Can Endometriosis cause Digestive Symptoms?
Extreme bloating, nausea, gas, painful bowel movements, constipation and diarrhoea.
These sound like the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
But these are actually some of the most common symptoms of Endometriosis.
Women with endometriosis will be all too familiar with ‘Endo Belly’. The often distressing symptoms of extreme bloating and abdominal distention.
Many women claim they feel and look 6 months pregnant as a result of their Endo Belly.
So what is the link between endometriosis and digestive disturbances?
The fact is, we are still finding out.
In science, it is being called a ‘Bidirectional Interaction’.
Which means we have a ‘chicken and the egg’ type of situation.
Does endometriosis cause digestive symptoms?
Or are the digestive symptoms pointing to something that is causing the endometriosis?
To be honest, its a bit of both.
So how can we address the endometriosis AND the digestive symptoms?
By looking at two areas of the body that are implicated in both.
Your MICROBIOME and your LIVER.
You have a microbiome. Did you know?
Your microbiome is the bacteria, both good and bad, that exists in your body. Largely in your digestive tract, but in plenty of other places around your body too.
It’s kind of like a garden. There are all types of bacteria growing in it. Some beneficial, some not so much. What you eat and how you live determines what you’ve got growing in your tummy-garden.
So how does your garden grow?
The latest research is showing the role gut bacteria plays in our health. Our microbiome is being implicated in everything. From mood, skin and hormones to immunity and chronic disease.
Did you know that you can predict if a woman has endometriosis by what type of bacteria she has in her gut?
A 2019 review found that women with endometriosis were more likely to have increased numbers of ‘bad’ bacteria than women without. ‘Bad’ bacteria such as Salmonella, Streptococcus and E. coli.
Do you know what else these bacteria are associated with?
Extreme bloating, nausea, gas, painful bowel movements, constipation and diarrhoea!
The good news is that your microbiome is as dynamic as you are. Its constantly changing, and we can support a healthy change in it occupants.
By supporting a healthy microbiome we change the symptoms and outcomes for Endometriosis.
-Enjoy a wide variety of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables
-Include prebiotic and fermented foods in your diet. Start small if you’ve never tried these before.
-Limit the use of antibiotics to only when necessary (these wipe out the bad and good bacteria!)
-Establish your needs for a probiotic (good bacteria in a capsule) with your naturopath.
So once your microbiome is flourishing, where else can we support you?
Your liver is one of the busiest organs in your body. It wears many hats.
One of these hats is to support digestion.
This is through the release of bile into your gastrointestinal tract. The bile helps us breakdown our food, making things easier to digest and absorb.
A more efficient digestive system means less indigestion, bloating, pain, constipation and diarrhoea.
So what does the liver have to do with Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition of excess oestrogen (among other things).
Oestrogen, as most will know, is a hormone in our body. It’s main action is to promote growth.
For many women (and some men) there is an excess of oestrogen in the body.
Another hat the liver wears is that of removalist. It removes toxins, waste products and hormones from the blood. Your liver plays the most important role in removing excess oestrogen from the body.
If your liver has a lot on it’s plate (pardon the pun) its roles will not be carried out efficiently or effectively. Making both your endometriosis and your digestion worse.
There are many reasons your liver might be feeling overworked.
-A diet high in processed and refined foods
-A diet low in wholefoods, fruits and vegetables
-Medications and unsuitable supplements
-Acute or chronic infections
-Poor or slow digestion/constipation
-Diagnosed medical conditions
These factors (and more) can contribute to an overburdened liver.
In naturopathy we take the time to assess and test exactly what is holding your liver back.
We work with you to take the load off your liver and get your microbiome blooming.
This means that your treatment is achievable and resolution from the dreaded ‘endo belly’ is possible.
Endometriosis can have an incredibly negative impact on your quality of life. Symptoms
can be painful, interfering and distressing. By improving your liver and your microbiome,
we address both the symptoms and the cause.