This month writer, actress and all-round bad-ass Lena Dunham announced she would be taking some time out and stepping back from promoting the fifth season of her television series “Girls,” stating ““As many of you know I have endometriosis, a chronic condition that affects approximately 1 in 10 women’s reproductive health. I am currently going through a rough patch with the illness and my body let me know, in no uncertain terms, that it’s time to rest.”
Although Lena has long held my admiration and respect, with this decision she has become, to my mind, a real role model for women everywhere and an honorary Flo-sister! I am a long-time advocate of listening to your body and it is wonderful to hear someone in the public eye highlight the importance of taking time to rest, recuperate and heal. On top of that, she is also drawing much-needed attention to endometriosis and the suffering it can cause women.
Lena shows us all that we can live our dream life and honor what our bodies need, as well as ask that those around us understand and support this choice. That said, it is distressing to hear that she is experiencing so much suffering from her endometriosis that she simply cannot carry on with her work when she might actually need to. It’s particularly distressing to me, because I know that you can do something about endometriosis, the pain and everything that comes along with this health issue.
Why I can relate to Lena’s experience
The thing is, I do know how she feels – although I have not experienced endometriosis myself, my PCOS came with chronic fatigue and depression that forced me to put my life on hold. When your hormones are out of whack it can have profound effects. When it was happening to me, I just knew that it should not be happening. I knew that it was not my “natural” state and instead a result of endocrine disruption from my diet and lifestyle. I knew I could change this for myself.
The great news for Lena here is that like PCOS, Endometriosis is very treatable from a functional medicine standpoint. However, it does need a targeted approach that gets to the root of the autoimmune nature of this condition in order to alleviate the suffering long term. From this perspective I’d like to outline what I would love to tell Lena Dunham, if ever I got the chance to take care of her ovaries! Wouldn’t that be amazing? Here’s a very distilled version of my Flo Living protocol for endometriosis.
For advice on how to talk to your doctor about your endometriosis diagnosis go here.
For advice on specific food strategies to help with endometriosis go here.
The 3 things I’d like to tell Lena Dunham about Endometriosis
With access to some of the best healthcare there is available, I am certain Lena has already undertaken some necessary fundamental changes to her diet and lifestyle in order to heal her endometriosis – this includes cutting out all inflammatory foods sources such as sugar, alcohol, red meat and dairy. As well as looking at all the food she is eating as potential medicine and therapy for her health issue, Lena needs to also be hyper-vigilant about the products she uses on body (shampoos, cosmetics, moisturizers) and in her home (cleaning products, laundry detergent). We are often unaware of the amount of external estrogens (xenoestrogens) we are exposed to on a day-to-day basis, keeping this as a low as possible helps the body process and eliminate excess estrogen more efficiently, which is vital to endometriosis sufferers.
- Endometriosis and your microbiome – the best way for Lena to get her immune system functioning the way it should be is to focus first on healing her microbiome. Probiotics are essential to rebalance the good gut bacteria. A certain set of gut bacteria and more specifically certain bacterial genes, called the estrobolome, produce an essential enzyme that helps metabolize estrogen. Your gut therefore is part of the elimination system that is vital in ushering hormones out of the body. You’ve got to feed your internal ecosystem in the way that promotes the growth of these good bacteria that are there to help take care of you. I would suggest a daily tablespoon or two of fermented foods rich in good bacteria like kimchi and sauerkraut plus a probiotic supplement such as the Stable-Dophilus formula from Jarrow.
- Endometriosis and your liver – the other agent in metabolizing excess estrogen is your liver. Lena’s liver needs to efficiently break down estrogen that is produced by her body and the estrogen she takes in from the outside. It’s important to eat lots of liver-supporting foods that help with your body’s effort to cleanse your system of estrogen-overload. Broccoli contains the phytochemicals sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol and D-glucarate which are critical liver detoxifiers. Beets contain pectin, which is a fiber that removes the toxins processed by the liver so they can be flushed out of the system instead of reabsorbed into the body. Dandelion greens are a diuretic that restore the mineral balance after detoxing our elimination organs. Lemon juice helps the stomach break down food, which leaves less for your liver to do, allowing more energy for estrogen elimination.
- Endometriosis and pain – although pain killers can provide short term relief for some endometriosis sufferers, a long term effective solution can be found in essential fatty acids. Using high amounts of painkillers can put a strain on your liver that feeds the underlying causes of endometriosis. A chemical series called Prostaglandins are what stimulate your uterine muscles to contract and create discomfort. There are 3 types – PgE1,2, and 3. PgE2 is the one that causes uterine contractions and pain. Leave it to the genius design of your body to have only one that does that and two that counteract it – PgE1 and 3 are antispasmodic – natural pain killers! The essential fatty acids found in evening primrose oil and flax seeds increase the production of the two prostaglandins that can prevent contractions that cause the pain.
Help me to help Lena by sharing this post and tagging Ms. Dunham! She is an honorary Flo-sister and I would love to help her get back in her FLO.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you!
First, do you have endometriosis?
Second, have you already cut out red meat, sugar, alcohol and dairy from your diet?
Third, everyone you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social 😉
Need more Hormone Help?
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