Endometriosis is a disease that affects the female reproductive system. It occurs when the type of tissue that normally lines inside the uterus grows outside the uterus. This tissue is normally referred to as patches, implants, nodules, or lesions, and it usually grows on or under the ovaries, on the fallopian tubes, behind the uterus, on the tissues that hold the uterus in place, and on the bowels or bladder. There are also rare cases in which endometriosis is found on the lungs or in other parts of the body. Despite the fact that the exact causes for the development of endometriosis are not understood, research throughout the years has resulted in some hypothesis.
Genetics increase the likelihood of suffering from the disease, while it is known that the levels of the hormone estrogen, which is involved in the female reproductive cycle, also contributes to it. In addition to being an estrogen-dependent and inflammatory disease, endometriosis is also related to an abnormal response from the endometrium to the hormone progesterone. It is known as well that some cases are associated with a failure of the immune system to destroy endometrial tissue, enabling its growth outside the uterus, while other factor is environmental exposure in the womb to chemicals like dioxin.
Endometriosis and Diet: Impact on Patients & Disease
There is currently no cure for endometriosis, but there are treatments designed to ease the symptoms of the disease, being the most common pain and infertility. Diet does not treat endometriosis, but it can also help relieve the pain and improve overall health. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, food does not cause endometriosis, but certain foods can make the disease more likely. Red meats like pork, ham, veal or beef are known to increase the probability of numerous diseases, including endometriosis. On contrary, vegetables and fruits improve health and decrease the risk or the severity of endometriosis.
The correlation between endometriosis and foods tainted with chemicals has also been established. The presence of chemicals like polychorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in food result in the implantation of cells in the abdomen. These toxins are usually used in electrical equipment, hydraulic fluid, and carbonless carbon paper, and organochlorine pesticides, but can also be found in animal fats. Regarding drinks, caffeinated drinks like coffee or Coke can also increase the probability, but the reasons are not fully understood. Similarly, alcohol is also discouraged.
Endometriosis and Diet: How It Impacts Treatment
Physicians usually recommend medication, hormonal therapy ,or surgery for patients who suffer from endometriosis. Despite the fact that dietary changes are not a treatment itself, physicians may also advise about the benefits of making alterations and use it as complement to other forms of treatment. Dietary alterations are focused on the influence of hormones as a fuel to endometriosis. Therefore, the purpose is to reduce the amounts of estrogen in the body through diet.
A hormone-balancing diet may be achieved through the reduction of fat and increase in vegetarian food. This is achieved due to reduction in estrogen levels in the blood, while diet does not have any negative impact on pregnancy or pregnancy attempts like hormonal therapy. Similarly, exercise also reduces the risk or severity of endometriosis since patients who exercise have lower levels of hormonal activity and stronger immune systems.
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