Endometriosis doesn’t just end with the uterus. As we know, it can grow in places all over the body in some cases. Endometriosis affects the body in various ways, such as making us feel fatigued most of the time or causing irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Just as endometriosis affects the body, the body can affect endometriosis.
You may have heard that the liver is important to helping you manage endometriosis. This is because the liver is responsible for filtering out excess and old hormones from our body. Endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent disease, as estrogen encourages endometriosis growth. Read “Take Control of Your Endometriosis” by Henrietta Norton for more on this.
The liver also removes waste that no longer serves you, including chemicals and toxins from your everyday life, such as those collected while walking down a polluted road or using chemical-based cleaning products. Additionally, it filters out anything you consume that isn’t healthy or helpful to your body, such as alcohol.
Modern-day life causes your body to be overloaded with chemicals and toxins that not only affect your health (see my piece on endocrine disruptors for more info on this), but also burden the liver to the point that it reduces its performance and ability to remove old and excess hormones.
Many women with endometriosis have estrogen dominance, which not only encourages endometriosis growth, but also causes a whole heap of issues, such as PMS, bloating, brain fog, mood swings, and insomnia, to name a few. (Who else is raising their hand with every single symptom?!) Of course, many of these problems are similar to the symptoms of endometriosis. I’m not an expert, so I can’t tell you if these endo symptoms are actually a result of estrogen dominance, but whatever the direct cause, coupling endo symptoms with estrogen dominance symptoms is clearly going to have a negative effect on your well-being.
So, what can you do about it? There are courses, workshops, and books on rebalancing the hormones, but long-term, this isn’t going to work if your liver isn’t functioning optimally. Eventually, you could get a backup of estrogen once again. So, my view (and again, I’m not an expert) is that you should aid the liver in doing its job by boosting liver health. There are actually some very easy ways of doing this. I’ve listed three changes you can make to support liver function below.
Herbs for liver health
You can consume herbs in various forms, which is helpful if you’re on a budget. One of the most accessible herbs for liver support is dandelion, which you can buy in tea form. Another accessible herb is parsley, which you can buy fresh and sprinkle on salads. You could also buy tinctures or supplements; some of the most common are milk thistle and vitamin C, and there’s also burdock root and artichoke leaf extract.
Before my period, I eat liver-supporting foods in abundance to help my body get rid of any old hormones. My favorite liver supporting foods are arugula (rocket), garlic, kale, beetroot, turmeric, asparagus, and sweet potatoes. Maybe it’s coincidence or a placebo, but since eating these frequently during my pre-menstrual phase, my PMS symptoms have become easier to cope with and my period has been less painful.
There is a long list of foods that support the liver, so do some research and find which foods you like that will help your liver battle endo with you!
Strains on the liver
I’ve left this until last because I know it’s not an easy one. My battle with coffee seems to be forever ongoing. However, if you can start reducing your intake of toxin and chemicals, you can begin to unburden the liver. Of course, the obvious ones are alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, but if quitting smoking and battling endo seems too much right now, there are other ways. Common skincare and beauty products are full of unnecessary chemicals that are absorbed through the skin. You can minimize exposure by swapping to organic or natural body care products. I use coconut oil on my body as a cheap and long-lasting body cream, and I use Green People for all my skincare needs. Makeup has been trickier because it’s expensive, but Lily Lolo has recently hit the market and is much more affordable. You can also change up your cleaning products and washing detergents with Method, Ecover, or another natural-based brand.
I hope these tips help you to have a happier liver!
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.