The Relationship Between Endometriosis, Inflammation and Diet

Inflammation is the body’s way of protecting itself from infection. In response to a virus or bacteria, the body makes white blood cells, which activate inflammatory cytokines that help protect the body from these foreign substances. This reaction causes increased blood flow to the injury or area and can leak into the tissue causes swelling. This process also stimulates nerves and can cause pain.

The body’s immune response to having endometriosis in the pelvic cavity is peritoneal inflammation.  Because endometriosis is not native to the body, the immune system puts up a war. In endometriosis patients, an increased level of inflammatory cytokines and other inflammatory mediators are found in the peritoneal fluid. The presence of inflammatory cytokines in the peritoneal fluid can have a profound impact on a patient’s fertility. These inflammatory mediators can also promote the spreading of new blood vessels at the site of the lesions in the surrounding tissue.   This local inflammation can also produce scar tissue, which then in turn can connect to other locally inflamed areas creating adhesions. Endometriosis can cause excessive free radical activity in the body leading to oxidative stress.  This can cause patients to feel generally unwell, have headaches and can even cause depression. Excision surgeon, Dr. Tamer Seckin, has found that removal of the endometriosis through excision surgery and any related scar tissue and adhesions, significantly reduces inflammatory symptoms in his patients as well as increases their fertility.

Another inflammatory disease that often concurs with endometriosis is interstitial cystitis. IC is a chronic inflammatory condition of the bladder. Symptoms of IC are bladder pressure, bladder pain and sometimes even pelvic pain. Also patients with IC often feel the need to urinate quite often, even when their bladder isn’t full. It can be a painful and debilitating disease that can affect a patient’s quality of life.

Along with complete excision of the disease, Dr. Seckin firmly believes in the endodiet to help endometriosis patients reduce their inflammatory symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. The endodiet includes staying away from gluten, soy and dairy products, along with making sure to try and eat organic foods. To help with IC, patients often are told to participate in an elimination diet of a seemingly vast majority of foods. Patients then slowly start introducing new foods one week at a time to see if it is an irritant. Many patients who suffer with these conditions talk about how eating right can vastly improve their symptoms, or make their symptoms so much worse. It is clear that nutrition directly correlates to a patient’s quality of life.

Can a serving of broccoli a day really keep the inflammation away? Many in the medical profession believe that anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce free radical activity in the body and reduce inflammation.  Researchers in Mexico City did a study and found that endometriosis patients who followed a high antioxidant diet for 3 months had less inflammatory markers in their blood analysis.

Listed below are 5 foods that have been proven to reduce inflammation and are safe for both the endodiet and the IC diet.

  1. Broccoli: This highly nutritious vegetable has both anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer phytonutrients. Broccoli is also said to be effective at battling allergies. To get the most out of your broccoli consumption, steam it for only five minutes to keep nutrients in. Also eating broccoli 2-3 times a week can help maximize its’ benefits.
  2. Almonds: Almonds are rich in fiber, calcium and vitamin D. They also are packed with anti-oxidants which help the body repair damage caused by inflammation. Seeing as dairy and soy milk can often be inflammatory and are not part of the endodiet, almond milk works as a great substitute even in cooking and baking!
  3. Blueberries: Because berries are so high in anti-oxidants, they are natural anti-inflammatory agents. Though, for many IC patients, delicious raspberries and strawberries are on the “do not eat list” and can be irritating.  But, most IC patients can tolerate blueberries! Blueberries are jammed packed with phytonutrients. Studies done by the New Zealand Institute of Food and Plant Research have even found them to be especially good for intestinal inflammation.
  4. Garlic: This strong tasting vegetable is seen to have incredible immunity boosting properties. Throughout the ages, garlic has always been used to ward off various infections. According to the University of Maryland’s Alternative Medicine Guide, “Garlic is rich in antioxidants. In your body, harmful particles called free radicals build up as you age… Antioxidants like those found in garlic fight off free radicals, and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage caused over time.”
  5. Avocados: These delicious fruits are packed with multiple phytonutrients and are seen as an anti-inflammatory super star. Adding avocados to salads or eating them plain with a little olive oil and sea salt can help your body fight off the symptoms of inflammation.

 

There is really no substitute for complete excision surgery when it comes to having a patient find relief from the inflammation, adhesions and scar tissue that endometriosis can cause. But, Dr. Seckin believes that following the endodiet and finding other foods that boost your body’s natural healing abilities, can only improve a patient’s quality of life.

Casey Berna is a patient of Dr. Seckin’s and an endometriosis and infertility counselor and advocate. To learn more about her story and her practice go to www.CaseyBerna.com.  If you are a patient of Dr. Seckin’s and want to share your story please contact Casey at casey@drseckin.com

 

 

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Patient Reviews

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  • Rebecca Black

    Fast forward 5 years to find out incidentally I had a failing kidney. My left kidney was only functioning at 18%. During this time, I was preparing all my documents to send to Dr. Seckin to review. However, with this new information I put everything on hold and went to a urologist. After a few months, no one could figure…

  • Monique Roberts

    I'll never stop praising Dr. Seckin and his team. He literally gave me back my life.

  • Erin Brehm

    I had a wonderful experience working with Dr. Seckin and his team before, during and after my surgery. I came to Dr. Seckin having already had laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis 5 years prior, with a different surgeon. My symptoms and pain had returned, making my life truly challenging and my menstrual cycle unbearable. Dr. Seckin was quick to validate my…

  • Anita Schillhorn

    I came to Dr. Seckin after years of dealing with endometriosis and doctors who didn't fully understand the disease. He quickly ascertained what needed to be done, laid out the options along with his recommendation and gave me the time to make the right decision for me. My surgery went without a hitch and I'm healing very well. He and…

  • Nicholette Sadé

    Dr. Seckin brought me back to life! I am now 3 weeks into my recovery after my laparoscopy surgery, and I feel like a new and improved woman! Being diagnosed with Endometriosis, then 25yrs old in 2015, and discovering the severity of my case being stage 4, made me devastated. Dr. Seckin's vast knowledge of the disease, sincere empathy, and…

  • Jason Curry

    My wife had her laparoscopic excision surgery to remove endometriosis with Dr. Seckin on Jan 30, 2014. She doesn't write online reviews so I'm writing this on her behalf. I accompanied her with each office visit she had. The staff--Lucy and Kim, are very friendly, warm and professional. Dr. Seckin was excellent in every capacity. He spent a lot of…

  • Liz Filippelli

    He is an awesome doctor who saved my daughters life from debilitating endometriosis..she knew instantly upon awaking from surgery that she was better..that wad May and no complaints only praises for Dr. Wonderful Seckin!!

  • Karen N

    I was diagnosed with Endometriosis at 19. I saw several Endometriosis "Specialists" since then, had a few laproscopic surgeries to "remove" the endometriosis and continued to be in pain. I had a hysterectomy in 2012 and was told this would stop the pain once and for all. No such luck! Tired of spending days in bed with a heating pad,…

  • Lauren Rodriguez

    I researched and found Dr. Seckin after dealing with years of doctors who couldn't help me or refused to go the extra mile for their patients. I have to say I am truly blessed to have found such a compassionate and talented doctor. He is exquisite with everything he does, and both his team at the office and surgical team…

  • Kellya Vespa

    Dr. Seckin is a very skilled surgeon. There are not many doctors like him that truly understand the effects of endometriosis. I am lucky to have found him. The staff is wonderful too.

  • Meg Connolly

    Dr. Seckin truly LOVES what he does and cares about his patients from the bottom of his heart. My life has already changed in 3 weeks and I couldn’t be more grateful. Should I ever need another operation for endometriosis, Dr. Seckin will be the one to do it. I recommend him to anyone I come across with similar problems…

  • Elisandra O

    Dr. Seckin is an amazing Doctor he is very compassionate, caring and he will be honest with you. He's been my doctor for 19yrs and I am so grateful to have someone taking care of me that knows what he is doing and knows the best way to treat each and every situation. I would definitely recommend him and his…