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Infertility & Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a leading cause of infertility among young women. Little is known about the cause. Many theories exist, but nothing has proven to be the direct cause. Rosemary Gladstar has an excellent section on endometriosis in her book Herbal Healing for Women.

Endometriosis is a "hyperestrogen" disease, produced by an over-secretion of estrogen which stimulates its growth. Reducing estrogen levels in the body and regulating hormone production is the specific goal in most natural therapies. To accomplish this the primary focus is on the liver and endocrine system.

Natural therapies include diet, herbs, vitamins, and stress reduction. Seek to balance the entire system. Rosemary warns it may take several months for noticeable changes to occur. You should make a commitment to work on your health program for at least 4 to 6 months. Balancing the body is a gradual thing and takes time. If you need immediate results consult with a gynecologist.

Vitamin E is a natural antagonist to estrogen, it helps to breakdown excess estrogen in the body. It normalizes hormone production and helps minimize the symptoms of endometriosis by limiting the adhesions caused by endometrial growth and by keeping scar tissue that does form soft and flexible. The recommended dosage for endometriosis symptoms is 400-800 IU daily.10

Don't underestimate the role that Diet plays on the health of the liver. Make a commitment to nourish yourself with wholesome natural organic foods. Avoid refined processed foods, sugar, alcohol and caffeine rich foods. All of which deplete the energy of the liver and limit its ability to function properly. Sugar and alcohol drain the body of the B vitamins that are essential to the health of the liver.

Caffeine not only robs the body of B vitamins but leeches calcium from the body, thus increasing risk for osteoporosis. Not to mention research is showing that a high caffeine intake is potentially harmful to the fetus during pregnancy. It crosses the placenta and because the developing fetus does not have the liver enzyme for detoxifying caffeine it stays in the fetus's body twice as long. And puts the mother at risk for delivering a low birth-weight baby or one that is stillborn, reports Brenda Eskenazi, Ph.D., of the University of California.11
Make an effort to focus on foods that are rich in B vitamins, protein and minerals.

Not only does the liver play a major role in hormone production, it is responsible for taking estrogen in its raw form (estradiol) and break it down to a safer form of estrogen called estriol. "A high ratio of estriol to estradiol not only limits the amount of endometrial tissue produced and decreases the painful symptoms of endometriosis, but also protects against breast and uterine cancer."11

Avoid foods that tend to raise estrogen levels such as wheat, citrus and yams, inorganic meats, dairy and eggs should also be avoided as animals are often treated with hormones, which can influence hormonal levels in your own body. Herbs that help to elevate estrogens should be avoided also, though most of these herbs tend to have a regulating effect on the hormones, and balance rather than raise estrogen levels.

Shitake mushrooms are a worthy addition to the diet as they inhibit abnormal tissue growth in the body, eat them several times a week. Use them as you would any other mushroom.

Other herbs for the liver and endocrine system.

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