Endometriosis is a relatively common condition in which the lining of the womb (endometrium) grows outside of the uterus, and invades neighbouring areas such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bowel and bladder. It can cause severe period pain, heavy bleeding and digestive upset along with fertility issues.
Endometriosis is considered to be an autoimmune condition linked to excessive amounts of oestrogen. While those suffering with endometriosis will be under the care of a gynaecologist, there are a number of additional ways you can help your symptoms naturally. 
Acupuncture has been found to be very effective in treating both the symptoms of endometriosis, such as heavy bleeding and period pain, as well as reducing excessive endometrial growth. Your acupuncturist will seek to address both the underlying causes and improve your current symptoms, helping you find a real solution to this chronic condition.
Reduce Exposure to Oestrogen
As endometriosis is thought to be caused by excessive oestrogen, it is wise to reduce exposure to the many sources of environmental hormones we face today. Many chemicals mimic the action of oestrogen in the body, and are referred to as xenoestrogens. BPA, found in plastic bottles and tin cans is one source, as are many cosmetic and personal hygiene ingredients such a parabens, and household cleaning and laundry products containing pthalates.
You should filter your drinking water to remove chemicals, and eat only organic foods, especially meat and dairy. Avoid soy products, flaxseed and any herb that has hormonal effects unless recommended by a professional. Not only will you be reducing your exposure to environmental oestrogen, but you will also be reducing the toxins that your liver has to eliminate. And as the liver is the main organ responsible for hormonal regulation, this can only be a good thing.
Castor Oil Packs
A very easy treatment that can be done in at home while you have you feet up! Castor oil is used to improve circulation, and is an old remedy for constipation. Naturopaths use castor oil packs to alleviate areas of local stagnation and improve circulation. The castor oil pack is made by simply soaking a face cloth in castor oil, place it over the lower abdomen and cover with a hot water bottle (it is helpful to place some cling film between the face cloth and hot water bottle to seal in the oil). You can leave the castor oil pack in place for 20 minutes to several hours. This can be done daily, but is best avoided during menstruation or after ovulation if you are trying to conceive.
Fiona O'Farrell is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Naturopath. She runs The Gate Clinic in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. See www.thegateclinic.ie for more information. 
Natural Health Therapist