Endometriosis, affects 10% – 15% of women ages 24-40. The triad of symptoms include dysmenorrhea (pain during menses), dysparenunia (pain with intercourse), and infertility. Endometriosis refers to the growth of endometrial tissue in other areas of a woman’s body besides the uterus. This tissue is usually found in the abdomen – on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the ligaments that support the uterus, between the vagina and rectum, the outside of the uterus or the lining of the pelvic cavity – but also sometimes on the bladder, bowel, vagina, cervix and vulva; and very rarely in the lungs, arms and legs.
The cause of endometriosis is not clear but it has been strongly linked to immune system dysfunction and exposure to dioxins and other toxic chemicals that accumulate in the fat stores of fish, animals, and people.
The fertility diet is recommended as an adjunct treatment for endometriosis in addition to hormonal treatment. The priority is to first minimize PCB and dioxin exposure and consumption in the home, workplace and diet. A thorough detoxification program along with an anti-inflammatory diet is recommended with an emphasis on the following:
Use high fibre foods which increase transit time in the intestines and promote optimal balance of probiotics in the intestines.
- Avoid meat because it contains large amount of arachidonic acid with promotes inflammatory prostaglandins and inflammation and pain.
- Increase liver friendly foods such as kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, rapini. Use more anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric (which protects against environmental carcinogens and decreases inflammation), ginger, milk thistle seeds, and ground flaxseeds.
- Avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
- Avoid/minimize dairy products (cause the lipid pathway to be tipped toward prostaglandins and leukotriences that cause inflammation and vascular constriction).
- Supplement the diet with fish oil to help to reduce pain symptoms and decrease inflammatory response. Choose only supplements from an approved source that has proven low-mercury short-lived deep water fish.
400 DHA: 200 EPA supplement twice a day
The best fish oil supplement is one that uses anchovies and sardines.