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What Causes Endometriosis?
There are several theories on the cause(s) of endometriosis, and our organization has its own theories as well.
Heredity and genetics are believed to play a role in deciding who may become afflicted with "endo." This is a popular idea, but has not yet been proven to be based in fact. Perhaps this is because the mothers of women with endometriosis may not have ever exhibited symptoms. Why not? It could be because these women had children during their "childbearing years," as was the norm with previous generations. Doing so may have helped them to avoid a possible hormonal imbalance resulting from postponing pregnancy until later. Hence, endometriosis is now manifested as a "working woman's disease," with this term referring to the current tendency for women to choose career over childbearing until they are past the prime age for reproduction.
Some theories hold that women's hormonal systems are created to bear children during their chronological "prime." Therefore, this would lead you to surmise that women's hormonal systems benefit from childbearing. If this is true, then it might also be safe to assume that it would be detrimental for women to postpone childbearing until their late twenties or thirties. In fact, many doctors have suggested that their endometriosis patients consider pregnancy as a treatment for their endo. The statistics we have found on this form of treatment indicate that the "pregnancy solution" only benefits about 50% of those who take that route. For the other 50%, the endo will eventually return.
The problem with this treatment is its impracticality for women who are unmarried, underaged, or emotionally and financially unprepared to bear children. You would be shocked to hear how many mothers of teenage daughters have contacted our organization to tell us that their doctor stated that pregnancy was the best known solution! And actually, these doctors are right, although this may not be a practical solution for some of their patients. Fifty percent is actually an excellent statistic for those who seek relief from endometriosis. But if a woman wanted to have children and was able to, she would already have done so!
Those women who have reduced or eliminated their endometriosis by childbearing may have succeeded in doing so for speculative reasons. Perhaps the tremendous elevation and then tumultuous release of estrogen during the gestation and post-partum phases offers a permanent benefit if enacted during the individual's peak years of hormone production. Waiting just a little too long for your particular constitution may be a critical timing factor for the "losing" fifty percentile.
A large percentage of women who come to us for help have found that their endo is either interfering with their attempts at pregnancy, or they are concerned that it may prevent them from conceiving in the future. We also help women who have already dealt with their childbearing concerns and just want to know how to deal with the pain and inconvenience of endo and its symptoms.
Another theory on the origins of endometriosis is hormonal imbalance. But what can make our hormonal system go out of balance?
Dietary factors, combined with continual exposure to environmental toxins, are highly suspect. Our organization promotes the theory that a main cause of endometriosis may be the use of BGH or BGF (bovine growth hormone/or factor) in many of our consumed animal products, as well as exposure to the herbicides and pesticides which are used to treat all varieties of our fruits, vegetables, and grains. The toxins contained in these crop sprays are suspected to cause sexual abnormalities and deformities which are now being found in some reptiles and animals who inhabit our country's waterways.
Even if you have always followed a strict organic vegetarian diet, ask yourself what kind of diet your parents followed throughout their lives before you were born? In other words, your individual or current diet is only a small consideration, and environmental toxins are an influence which can accumulate in your genetic makeup from the previous generation(s). This is why a radical change in your diet may not alter the complex chemical factors involved in your fetal cell formation, childhood and adolescent dietary habits, and those of your parents. So giving up chocolate to relieve your endometriosis may be futile! You may be comforted to know that your beloved chocolate and favorite cafe mocha are not the real offenders.
When you eat a supposedly-healthy cup of yogurt, you may be consuming hormones which are used to keep dairy cows lactating even though they are not pregnant. Commercial yogurt also contains gelatin, which is derived from animal by-products such as hooves. You might be better off eating a bowl of organically-grown kale, a versatile leafy vegetable. Cup for cup, kale contains 70% of the calcium as milk. Furthermore, the protein content of milk may actually interfere with its absorbtion through the kidneys. Calcium can be found in many non-animal products, including raw sesame (tahini) and also molasses. Organic dairy and produce items are now readily available, for those willing to put forth more effort and expense than the average shopper.
Another possible factor in endometriosis relates to the widespread use of antibiotics in commercial livestock production; including beef, pork, lamb and poultry products. These animals are fed antibiotics to protect the rancher's livestock investment from being wiped out by sickness or disease. Unfortunately, traces of these antibiotics remain in the meat and the long-term effects of our consumption of these products may compromise our immunity against cancer and other diseases.
Another consideration related to compromised immunity is stress. Many of our modern afflictions are considered to be stress-influenced, such as CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), heart disease, high blood pressure, and even arthritis. Stress may be a factor in reducing immunity against the influences which cause endometriosis, but humans have always been exposed to stress throughout the generations and cultures. Women from previous generations may not have experienced our modern career pressures, but who can say it was easy for the stereotypical housewives who proceeded us to raise a family, cook, shop, sew, iron, balance the budget, clean house, and maintain a relationship with her husband? For these reasons, we feel that the stress theories have some merit but don't carry a lot of weight.
Not only is it just women who are afflicted with mysterious symptoms of hormonal imbalance. We believe that the factors we have briefly outlined above may also contribute to the increasingly common occurrence of prostatitis in males.
Because the above are only unproven theories relating to the cause of endometriosis, we do not recommend that you make any radical diet or lifestyle changes without the sound advice of your personal physician.
Our organization's focus is not to dedicate our energies to pinpointing the origins of endometriosis so much as it is to find viable solutions. Our women's supplement, Endo-Fem® with PMS Plus®; is made up of herbs and trace nutrients which are traditionally used to assist the body's detoxification process through the liver and kidneys. By doing so, we believe its function is to serve as a possible hormone-specific detoxifier. Therefore, radical dietary changes are usually not necessary, although worthy of consideration for the long-term health benefits. The herbs and nutrients in Endo-Fem can be found in other supplements, but not in the particular combination featured in our formula. To read more about the specific traditional uses of the herbal ingredients in our formulas, please refer to the Ingredients section of our web page.
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