8-Point Body Detox For Endometriosis
We are surrounded by toxins and heavy metals and deal with them every day, dozens to hundreds of times. From the water we drink and wash ourselves in, our toiletries and cleaning products to the food we consume, the containers we buy and store them in, not to mention the air we breathe thousands of times a day. Along with proper diet, supplementation, and exercise, detoxing is probably one of the most crucial elements in managing endometriosis.
Detoxing can help you with many endo-related symptoms
Reducing the toxic load that you put on your body is vital if you want to give it a fighting chance to clear up your endo and reduce your symptoms. It’s not easy to do it all at once. Still, knowledge is power. The more you know of how you can improve the environment you live in and start taking small steps towards minimizing your exposure to toxins and cleansing your body regularly from the build-up, the better off you are going to be with your symptoms and general health.
Our bodies detox on an ongoing basis, through our skin, lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys. Without those organs and the heavy detoxification work that they so heroically perform, we wouldn’t last for very long. In the current day and age, where toxins bombard us in the food, air, and water (not too mention toxic emotions), we need to help our body get on the right track so that it is in the best possible shape in dealing with these attackers.
6 benefits of doing a body and mind detox
- Cleanse your liver
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve your digestion
- Boost your energy levels
- Get better quality sleep
- Clear your skin
Now, who wouldn’t want all six of those fantastic benefits right away, all of which are so relevant for endo women? This is why I’m giving you the 8 Point Body Detox so that you have a reference tool to check what you can do now to help yourself with your endo symptoms and clean the “dirt” from your body regularly.
8 ways to detox your body and protect it from toxic exposure
- Practice intermittent fasting
- Avoid plastics
- Eat organically
- Filter your water
- Choose safe beauty & cleaning products
- Add detoxing herbs & spices to your diet
- Detox through regular exercise
- Let go of toxic emotions
1. Give your body a break
One of the best ways to give your body a rest from processing and digesting all the food in your gut is by introducing intermittent fasting. Many women that have endometriosis are actually of lighter weight, so heavy fasting or being on a water/juice fast might be too much for someone whose weight is already at or under their recommended BMI rate (You can check your BMI rate HERE). In my endometriosis journey, I have found intermittent fasting quite helpful. The beauty of it was I didn’t have to starve myself for days, while still giving my body enough time to work on fixing itself beyond concentrating only on digestion.
What can you do?
One of the intermittent fasting methods that I found helpful was the 16/8 method. Using this method, you give your body circa 16 hours to rest from digestion and only drink non-sugary drinks (water, herbal teas) while during the 8-hour window you eat. In practice, it means that you skip breakfast and not eat your first meal until noon (if you are a breakfast person you can shift your eating hours from 9-5 pm). After that you eat good, wholesome food throughout the day until 8 pm (which is your last meal of the day). That way, you give your body a full 16-hour window of fasting. Of course, there are also other fasting methods, like a juice fast, water fast, alternate day fasting and many others, so it should be picked individually and best consulted with a dietician. But if you want to simply give your body a break once to a few times a week in the least invasive way, I wholeheartedly recommend you try out the 16/8 method. If this doesn’t work for you or you are keen to explore other options, you can read more about them check out the 6 popular ways to do intermittent fasting.
2. Plastics begone
Plastics are everywhere. Our supermarket store shelves are overloaded with plastic containers, many of which are very harmful to us. One of those harmful components is BPA – otherwise called Bisphenol A, a common building block for some types of plastic. BPA is considered a xenoestrogen due to its endocrine disruptor function in the body. It acts like a hormone as it interacts with estrogen receptors and can also stimulate estrogen production. It has also been shown that higher urinary BPA levels are associated with increased risk of non-ovarian pelvic endometriosis (1).
Products that contain BPA are canned foods (most cans are lined with BPA), sports water bottles, hard food and beverage containers, and cash register receipts (yes, beware of the cashier who hands you a receipt)!
What can you do?
- Avoid buying canned foods
- Store your food in glass containers
- Replace your sports water bottle with a glass or BPA-free one
- Don’t heat your food in plastic containers
- Say “no thanks” to cash receipts or wash your hands quickly after handling one
3. Eat clean
The food industry is not what it used to be during our grandparents’ or even our parents’ time. Most non-organic foods are now heavily sprayed with pesticide and herbicide mostly to increase food production for higher profits. Majority of those pesticides, herbicides, and waxes that are used on our fruits and vegetables (not to mention hormones injected in our dairy and meat) are incredibly harmful to our body and have not only been linked to disruption of the endocrine system, miscarriages, congenital disabilities, but also skin conditions, depression, cancer and neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease (2).
What can you do?
The most obvious and simple answer is – eat organically. If you live in a city and cannot grow your own food or get organic produce from your local store, try a farmers market. If you definitely cannot afford organic veggies, the least you can do is use an Organic Veggie Wash before you consume your fruits and vegetables. In addition, you can follow the Environmental Working Group (EWC) recommendation to split your grocery shop by following the DIRTY 12 and CLEAN 15 lists to select which fruits/veggies you should buy organic. You can print the list and hang it for example on your fridge. Get your printable PDF copy of this list here.
4. Drink clean
It is no news to anyone that the majority of tap water that we drink and cook with even in first-world countries is polluted with chlorine, harmful organic compounds, and heavy metals. The most common heavy metal pollutants are arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, nickel, lead, and mercury. In small amounts, certain heavy metals such as zinc, copper, chromium, iron, and manganese are required by the human body. Their excess, however, can be extremely harmful and cause a variety of short term and long term adverse effects.
In a study done by the Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland, it was confirmed that acute and chronic heavy metal exposure significantly increases the risk of immunodeficiency, issues with reproductive health, and estrogen-dependent diseases such as breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and endometriosis. Out of these metals, cadmium showed to be the most detrimental to female reproductive health as it is considered to act as a metalloestrogen. It has the ability to join the estrogen receptors and stimulate them, and simultaneously, cadmium can also up-regulate progesterone receptors (3). Even though cigarette smoking is considered a significant source of cadmium exposure, this heavy metal and others pollute the water we drink.
What can you do?
- Buy a good water filter for your tap water, one that can not only eliminate chlorine, particles, and waterborne organisms but can also effectively filter out heavy metals. I use a Coway water system similar to this one offered by Amazon.
- If you are unsure what’s in your water and want to test it first, you can buy a home testing kit and send it to a specialized lab to verify what runs in your tap. You can also get a self-testing kit, but keep in mind that the results might not be as accurate.
- Never drink from a plastic water bottle that has been exposed to the sun! That’s a big NO, NO! Whether you are drinking from a one-time use PET bottle or a BPA one, by allowing it to heat up in the sun, you are letting the chemical components such as antimony or higher levels of BPA leach into your drinking water.
Having lived in various hot countries and climates, I always go for a reusable glass bottle to store my water in and recommend that you do the same. No reason for those extra toxins to get into the body, right?
5. You are what you rub into your skin
You go to any pharmacy or a beauty shop and are bombarded by creams, lotions, and all sorts of potions to keep your skin looking younger, more nourished, moist, energized, full of glow, vibrant, and simply put…looking amazing. Marketing and big bucks aside, apart from worrying whether the product works as endo women, we should also be particularly vigilant of the most critical thing of all: whether the cosmetic we use doesn’t pollute us and negatively affect our reproductive organs.
That’s right, ladies, some of your beloved top brands are more harmful to you than you realize and not only add to your path of Endoville but might also potentially cause other health issues down the road. That is unless you remove them from your bathroom cabinet completely. The most common and damaging ingredients found in cosmetics include parabens, phthalates, SLS, triclosan & triclocarban, BHA, polyethylene glycols (PEG), synthetic colors and fragrances all of which show to have allergic or toxic properties. We all heard of parabens and SLS, and thankfully a lot of brands (including the big ones) are releasing their organic lines of shampoos, creams, etc. that no longer contain them. However, you will probably be surprised to know that phthalates, which can be found in plastic wrap and wood furnishing, are often an ingredient of your cosmetics. A study done on U.S women found an increase endometriosis risk with higher urinary concentrations of phthalates (mono-benzyl and mono-ethyl phthalate) suggesting that phthalates may alter the risk of hormonally-mediated diseases in women. (4)
What can you do?
- Clean up your cabinet from all the products that have harmful chemicals in them
- When washing the dishes, cleaning your house etc. always use rubber gloves
- Buy safe, reputable bio cosmetics, and cleaning supplies. You can check the level of their toxicity by checking EWG’s Skin Deep Website, which gives the rating for each product. Currently, their database contains over 86,000 products and is continuously growing. Try out their handy EWG Healthy Living app as well to be informed on the go!
- Make your own cleaning supplies and cosmetics using quality essential oils like doTERRA that are CPTG (Certified Pure Tested Grade) and suitable for topical and internal use.
6. The magical detoxing herbs
One word – Turmeric. A word that I keep repeating over and over again in my articles is one of the best detoxing spices out there and should be used regularly in your cooking if not with every meal. All thanks to its ingredient called curcumin – a potent phytochemical that stimulates bile production by the gallbladder, which in turn eliminates toxins in the liver and rejuvenates cells that break down harmful compounds.
However, herbs such as dandelion and milk thistle can also have a remarkable effect on the liver that, as we know, does the majority of our body detoxing, especially when it comes to getting rid of excess estrogens but also xenoestrogens and other toxins contained in food and water. Silymarin found in milk thistle is considered one of the most commonly used medications for various liver diseases as it exhibits hepatoprotective and regenerative properties. Thanks to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antifibrotic properties, it is the most widely used natural compound for the treatment of hepatic diseases worldwide (5). Another great herb, especially for heavy metal detoxing, is cilantro, often used in the Mexican kitchen and easily incorporated into dips, sandwiches and green smoothies.
What can you do?
- Use turmeric in your cooking often, adding pepper and a dash of oil will increase its bioavailability even by 2000% (6)
- Buy milk thistle powder (or seeds to grind yourself). Add it to your favorite dishes starting with gluten-free breakfast oatmeal. You can get your seeds on Amazon.
- Add cilantro to your sandwiches, dips (like hummus or guacamole) and green smoothies.
Drink dandelion root or flower tea. You can also pick dandelion leaves, add them to your salad, or dry them and grind into a powder. You can find out more about it and other herbal remedies on my Endo360Help Facebook Page. Follow me to get regular updates.
7. Sweat your stress away
The largest organ in our body is our skin, through which we eliminate toxins. When the colon and kidneys cannot handle all of the toxic waste, some of it gets “pushed” through our skin with sweat. It is therefore essential to do regular exercise to promote this level of detoxification. In addition, during exercise, the body releases chemicals called endorphins that not only make you feel good but also interact with the brain to block the feeling of pain.
What can you do?
- Light exercise such as a walk, yoga or QiGong, helps to ensure that every cell in your body gets the proper amount of oxygen and blood flow. As a result, you will not only tone your muscles but also improve your sleep, reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Specific exercise moves that target the lymph nodes, liver, spleen and kidneys detoxification might be helpful – Try out my QiGong Detox Flow on YouTube that targets these key areas.
- Infrared, dry and steam saunas can work wonders to release toxins from the body.
Taking hot baths in Epsom salt with addition of fresh ginger can also do the trick, especially in the winter months.
8. Detox your emotions
Being sick with endometriosis causes all kinds of emotions in us. Many of us go through waves of anger, frustration, overthinking, and grief related to the direct symptoms and consequences that endometriosis puts on emotional and physical health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, five main “Zang” organs are associated with Yin energy. These include the heart, spleen, lung, kidney, and liver and six secondary “Fu” organs related to the Yang energy.
The main organs responsible for detoxing apart from the skin are liver, spleen, and kidneys, with the liver being the main organ responsible for the removal of excess estrogen from the body, so prevalent in endometriosis. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, to get our body back to balance the Yin and Yang forces have to counterbalance each other. When there is access to one of them in either food, lifestyle, or emotions, this balance will be disturbed, and disease will manifest. Furthermore, it is believed that each of the organs is affected by a particular emotion.
For example, the liver is the organ that is most affected by excess stress and direct feelings of anger, which can weaken its detoxifying function. According to TCM, stress impairs the free flow of Qi that is closely related to blood. The liver stores blood and the Qi is interconnected with the proper blood flow. Hence why it has such a vital function in all of these aspects when it comes to health. Spleen, on the other hand, is affected by feelings of anxiety, worry, and overthinking, which, together with its Fu organ – the stomach weakens the digestive ability of the body to properly absorb nutrients from food and produce new blood post cycle. Lastly, feelings of chronic fear affect the kidneys, which are also the powerhouse of Qi, crucial to circulating energy in the body. Their improper functioning can directly affect insufficient water removal from the tissues in the body, which not only brings about the feeling of being bloated but also causes overall dampness in the body, making matters worse.
All of these emotions that so often accompany being sick with endometriosis further worsen the disease and create a vicious circle. That’s why it is extremely crucial to work on your emotions daily to detox from all the feelings of anger, anxiety, sadness, and fear that closely accompany this disease. Yes, it is difficult to keep happy and positive when you are aching all over, but remember that the state of your mind can very much affect how your body deals with the disease and the pain as well.
What can you do?
- If you have any unresolved issues with your family, friends that bring you the feelings of anger or frustration, write them down on a piece of paper. Compile a list of all the people that ever wronged you in your life and shortly described how they did it. Perhaps some things frustrate you about yourself? Put it all on paper; it is a great way to detox and bring those emotions forward. Once you have a list compiled, you can do a ceremonial burning of this piece of paper to start living free from these burdens. There is no point thinking about the past, or beating yourself up for things you did or didn’t do. Bring it out of you, burn it and move on (the burning part is crucial as it is physical evidence of turning whatever you carried inside of you into ashes).
- Write a letter to your endometriosis as if you were confronting a person. List all the things that it did to you, the pain and problems it’s causing you, and the emotions it triggers. Tell it exactly what you think of it taking part of your life away, be frank and upfront about it. You can also keep a regular endo journal where you can keep track of your physical state (your symptoms) and your emotional state (how it makes you feel emotionally on a daily/monthly basis).
- Whenever you are feeling down or depressed and feel that the negativity is taking over you mind, try to visualize that you are swallowing a “happy pill” so that you cannot feel anything else, but happiness and gratitude. Writing a daily gratitude journey even for the smallest things you are thankful for can also be quite helpful and allow you to see your life from a different perspective.
- See a psychologist that specializes in chronic diseases. It can help talk to a professional who has experience dealing with people in such difficult situations and knows how to guide their emotions. Even a few sessions can improve your state of mind if you find you struggle to handle your emotions on your own.
Food for Thought
Endometriosis is a complex disease requiring an array of different measures to target all of the areas that can affect its growth and spread. Most importantly, it requires detoxing our entire lives from head to toe from the things we eat, drink, use, and think about ourselves. Detoxing our body in the key areas and starting with the regular use of natural remedies while remembering to keeping our minds relaxed, clear and focused is one of the best ways we can feel empowered in our path to reducing our symptoms and feeling better one day, one period at a time.