A 501(C)3Tax-Exempt, Tax-Deductible Organization
Endometriosis Research Center
ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES FOR MANAGEMENT OF ENDOMETRIOSIS
Don't forget to join our dedicated Diet & Nutrition for Endo group on Facebook! If you're considering Physical Therapy for pelvic floor dysfunction and/or endometriosis-related pain, visit ERC Advisor Dr. Sallie Sarrel's information site.
Herbal medicines are prepared from the roots, flowers, stems, leaves or bark of plants. They can be inhaled, applied as a topical salve, inserted as a suppository, or ingested orally in a tablet form or a tea. Often, different herbs will be combined to increase the effects. It is extremely important to remember that though herbs are natural, they can be extremely toxic. Anyone considering herbal therapy should seek the counsel of their healthcare provider.
One underlying theory agreed upon by herbalists is the impact they have on excess levels of estrogen in the body (believed to be a contributing factor of the disease). Because the liver is responsible for breaking down estrogen, it has been suggested that a weakness in the liver may be indirectly involved in the causation of endometriosis and if treated, can have a relieving effect on symptoms. One example: a naturopathic physician in Canada reported the cases of 15 women with endometriosis who were treated with an herbal preparation known to stimulate liver function - dandelion, beet leaves, cascara and Uva ursi. After several months, 12 of the 15 women were free of symptomatic pain.
Various herbs said to be helpful in relieving endometriosis and symptomatic pain include: Blue Cohosh, Cranberry, Plantain, St. Johns Wort, Peppermint, Valerian, Dong Quai, False Unicorn, Evening Primrose Oil, Chasteberry/Vitex, Black Cohosh, Uva Ursi, Couchgrass, Red Raspberry, Yam, and White Willow.
The insertion of thin needles at various points in the skin is said to bring relief to women suffering from Endo pain, menstrual cramping, and post-operative pain as well. According to Chinese philosophy, good health results as a balance and freeflow of Chi through the meridians, while illness is an imbalance, stagnation, or an obstruction of Chi in a meridian. Placement of the needles on the various points linked by the meridians is believed to restore the balance and flow of Chi. This will allegedly eliminate symptoms and reduce pain. Acupuncture is not available nationwide. Check with your state medical association for the laws surrounding acupuncture and a possible referral.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation is a technique to control pain by which a small machine conducts an electric current through electrodes placed on the painful areas. When it is successful, pain relief is often very quick. Patients may also purchase portable units for use whenever the pain strikes.
A Japanese finger-pressure technique similar to massage, Shiatsu stimulates Ki (which is the same as Chinese Chi) to balance freeflow and thereby eliminate pain. The therapist may also prescribe home exercises to do along with the Shiatsu treatments.
Exercise is a demonstrated stress reliever, pain reducer, and depression fighter. It also provides obvious benefits such as weight control and improved cardiovascular health. Seek the assistance of a trained professional who is familiar with your condition and work out a regimen best suited for your needs and abilities. For example, swimming and walking are two low-impact, easy-to-do exercises that can be done by almost any individual.
This involves the altering of body processes such as heart rate, muscle activity, skin temperature, and brain wave activity. This is done through the use of electrodes attached to the skin which convert minute physiological, chemical or electrical changes into auditory or visual signals. You are taught to alter responses by relaxing and visualizing changes. Biofeedback is most effective if combined with other relaxation techniques.
Homeopaths stimulate and bolster healing mechanisms within the body through minute doses of natural remedies that would in healthy persons, produce the symptoms of Endo. They believe like cures like.
Osteopaths believe Endo can be relieved by correcting structural problems through the manipulation of muscles, ligaments and bones.
This differs from osteopathic treatment in that Chiropractors believe the disease can be relieved by correcting dislocations (subluxations) in the musculoskeletal system alone.
Nature Cures is the belief behind this system. It is a practice based solely on natural methods of healing. This includes (often in combination) fasting, vitamin and mineral therapy, color therapy, colonics, hydrotherapy, herbs, breathing exercises, physical exercise, massage, joint manipulation, and acupuncture, among other aspects.
Some licensed Naturopath Physicians are also able to perform minor surgery. Again, as with any course of therapy, you should consult an appropriate, licensed healthcare professional for advisement before undertaking any regimen(s).
Diet and nutrition as a means of managing not only endometriosis, but as an overall health benefit, has been widely adopted through the patient community. To that end, women and girls with endometriosis suffer from many varied food intolerances and can find their symptoms exacerbated by seemingly innocuous food choices. For example, even simple choices such as breads can become a problem (i.e. due to gluten intolerance, for example) where other foods may cause increased inflammatory activity (i.e. for example, due to processed additives and impurities). This is a very big area of discipline to undertake, one that requires a bit of try and see approach as to what works for you specifically.
In the cursory sense, a diet largely comprised of an abundance of lean, low fat proteins, an intake of fresh fruits and vegetables without processing, low or no sodium choices, low sugars and foods which do not include sinful items such as high fructose corn syrups and other stabilizers have all been recommended. One helpful resource to further elaborate on this topic is Dian Shepperson Mills book, Endometriosis: Healing through Nutrition. Over time, patients have experienced a shift and decrease in symptoms related to impurities, toxicities, environmental exposures and the like that can all wreak havoc on hormonal and immune responses through food choices. The dietary approach may also work well to alleviate associated digestive/GI symptoms.
You may wish to contact any of the following Alternative Therapy Centers for more information (not affiliated with the ERC).
The Holistic Health
Hotline - http://www.holistichealthhotline.com/
American Holistic Medical Association - http://www.ahha.org
International Foundation for Homeopathy - http://www.holistic.com
American Association of Naturopathic Physicians http:// www.naturopathic.org
Institute for Traditional Medicine & Preventive Health Care - http://www.itmonline.org
American Association of Oriental Medicine - http://www.aaaomonline.org
American Chiropractic Association - http://www.acatoday.org
American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians & Gynecologists - http://www.acoog.com
ERC RESOURCE LIST:
The ERC offers a Resource List. If you wish to obtain a copy, please send a $3.00 donation (includes postage, shipping and handling) to the ERC office with a note requesting the ERC Resource List. You may also order materials online at www.endocenter.org/educationalmaterials.htm
ERC DIET & NUTRITION BOOKLET:
The ERC offers information on diet and nutrition related to endometriosis. If you wish to obtain a copy, please send a $5.00 donation (includes postage, shipping and handling) to the ERC office with a note requesting the Diet & Nutrition Booklet. As an alternative you may request the ERCs Diet & Nutrition Booklet by visiting www.endocenter.org/educationalmaterials.htm
HOW DO I RECEIVE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION?
Where can I get further materials, resources and support?
ERC Support & Contact Network - The ERC is proud to host the Internet's only group featuring lively cross talk between leading experts and patients. This group will give you the opportunity to exchange ideas, experiences,
information and support with others who are dealing with similar issues
related to the disease. For more information or to join this private group for free, click here.
Contact Us - Please do not hesitate to contact our offices. The ERC is an established 501(c)3 Tax Exempt-Tax Deductible Organization which was founded to address the International need for endometriosis education, research and support. We are dedicated to finding a cure for this disease; providing support and helping to improve the quality of life for all those affected by endometriosis; raising public awareness about the disease; educating healthcare providers, patients, policymakers and the public; providing an international network in which women can exchange information and ideas; and facilitating research on all aspects of the disease.
We are a resource center for education and support. Each individual who contacts the ERC will receive an initial Contact & Information Packet. The ERC offers educational literature on endometriosis, accurate fact sheets on many topics pertaining to the disease, a monthly Newsletter, and much more. Please visit us on the web at www.endocenter.org or call our offices toll free at 800/239-7280 to obtain the ERC's Material Request Form, which contains an updated list of all our educational materials.
Material presented herein is offered for informational purposes only. This material is not intended to offer or replace medical advice offered by your personal physicians or healthcare professionals. Additionally, the Endometriosis Research Center does not recommend or endorse any physicians, medications, organizations or treatment methods. Please consult your personal physician or other medical professional for treatments and diagnoses. All material © 1997-2012 by the Endometriosis Research Center except where otherwise explicitly noted. All rights reserved. No part of this presentation may be reproduced or utilized in any form, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the ERC.