The Oxford Dictionary defines inflammation as, “a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury and infection.”
An article which is slated to be published in June 2016’s Frontiers in Bioscience reviews previous studies and literature which discuss how inflammation may cause Endometriosis to develop. It states, “…inflammation is crucial in the pathogenesis of endometriosis…” Pathogenesis is the development of a disease; the cellular events and mechanisms that lead to a disease.
It also discusses how estrogen can affect inflammation which, in turn, affects Endometriosis. It points out that anti-inflammatory medication and GnRH analog drugs (such as the highly-controversial Lupron Depot which depletes our estrogen production) have been found to reduce inflammation in Endometriosis patients.
Remember our blog about stress and Endometriosis? This June 2016 study identifies that stress hormones may also play a role in creating inflammation and aggravating Endometriosis.
The authors theorize that inflammation may not only play a role in the development of Endometriosis, but that Endometriosis may contribute to pelvic inflammatory disease. Imagine if you will a snowball effect : stress = inflammation + estrogen = Endometriosis + more inflammation = pelvic inflammatory disease or other illnesses.
A study published in Fertility & Sterility (Oct. 2017) also showed that inflammation may play a role in the development of Endometriosis, especially peritoneal cavity inflammation. It concludes “therapeutic strategies focused on reducing peritoneal inflammation may be effective in limiting the development, progression or recurrence of endometriosis.”
I may not have understood a lot of the science mumbo-jumbo of the article, but I did certainly walk away with one thing : inflammation is noooo bueno and I will do anything I can do to naturally reduce my body’s inflammation.
Diet plays a huge role in reducing inflammation. You have to decide what aids and hinders your body…not just do what “works for everyone else.” You may have heard this all before, but :
- Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in salmon or tuna, are great at reducing inflammation. Don’t like fish but take fish oil caplets? Be careful; Omega-6 fatty acids, which may be found in fish oil supplements, may spurn inflammation rather than quell it.
- Nuts are also a great sort of antioxidants and Omega-3s. Try walnuts or almonds.
- Whole grains contain a lot of fiber, which may decrease inflammation.
- Eat your fruits & veggies. Leafy greens, broccoli, tomatoes, beets, garlic, onions, berries, and cherries (the tart ones) all have amazing properties that combat inflammation.
- Ginger and turmeric, two very ugly roots which are common spices, also have properties which are well-known to fight inflammation. Cinnamon has also been found to be anti-inflammatory.
- Don’t forget about herbs! Rosemary, thyme, sage, and oregano are among the top 10 herbs and spices for fighting inflammation.
- Extra virgin olive oil has been found to have similar anti-inflammatory properties to NSAIDs (i.e, Ibuprofen, Naproxen Sodium).
Dr. Andrew Weil has created a fun graphic known as the Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid. If you like visual aids, click here.
There’s also a list of foods that promote inflammation, which you may want to avoid (if you’re able to). These include dairy, soy, red meat, and foods that are high in saturated fat and sugar. Some people are affected by a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, which flare up their inflammation and symptoms.
Also, try to reduce your stress levels. In any way : stretching, meditation, yoga, medication, rest, a different job, removing toxic people from your life, etc.
I repeat : do what feels good and works well for you. Pay no mind to someone else if they say “this works,” but you’ve tried it and it doesn’t make you feel any better…or if it makes you feel worse. You, and only you, really know your body.
*Updated September 12, 2017*
Body Ecology – 10 Top Foods that Prevent Inflammation in Your Body
Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Fertility & Sterility (Article; Oct. 2017) – Effect of Inflammatory Environment on Development of Endometriosis in Murine Model
Health.com – 14 Foods that Fight Inflammation
Mercola – Top Anti-Inflammatory Food, Herbs, and Spices
U.S. National Library of Medicine (Abstract; June 2016) – Inflammation and Endometriosis; the full article is available for purchase from Frontiers in Bioscience
Women to Women – Reducing Inflammation – The Natural Approach
A biiiig thank you to Gary for his help in securing the entire article for me to read. I truly appreciate you.
~ Again, I am a layman. I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. If curious, do your own research Validate my writings. Or challenge them. And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. Yours ~ Lisa