HEALTH SUPPORT: Addressing gut health is important in our approach. Optimising gut health through a balanced and diverse diet, reducing gut inflammation, and addressing gut dysbiosis or imbalances may help reduce overall inflammation and support immune system balance.

 

  • NUTRIENT SUPPORT: Identifying and addressing nutrient deficiencies is crucial for supporting overall health and managing endometriosis. Certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins like vitamin D and B vitamins, may be recommended based on individual needs. Nutritional supplementation or dietary changes can help optimise nutrient status.

  • STRESS MANAGEMENT: Chronic stress can exacerbate symptoms of endometriosis. Implementing stress management techniques such as mindfulness practices, relaxation exercises, and stress reduction strategies can help support emotional well-being and hormone regulation.

  • DETOXIFICATION SUPPORT: Supporting natural detoxification processes can help eliminate excess estrogen and reduce overall toxic burden. This can involve reducing exposure to environmental toxins, supporting liver function, and incorporating detoxifying foods and herbs.

 

  • IMPROVING SLEEP: Prioritising good sleep hygiene and addressing sleep disturbances is important for immune system regulation and overall health.​​

To take a proactive role in managing your health, we encourage you to reach out to our team. We have extensive experience assisting individuals with conditions such as endometriosis and are dedicated to helping you improve your symptoms and overall well-being.

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH US TODAY. 

 

 We offer a range of appointments in-person or online. 
You will receive the same service and expertise from us through our virtual, online clinic, just as you would if you visited us at our London clinic.

To discuss how we can assist you, call us on 020 3886 1339, or email us at  hello@autoimmunecliniclondon.com.

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