Conventional treatments, including medications and surgery, are used to treat endometriosis. However, they can be expensive, have a recurrence rate, and have side effects. Therefore, many women opt for natural remedies and lifestyle changes. In this article, we will study if natural remedies can treat endometriosis and what dietary supplementation can help with the condition.
Can natural treatment eliminate endometriosis?
Not exactly. There is currently no prevention or cure for endometriosis. However, natural treatments can relieve pain, reduce inflammation and loosen pelvic muscles.
Recently, the complementary and alternative medical (CAM) treatment for the condition has gained popularity due to the few adverse reactions to conventional treatment. As per research, natural therapies can be assigned to three categories:
(i) Herbal extracts,
(ii) Specific plant-derived bioactive compounds, and
(iii) Chinese herbal medicine (CHM).
Herbal extracts can be helpful due to their anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic and antioxidant effects on endometrial cells and endometriotic lesions. However, there is lack of evidence supporting their use in endometriosis therapy.
What lifestyle changes should I make to manage endometriosis?
Lifestyle changes and dietary modifications are essential in managing endometriosis. The Endometriosis Foundation of America reports that cutting out gluten may help reduce the pain due to the endometriosis. In a 2021 study, its painful symptoms decreased after 12 months of a gluten-free diet.
Another study indicates that high trans-fat consumption and a diet rich in red meat and beef may lead to high risk for the disease. Therefore, you must avoid it. Apart from this, a diet which is rich in fruits and vegetables can decrease the risk of endometriosis. However, we need further studies to verify this.
A woman must limit caffeine and alcohol intake, decrease the consumption of processed foods and incorporate low to moderate-impact exercise or physical activity in her daily life to decrease the risk of the disease.
Which dietary supplementation can help in endometriosis?
Various researchers have concluded that there are positive effects of dietary supplements in endometriosis. There is a greater risk of the condition in women with lower levels of vitamin D, Vitamin E and zinc. Curcumin, omega 3, NAC, vitamin C, and ECGC supplementation is believed to help with a decreased endometriotic lesion size. Omega-3 fatty acids are also seen to be beneficial in this disease. A higher intake of dairy foods may also decrease the risk of endometriosis.
Resveratrol, a natural polyphenolic compound with antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory actions, found in many dietary sources such as grapes, wine, peanuts, soy, berries, etc., can be beneficial due to its anti-inflammatory effect and apoptosis (cell death) -inducing activities and can enhance the actions of oral contraceptives in the treatment of endometriosis-related symptoms (such as dysmenorrhea).
Magnesium can be beneficial because it relaxes muscles. Curcumin is also helpful as it is a major anti-inflammatory agent with antioxidant and anti-angiogenic (reducing the growth of new blood vessels) properties. Nutritional supplementation of NAC (N-acetylcysteine) can also be effective in ovarian endometriosis. Another nutritional supplement, Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the major component of green tea, may also be a promising therapeutic agent in its treatment, preventing the establishment of new endometriotic lesions.
Remember to always consult a dietician before starting any new dietary regime or inculcating any new dietary supplement.
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