Endometriosis can have a devastating effect on the quality of life due its severely painful symptoms. It is one of the biggest cause of infertility in females and it carries a huge personal and social cost.
We are learning more every day about the causes and drivers of this life-altering disease.
The gut microbiome is now known to have a profound effect on endometriosis. Apart from its effect on estrogen metabolism and excretion, the gut microbiome also supports a healthy immune response, maintains a healthy gut wall and minimising inflammation.
Research between 2015 and 2019 has developed a new concept in the understanding of endometriosis- called the “bacterial contamination hypothesis”.
This concept describes the connection of endometriosis to a substance called LPS (lipopolysaccharide). Briefly, LPS is normally found in the gut- it is a part of bacterial membranes in gram negative bacteria such as E.coli.
When LPS is found outside of the gut it has been associated with many diseases, such as- Alzheimers, MS, IBD, diabetes, depression and many autoimmune diseases. When LPS get into the bloodstream it can cause inflammation and promote the growth of new endometriosis lesions.
Further supporting this hypothesis is the fact that LPS is found at high concentrations in the menstrual blood and peritoneal fluids of women with endometriosis.
The next question is- how are E. coli related LPS getting into the pelvis? Studies are suggesting that leaky gut (increased intestinal permeability) is the source of these bacterial endotoxins.
WHAT TO DO...
To remove this driver of endometriosis;
We need to –
Heal the gut lining to reduce the entry of LPS into the bloodstream and pelvic cavity.
Support a healthy gut microbiome to manage inflammation and a healthy immune response.
Consider anti-microbial therapy to resolve the bacterial overgrowth in the gut lowering the load of LPS.
Below are some of the options I use successfully with my patients.
- Maintaining a diet low in FODMAP foods
- Boosting glutamine and collagen to support better gut repair
- Maintaining a mainly dairy free, wheat free diet.
- Nutritionals supplementation – Zinc and n-Acetyl Cysteine,
- Berberine rich herbs for the antimicrobial effect and to neutralize the LPS.
Try not to feel overwhelmed, an experienced practitioner can successfully guide you through these steps and help relieve symptoms, and change the future of your journey with endometriosis.
Reach out if you are ready to discover and direct the drivers of your endometriosis.