Gynaecological health and nutrition.

So, this morning I went and finally got myself some professional website profile shots done with good friend, photographer and author of the Bare Reality series Laura Dodsworth. We had amazingly in depth conversations about the books, photography, relationships, sexuality and health. While discussing my interest in female health and fertility I was told about author Dian Mills, a lead nutritionist at the Endometriosis and Fertility Clinic in London and Sussex. Mills’ book: Endometriosis: A Key to Healing And Fertility Through Nutrition” primarily focuses on healing the mentioned condition but as many gynae conditions are brought on my hormonal dysfunctions the nutritional advice is said to be very effective for poly-cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and other female health complications. 

Having been diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 26 and confirmed via ultrasound at 30, I have been very curious about how this condition and other gynae conditions can be managed or treated without the use of prescribed medications. I have spoken with other clinicians and complementary therapists previously so I am aware that nutrition can play a key part in healing the body but perhaps my patience hasn’t been an ally in my quest for healing.

Mills states in her presentation How can diet impact the symptoms of the disease
endometriosis?:

  • The body is not a set of disparate organs that can be compartmentalised.
  • Body cells work together and have message receptors.
  • We have to work to correct health in the whole body.

As an osteopath it is refreshing to see a nutritionist share similar views on whole body healing.

A couple of years ago I was able to visit physiologist Graeme Jones at the Bowskill Clinic in Marylebone. Graeme performed a number of tests and advised me of a few things. These included:

  • Improving my sleep with a routine and complete darkness.
  • Reducing my grain, sugar, caffeine and alcohol intake.
  • Increasing my filtered water, lean meat, omega 3 fish, green leafy veg and nut intake.
  • Supplement my diet with probiotics (derived from Latin, meaning “for life”).

Now, before meeting Graeme, I was averse to both salad and nuts but somehow (sorcery, I believe) he convinced me to try his suggested methods of serving them. To my surprise and slight horror, it worked and I was happily shoveling bags of babyleaf salad down my previously anti-lettuce throat. Within a couple of months I had noticed a healthy loss of weight, healthier skin, higher energy levels and a seriously improved mood. As with many of my life stories a number of poor choices caused me to abandon this a few months later.

Mills mentions from A prospective study of dietary fat consumption and
endometriosis risk 
(Missmer et al, 2010):

Women whose diets are rich in foods containing omega 3 rich-foods (such as oily fish, walnuts, flax seed oils, hemp oil, nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables), might be less likely to develop endometriosis, whilst those women
whose diets are heavily laden with trans fats might be more likely to develop the disease.

This aligns with what Graeme advised me. Further to this from Guide to Women’s Nutrition: Dietary Advise for Women of all ages (Fredericks, C., 1989):

Excess dairy intake and eggs are felt from research to trigger cysts in some women
Research shows that B vitamins aid the ovaries to control excess oestrogen, but
sugars reduce the ability of B vitamins to work.

Mills’ presentation mentions so much of what I already knew from the delightful Mr Jones but gives the detail I am excited to get my teeth in to (totally intended pun).

If you have been following my posts you are aware that I am also looking in to chronic stress and the conditions associated with it. PTSD was my most recent post and having spoken to other women, there may well be links between emotional trauma and gynaecological conditions, possibly on more of a spiritual level. This could indicate that the phrase “mind over matter” becomes the key to rebalancing the body’s functions by removing negative associations, but that is for another post at another time!

Having been qualified for over a year now I am in a position where my stress levels are much more manageable. This means I can look at my own personal health in depth and as a health professional I am my own advertisement, so by improving my health I will encourage others to do the same.

The past few weeks have seen me increasing my exercise levels but the nutritional and sleep factors are still to be improved upon – all in good time!!

This is a personal journey, but as both PCOS and endometriosis are becoming  more common I hope that by sharing such posts I can help others. This merely scratches the surface and I will be purchasing Mills’ book later this week, for full literary review and personal experimentation.

References:

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