Have you been diagnosed with IBS and Endometriosis? Are you wondering what the link is and how each of these conditions impacts the other? Here is an explanation…
Endometriosis: How Does it Work?
The basic low-down is this: Endometriosis is a condition in which your endometrial lining (the bloody uterine tissue that you shed when you have a period) is growing outside your uterus.
No-one really knows how this happens or what triggers this situation. What we do know is that it’s genetic. This means if the women in your family have endometriosis, you’re at higher risk of getting it.
Other Key Aspects of Endometriosis
a) it’s driven by hormone imbalance
b) it’s accompanied by immune dysregulation
Endometriosis is diagnosed with a keyhole surgery called a laparoscopy. A gynaecologist will have a look around inside your abdomen with a tiny camera. If they find endometrial tissue where it doesn’t belong, this confirms the diagnosis.
Endometriosis and IBS: The Impact
Remember how the endometrial lining grows outside the uterus when you have endometriosis? This means that the endometrial lining can grow anywhere in your body!
This “anywhere”, in a lot of cases, can be in the bowel!
There is no doubt at all that endometrial tissue in the bowel will have an impact on your IBS symptoms. If there is a physical obstruction, that causes an inflammatory response in your bowel. This leads to pain, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhoea. That’s a crappy way to spend 1-2 weeks of the month!
Hormone Imbalance and The Gut
Hormones in the body have a strong impact on digestive health and vice-versa.
When our hormones change throughout the month, this can impact our microbiome and our immune system. Have you ever dealt with an IBS and hayfever flare at the same time, right before your period? What about sugar cravings? All of this is linked with dysbiosis and the impact of hormonal changes on your gut.
Because of this hormone/gut relationship and the fact that Endometriosis is driven by hormone imbalance, it makes sense that this impacts IBS. Oestrogen is, in turn, also heavily impacted by the microbiome, which means IBS will also impact your Endometriosis.
Dysbiosis causes all kinds of issues with your hormones, too; most importantly oestrogen. There is a part of the microbiome called the Oestrolobiome. The Oestrolobiome is what impacts the metabolism of oestrogen.
A healthy Oestrolobiome is very important for supporting hormone balance and controlling endometriosis!
What Your Doctor Will Do
First and foremost, your medical team (GP, Gynaecologist and Gastroenterologist if you have one) will work together to diagnose you via laparoscopy. During the laparoscopy, there will usually be a removal of endometrial growth.
This will result in a dramatic decrease in pain and IBS symptoms for 6 months to a year.
Your medical team will also prescribe the Contraceptive Pill to manage the symptoms of Endometriosis. This does work, but it’s a Band-aid solution. They’ll prescribe it to “balance your hormones”, but that’s not truly what it does. Most importantly, it not an option at all if you’re trying to conceive (it is a contraceptive, after all).
Taking The Pill is your choice and if you’re happy to remain on The Pill, I support you in that informed decision. The most important thing is for you to be able to experience vitality in your life. It’s my job to help you in that process!
As always, a holistic approach is needed for both Endometriosis and IBS to be managed naturally. There are plenty of herbs we can use and diet changes you can make to support your oestrolobiome. Also, if you choose, we can also achieve hormonal balance without you needing the Contraceptive Pill! This means that if you’re trying to conceive, there are ways to support balanced hormones and your IBS without compromising your fertility!
By booking your FREE 15-Minute Gut Health Assessment right now, you and I can get to know where you’re at with your hormonal and digestive health. I’ll ask you all about how this impacts your everyday life, and then we can begin the business of getting you back to enjoying life!
Nutritionist & Naturopath