It takes an average of 15 years for a woman to receive a proper diagnosis of endometriosis, which delays treatment, reduces quality of life, and increases the risk of long-term health effects
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a chronic and debilitating pain condition which presents as extremely painful, and often unbearable periods. In endometriosis, endometrial tissue which normally lines the uterus becomes displaced and begins to grow outside of the uterus. Endometriosis is extremely painful, and symptoms can often extend outside of the menstrual period.
Sadly, endometriosis is a poorly understood condition. We don’t fully understand why endometriosis occurs, or how it develops. At this time, agreed upon causes include immune dysfunction, pelvic inflammation, abnormal hormone production, hormone resistance, imbalanced microbiome, and genetics.
Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. It’s diagnosed in 5 in 10 women experiencing infertility, and 5 in 10 women experiencing chronic pelvic pain. In North America, it takes an average of 15 years for a woman to receive a proper diagnosis of endometriosis, which delays treatment, reduces quality of life, and increases the risk of long-term health effects.
Symptoms & Long-Term Impacts of Endometriosis
Common symptoms of endometriosis:
Extremely painful periods
Chronic pelvic pain
Chronic lower abdominal pain
Chronic lower back pain
Chronic hip pain
Painful bowel movements
Digestive symptoms including nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation
Excessive menstrual bleeding and clots
Infertility or difficulty getting pregnant
Long-term impacts of endometriosis
Increased risk of ovarian cancer
Depression & anxiety
Bowel adhesions causing gastrointestinal disturbances
Abnormal cholesterol levels
Increased risk of heart disease
Sexual dysfunction & relationship impacts
If you’ve been dealing with any number or combination of these symptoms, it might be time to visit your Naturopathic or Medical Doctor. Treating diagnosed or suspected endometriosis may improve symptoms, preserve future fertility, and mitigate long-term risks. Remember, period pain classified as severe is never normal or okay. If someone tells you otherwise, it’s time for a second opinion.
Naturopathic Treatment of Endometriosis
The goal of naturopathic treatment is to target the many underlying causes of endometriosis. With endometriosis, naturopathic treatment aims to correct the following:
Systemic & pelvic inflammation
Immune system dysfunction
Improper hormone synthesis, and hormone receptor resistance
Dysbiosis of the microbiome
Unique genetic mutations
Impaired elimination of, and increased exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals
In addition, every individual with endometriosis comes in with different goals for treatment. Some women want to alleviate pain, others really want to focus on fertility. Whatever your goals are, we will customize treatment and do everything in our power to help you achieve your desired results.
It’s important to note that endometriosis can be very challenging and can often be resistant to treatment. Our goal is to support you through targeted and aggressive use of natural modalities such as nutrition, medicinal grade supplementation, botanicals, acupuncture, and physical therapy. We will also work with your other health care providers such as MDs or Osteopaths, to ensure your unique case is being looked at from all angles. Our ultimate goal is to get you to a place where you don’t have to wake up worried about how your pain will impact your ability to function.
Endometriosis: What to Expect from Treatment
If you are struggling with endometriosis, or suspect you may have endometriosis, here’s a rough outline of what you can expect from naturopathic treatment:
Month 1: Initial Appointment, 60 - 90 Minutes in Length
We complete a thorough social, physical, and environmental health assessment to identify barriers to hormone health. We will go through all of your symptoms and concerns, as well as key performance indicators so we can track your progress moving forward. A social intake, as well as physical exams will be completed.
We will requisition lab work to get a baseline understanding of your inflammatory response, blood sugar balance, general health, and hormone health. Lab work is used in tandem with your initial health assessment to rule out other diagnoses.
We will complete The Orenda’s Endometriosis Impact Questionnaire to determine how endometriosis is impacting your quality of life, and how to best treat your unique case.
You will be sent home with an environmental impact questionnaire, to assess your level of environmental exposure.
An initial treatment plan will be provided to get you started on your road to recovery
Month 1: Nutritional Consult, 30-45 Minutes in Length
Once we have received your lab results and environmental impact questionnaire, we will spend an hour going through how to support your body through nutrition based on your unique physiological requirements
You will be provided with customized dietary guidelines, grocery lists, and meal plans unique to you
We will discuss obstacles to compliance, and how to overcome them
Month 2: First Follow Up Appointment, 45-60 Minutes in Length
We review your lab results together, so you fully understand how your body is functioning
We will go through an even more detailed, and customized treatment plan that is specific to your physiological needs and based upon your symptoms and lab results
This is the point where we start tracking your progress. Due to the challenging nature of endometriosis, treatment length can vary from 6 months to 2 years.
Months 4-9: Second, Third, Fourth Follow Up Appointments, 45 Minutes in Length
Every 2-3 months of customized treatment, we reassess your progress, and reevaluate your goals
We troubleshoot any problems you might be having with treatment or compliance with treatment
We often tweak treatment as needed based on your results. We formulate treatment to further propel you towards your health goals.
By 6-9 months, our goal is that you are feeling better at this point, and you no longer need us.
We provide you with long-term strategies to help you manage endometriosis on your own, and prevent your risk of future disease
Of course, we can’t guarantee results or how you will respond to treatment. Most patients with endometriosis do report improvements by 9 months, however some people take longer, whereas others feel better even sooner. Our goal is that you don’t have to keep seeing us. We aim to have you feeling better within 4-6 appointments. At this point, we begin to schedule bi-annual to annual check ups to ensure you’re staying on track, and continuing to feel your best.
If you’re suffering from endometriosis, our hormone support team is here to help answer your questions and provide safe, effective care. If you would like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us or book a complimentary 15 minute meet-and-greet with one of our practitioners.