SUPPLEMENTS: This low carbohydrate diet used for treating yeast infections is the same one suggested by Dr. Robert Atkins for endo in his excellent book, Dr. Atkin's Health Revolution. Dr. Atkins also suggests the following supplements to help lower the estrogen in the body: choline, methionine, inositol, evening of primrose oil, vitamin-E, vitamin-C and bioflavonoids.
ALLERGIES: Dr. Wayne Konetski, an environmental and allergy specialist from Waukesha, Wisconsin, has found that women with PMS and endo have developed a hypersensitivity to their own hormones, particularly progesterone. Ninety percent of the women he has treated also have candida infections, which must be the first thing treated. He then treats with desensitizing oral drops of natural progesterone in the range of one hundredth of a milligram to 150 milligrams per month. Dr. Konetski has had good results in relieving pain and restoring fertility to women with endo. Of course, his treatment plan must be individualized for each woman.
DIOXIN EXPOSURE: There is a possible link between dioxin exposure and exposure to other organochlorines, and endometriosis, as mentioned in the first chapter on endo. Women with endo should use only unbleached tampons and sanitary napkins, and make every effort to avoid such exposure in meat, dairy and fish.
HERBS: Western herbs as well as Chinese herbs have been useful in the treatment of endo. Herbal therapy as well as nutritional therapy is best done under the supervision of an experienced naturopath or medical doctor.
ACUPUNCTURE: Some women have found acupuncture treatments very helpful. A minimum of six treatments is required before a woman can see whether this treatment modality holds promise for her. It would be preferable to find a highly experienced acupuncturist, preferably one who is experienced in the treatment of endo. The TENS machine, a small hand-held machine that stimulates acupuncture points electrically has been a useful adjunct for the treatment of the pain for some women.
HOMEOPATHY: Homeopathy has a lot to offer a woman with endo. With very minute doses of natural substances, it can stimulate the body's healing. Again, it is necessary to find and work closely with an experienced homeopath. Due to the complex knowledge required, it is difficult to self-prescribe homeopathic remedies for a chronic illness.
It is important not to overlook the emotional issues caused by having a disabling disease and preceding the development of endo. Visualization, affirmations and relaxation are essential and very practical tools that I recommend to anyone dealing with a chronic illness.
The new age attitude that we create our own reality, while it has some merit, has resulted in people beating up on themselves or others who have chronic illness. The implication is that women with endo have done something wrong in their physical or emotional life that caused the illness. All such attitudes prevent healing.
The will to get well and determination to do it whatever it takes is the key to turning around any major illness.
For a challenging illness like endo, it requires courage, stamina and persistence to face and overcome a disease with so many unknowns in it. I believe that women have the natural strength and resiliency to do so.
TENT is an independent volunteer self-help group that offers telephone and written support as well as support groups and educational public meetings.
This is a non-profit volunteer group that shares info and support with groups throughout Ontario.
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