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Women’s Health

THE ENDOMETRIOSIS DIET: HOW WILL YOU FEEL ON THIS DIET?

The goal of this plan is to structure your dietary intake and relieve or prevent some of the more disabling symptoms of endometriosis. The plan has been designed to work over the long run to decrease your estrogen level and stabilize hormones, increase energy, alleviate extreme menstrual cramping, and work as a calmative for emotional and physical distress. You will need to analyse your own case and judge your own needs, following the Calendar to chart mood changes, bleeding patterns, and pelvic pain.
Tins diet is a basic regimen that stresses low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt, low-cholesterol, low-dairy-product intake, which is especially advisable during the menstrual cycle and for at least ten days preceding it. This is not a weight-loss diet, although you might indeed stabilize your weight or lose a pound or two. If you are unable to stay on the diet for ten days of the month, try to follow the suggestions on alternate days, h will help to work as a “cleansing” or balancing diet.
Some women will have an immediate sense of well-being after only a week on the diet. Others may not respond as quickly. One reason is that ovaries are sensitive to dietary changes, especially to an increase in B complex vitamins and a withdrawal or lessening of tats and sugar. The liver will continue to degrade estrogen to estriol, but the ovaries may respond in a contrary fashion. Instead of estrogen output being controlled by diet, the ovaries are. so to speak, tricked into believing that they are lagging behind an producing the hormone and may speed up production for a few days. Eventually, however, the body adjusts to a different dietary mode. The endometriosis recovery diet should foster a sense of relief and well-being. Because of it, some women may be able to free themselves from painkillers, tranquilizers, and, in selected cases, hormone treatments.
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THE ENDOMETRIOSIS DIET

The goal of this plan is to structure your dietary intake and relieve or prevent some of the more disabling symptoms of endometriosis. The plan has been designed to work over the long run to decrease your estrogen level and stabilize hormones, increase energy, alleviate extreme menstrual cramping, and work as a calmative for emotional and physical distress. You will need to analyse your own case and judge your own needs, following the Calendar to chart mood changes, bleeding patterns, and pelvic pain.
Tins diet is a basic regimen that stresses low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt, low-cholesterol, low-dairy-product intake, which is especially advisable during the menstrual cycle and for at least ten days preceding it. This is not a weight-loss diet, although you might indeed stabilize your weight or lose a pound or two. If you are unable to stay on the diet for ten days of the month, try to follow the suggestions on alternate days, h will help to work as a “cleansing” or balancing diet.
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HYSTERECTOMY: ‘WATCHFUL WAITING’

For some women, coping with difficult menstrual bleeding or painful periods without drugs or surgery is an option worthy of serious consideration. The rationale for a ‘watchful waiting’ approach hinges on the well-established finding that oestrogen plays a major role in the growth of fibroids and endometriosis. When oestrogen output by the ovaries decreases after menopause, these conditions tend to become much less worrying. Many women are therefore prepared to give the watchful waiting approach a try if their period problems are bearable and they are nearing menopause.

Julia experienced intermittent, heavy and painful bleeding due to fibroids for two-and-a- half years before her menopause and considered having either a myomectomy or a hysterectomy during this difficult time. Looking back some years later Julia was pleased that neither procedure was ultimately necessary.

There are many reasons for difficult-to-manage bleeding patterns apart from fibroids. Lauren had lengthy menstrual bleeds in her late forties that were different from anything she had experienced previously. During them, spotting was typical on the first few days, then there were several days of heavy bleeding which resembled the heaviest bleed of former periods, followed by a handful of days when the bleeding tapered off. Managing the blood loss was tiresome because it went on for so long and Lauren was also concerned about the possibility that something was seriously amiss. Medical investigations including a hysteroscopy did not reveal any suspicious lumps or growths and showed that she was not anaemic. Doctors said changes in her sex hormone levels, consistent with an Impending menopause, were to blame for her symptoms. In order to sort out whether Lauren’s blood loss was excessive, it was suggested she record what her bleeding was like. ‘Keep a diary of how many days it lasts, how many and what sort of sanitary pad or tampon you use, whether pain occurs and when,’ her doctor said. ‘Then we’ll discuss the findings.’

Lauren’s diary confirmed that her blood loss was heavy and prolonged and a number of possible medical therapies were discussed as well as the option of watching and waiting. After talking with friends who had negotiated similarly difficult bleeding, Lauren decided to try a non-medical approach for a few more months. In particular, she started experimenting with dietary changes, including some herbal products, and the use of highly absorbent ‘overnight’ sanitary pads when the bleeding was heaviest. Her boss, who had herself been through similar difficulties some years earlier, was supportive and understanding. Lauren bled profusely at night on several occasions and found it reassuring to have a mattress protector in place as well as a towel beside her bed in case of flooding. After several months her periods dwindled then stopped.

An increasingly common cause of bleeding in the post-menopausal age group is hormone therapy. Sometimes there is no apparent reason why such problems affect one woman and not another. Occasionally the explanation seems to be pre-existing fibroids or the use of an oestrogen implant as part of post-menopausal hormone therapy. It has been noted that implants cause severe uncontrollable bleeding in some women, presumably because they deliver larger amounts of oestrogen than other hormone therapy formulations, for some of the time at least.

Another possible cause of bleeding is cancer of the endometrium in post-menopausal women who have used oestrogen therapy (in pill, patch or implant form) without added progestogen for several years. Even after oestrogen is no longer taken, the risk of cancer of the endometrium persists. It is important to seek medical advice promptly if this possibility applies to you.

The decision about whether to watch and wait or to try medical treatments or surgery depends on many factors including the amount of bleeding and its effect on daily living, the ability to cope with such difficulties, general health, the rate of change in conditions like fibroids, and the probable time to menopause. Situations in which watchful waiting is generally considered to be inappropriate include rapid fibroid growth resulting in a significant and measurable increase in the size of the uterus during a six-month period, bowel or urinary obstruction, and symptoms which make life seem hardly worth living.

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EFFECTS OF NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS ON FERTILITY: FOLIC ACID

There is now a great deal of scientific knowledge about the use of nutritional supplements and their beneficial effects on both male and female fertility. These supplements can be very effective in rebalancing your hormones, as well as improving your and your partner’s overall health – so vital for successful conception.

Folic acid deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world, partly because the body cannot store large amounts of folic acid. It really only has sufficient for one to two months so it is essential to supplement.

Of course, we now know that folic acid can prevent spina bifida and it is essential that it is in good supply before and during pregnancy. But that is not all.

Folic acid is just one of a number of  vitamins. To successfully produce the genetic materials DNA and RNA, you must have enough folic acid, together with vitamin B12. This co-dependency is common between nutrients and, because of such interactions, it is naive to think that supplementing with folic acid alone before pregnancy, as suggested by the medical profession, is enough.

You have to remember that doctors are not generally trained in nutrition. (They receive only a few lectures on the subject while they are studying if they are lucky.) By giving advice in isolation and without the necessary nutritional training, other complications can arise. For example, since folic acid and vitamin B12 are inextricably linked, it is possible to mask a B12 deficiency (pernicious anaemia), for instance, by giving folic acid alone.

A US study found that women taking a multivitamin before conception had fewer babies with a cleft lip. The immediate assumption was that it was probably the folic acid that was making the difference. But, since all the other vitamins were also being taken, it could have been any one of them that had the positive benefit. More likely, it was the combination of all the nutrients.

Recent research into heart disease suggests that folic acid and vitamin Â12 might be beneficial in controlling an amino acid called homocysteine, found in the blood, that causes damage to the lining of blood vessels. Since high levels of homocysteine are also found in women who have miscarriages, it surely follows that folic acid and vitamin B12 might be helpful to these women too.

When trying to get pregnant, you should also be aware that folic acid deficiency is common in people with chronic diarrhea or malabsorptive states such as coeliac disease and Crohn’s disease. Alcohol causes the body to excrete folic acid, and certain drugs-, such as those for epilepsy and oral contraceptives, can cause a folic acid deficiency. So, if you fall into any of the above categories, make sure you supplement with folic acid before trying to get pregnant.

You should take 400mcg a day. (You also need to take vitamin B12).

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