As many as one in 10 women suffer from the symptoms of endometriosis. The condition affects the female reproductive system and can be quite painful. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for endometriosis, but there are some things you can do to relieve the symptoms. Continue reading to learn more about milk thistle and endometriosis, and how it can help you get relief.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is the result of a hormonal imbalance caused by excess estrogen. During the menstrual cycle, the ovaries produce hormones that tell the uterus when it’s time to prepare the uterine lining for an egg and possible pregnancy. If there is no pregnancy, menstruation occurs, and the lining is shed.
When a woman has endometriosis, uterine lining tissue, called endometrium, grows on the outside of the uterus and sometimes on the ovaries, bowel, and in the abdomen. This tissue also responds to the hormonal signals coming from the ovaries, thickening and then shedding along with the uterine lining.
Unfortunately, this endometrial tissue is trapped in the body with no way to escape. This can lead to pain, chronic inflammation, and other symptoms, which may continue to get worse over time.
Milk Thistle and Endometriosis: Why it Helps
So, how can milk thistle help with endometriosis? Milk thistle is an herb that contains an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substance called silymarin. Milk thistle can help to relieve the inflammation and pain caused by endometriosis.
Milk thistle also helps to detoxify the liver and remove excess estrogen, which could help to prevent and relieve endometriosis. The lesions caused by endometriosis require oxygen for growth and development, so promoting detoxification by the liver is crucial for relieving and preventing endometriosis.
Is Milk Thistle a Safe Treatment for Endometriosis?
If you’re wondering about milk thistle and endometriosis, safety is probably a top concern. You’ll be happy to know that milk thistle is considered to be safe for healthy individuals, even when taken over a long period. Side effects may include nausea, bloating, and diarrhea, but they are rare and are usually associated with overdosing. If you have a health condition, such as diabetes, or take medication, you should always consult with your doctor before taking this or any other supplement.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Endometriosis causes a wide variety of symptoms related to the female reproductive system. Painful periods, heavy periods, and bleeding between periods are three of the most common. Infertility issues go hand in hand with endometriosis, and many women aren’t diagnosed until they seek treatment for infertility.
Some women also experience pain or cramping during intercourse, pelvic exams, urination, or bowel movements. Painful digestion, lower abdominal pain, chronic fatigue, lower back pain, constipation, bloating, nausea, and bloody urination are other possible symptoms of endometriosis.
Although most women experience some degree of cramping during menstruation, endometriosis results in pain that is much more severe. The pain often increases over time In many cases, endometriosis is mistakenly diagnosed as ovarian cysts, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Other Supplements to Relieve the Symptoms of Endometriosis
If you are suffering from the symptoms of endometriosis, the first thing you should do is see your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis. Although there is no cure for this condition, the symptoms are very similar to other conditions which may require different treatment, so a definitive diagnosis is important.
In addition to taking milk thistle, several other supplements may relieve the pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis.
- Make the switch to an anti-inflammatory diet. Anti-inflammatory foods include leafy greens, ginger, berries, beets, and fatty fish. You can read our complete guide to an anti-inflammatory diet right here.
- Much like milk thistle and endometriosis, evening primrose oil is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. It may also reduce the growth of abnormal tissue, reduce pain, and help to balance the hormones
- Probiotics are crucial for assisting the gut with detoxifying, including removing excess hormones such as estrogen from the body.
- Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids can also be beneficial for relieving pain and inflammation, as well as supporting the immune system.
- Including vitamin B6 in your personalized multivitamin each day supports progesterone production while helping the liver eliminate excess estrogen.
- Curcumin, a component of the spice turmeric, is also beneficial for relieving the pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis.
- N-acetylcysteine, or NAC, is a powerful detoxifier and antioxidant for the liver.
- If you’re trying to conceive, L-carnitine may help because the body uses it to convert fat into energy. L-carnitine supports pregnancy by increasing egg health and decreasing the death of embryonic cells.
- Diindolylmethane, or DIM, is a substance found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. It has anti-inflammatory properties and may also be metabolized in the same way as estrogen. Low doses of DIM could assist with the removal of excess estrogen from the body.
- Castor oil and clary sage can be applied topically to reduce pain, inflammation, and cramping.
Milk Thistle and Endometriosis: Final Thoughts
Milk thistle plays a key role in preventing and reducing the symptoms of endometriosis by supporting liver function. The liver has the important job of detoxifying the body, and that includes removing excess estrogen. Milk thistle also reduces inflammation throughout the body, which means it can help to relieve the pain caused by endometriosis.