Endometriosis Awareness Month: Gut Health & Endo

Endometriosis Awareness Month: Gut Health & Endo

Welcome to Endometriosis Awareness Month! You may be thinking, why is a brand that is all about gut health speaking about endometriosis? After reading this blog, you’ll understand exactly why!

Did you know that up to 90% of women with Endometriosis also experience Irritable Bowel Syndrome or some kind of bowel problems? This shows the direct link between endo and gut health and is also why so many women are often misdiagnosed or dismissed as “just having IBS”. In this blog we’re going to cover the link between endo and the gut and what you can do to better support yourself or someone you know with Endo.

So, what is Endo?

Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of it, typically in the abdominal cavity. It is primarily a disease of immune dysfunction and inflammation. 

How is it connected to gut health?

Gut health plays a massive part in the development of endometriosis. Studies have shown that women with endometriosis have a different gut microbiome composition than women without the condition. This suggests that an imbalance of gut bacteria may contribute to the development of endometriosis, therefore a healthy gut microbiome is beneficial in women with endometriosis. There is also research being done behind the role that gut microbiomes play in regulating hormones, which can also in turn influence the growth and proliferation of endometrial tissue meaning that the cells multiply and spread during this phase estrogen levels rise and your endometrium thickens. Endo can also lead to gut permeability, better known as leaky gut - which is likely an explanation for “endo belly” AKA the extreme bloating that endo sufferers experience. 

Leaky Gut is a condition in which the lining of the gut becomes more permeable than it should be, allowing toxins, undigested food particles and bacteria to leak into the bloodstream. This can cause a range of health issues including autoimmune disease, digestive issues and has been linked to endometriosis. Leaky gut leads to inflammatory toxins being released from bacteria and yeast to permeate from the gut into other areas of the body. 

Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) are bacterial toxins that are usually housed safely in the gut but can enter the bloodstream via leaky gut. Women with endo have been seen to have 4-6 times more LPS toxins in their menstrual blood than women without endo. Meaning that these toxins are crossing through the leaky gut and into the pelvic cavity and wreaking havoc in the body. 

Not only can leaky gut be one of the causes of endometriosis, but gut health also plays a massive part in people with endometriosis and in turn endometriosis plays a part in gut health. Endometrial tissue can migrate to the gut and cause inflammation, leading to digestive symptoms such as bloating, constipation and diarrhea. This can be problematic during menstruation when hormones stimulate the growth of endometrial tissue. In addition, inflammation on the gut can also trigger an immune response which may increase symptoms of endometriosis. 

So, what can you do to better manage Endometriosis?

Addressing bacterial overgrowth in the gut and repairing gut permeability should be strongly considered in all women with endo. A balanced diet is also one of the most important things to help reduce inflammation in the body and symptoms of endometriosis. Reducing processed and inflammatory foods such as sugary snacks, processed meats, refined grains and fried food. Increasing foods such as;

  • Fibre Rich Foods: Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds to help promote the growth of good bacteria to support the gut and digestion.
  • Fermented Foods: Kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and yogurt are rich in good bacteria to help increase good gut health.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fatty Fish, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds can all help reduce inflammation in the body. 
  • Anti-inflammatory Foods: Turmeric, ginger, garlic and berries all have anti-inflammatory properties to help decrease inflammation. 
  • Whole Grains: Such as brown rice, quinoa and oats can provide fibre and key nutrients to help support healthy digestion. 

In addition to a healthy balanced diet, reducing stress through practices such as meditation, yoga and deep breathing can also help reduce inflammation and support gut health. 

Only focusing on hormone modulation treatments will not assist endo long-term, because endo isn’t just like other period and hormone issues. The real issue with endo is much deeper than just hormones. Endo is affected by hormones but it is not caused by them! So it’s important to take a holistic approach to endo management to achieve long-term results and optimal health.

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