Dr. Donata Girolamo, ND
Endometriosis is a condition resulting from the appearance of endometrial tissue outside the uterus which causes pelvic pain. It is estimated that 50% of women suffering from infertility have endometriosis.1 This inflammatory tissue often becomes scar tissue on the ovaries and fallopian tubes and can prevent pregnancy. Some women suffer from symptoms such as pain before, during and between periods, irregular cycles, painful intercourse and infertility, and some women may have endometriosis with no symptoms.1
Some causes may be:
- Altered immune function
- Exposure to environmental chemicals that mimic estrogen, like dioxin
- Increased free radicals (oxidative stress)
- Retrograde bleeding
- Qi and blood stagnation (Chinese medicine)
- Estrogen dominance
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Environmental estrogens through food sources; meat, dairy
- Increased body fat
- Lack of exercise
- Poor liver function
- Bowel toxicity and constipation
- Dysbiosis – imbalance in bowel flora
Strategies of treatment may include increasing elimination of toxic compounds through bowels and liver, exercise, vegetarian-esque diet, increased fiber, regulation of the glands for hormonal balancing, acupuncture, and balancing the bowel flora. Specifically, the herb turmeric inactivates environmental estrogens, supports liver detoxification, and decreases inflammation. Ground flaxseed displaces strong estrogens and cleanses the bowel. Unheated flaxseed oil added to salads and veggies, or in capsule form, decreases inflammation too. Add one cup of beans per day to your diet to encourage the elimination of estrogen.1
Melatonin, while most commonly known for promoting sleep, is a powerful antioxidant with many uses. It decreases the number of estrogen receptors, thereby helping those with endometriosis decrease their estrogen load. Meditation has been shown to increase melatonin. Adopting a meditation practice not only helps with pain tolerance, it will help increase melatonin naturally. Research has shown that 3 months of yoga and meditation significantly increased melatonin.2 Another great anti-oxidant is Alpha lipoic acid which decreases free radicals, which is often a co-factor of endometriosis.
Endometriosis responds very nicely to natural therapies in most cases. Since the pain is not limited to only one week per month, this condition can be very debilitating. Seek help if your menstrual cycle is taking over your life, or if you are suffering from infertility.
After graduating from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree, Dr. Donata Girolamo then pursued her passion for holistic medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, becoming a licensed and registered Naturopathic Doctor.
Dr. Donata Girolamo maintains a private family practice with special interests in fertility and mental wellness. Her mission is to optimize your health care by combining evidence-based medicine with the art and wisdom of traditional medicine. To address your health concerns she uses acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy, nutrition and lifestyle counseling.
She maintains inspired through continuing education, and has extensive training in homeopathy, biotherapeutic drainage, auricular medicine, and medical intuition. She has additional certification in Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome, First Line Therapy; a lifestyle program for weight loss and chronic disease prevention and treatment, and Psychosomatic Energetics. Due to her interest in the link between mind, body and spirit, Dr. Girolamo has taken intensive courses in Vipassana and Mindfulness meditation, and mind-body medicine through The Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body medicine.
She is certified by the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy Naturopathy and an active member of The Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors, the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, and the Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors. She is a regular contributor to Health Wellness and Safety magazine, and has written for Canadian Health and Lifestyle. She is a guest speaker at Niagara College, teaching stress management with meditation, and is active in the community, giving health talks to groups like Run Girl Run, Happy Hearts, Niagara Pain Program, and Form Fitness. She is appearing in a fertility segment on CHCH news, and has been interviewed on 610 CKTB newstalk radio regarding menopause. Understanding and sharing the body’s wisdom is not only a passion, but her calling.
- Kaur, SD, Dean, C, Danylak-Arhanic, M. The complete natural medicine guide to women’s health. In The complete natural medicine guide to women’s health. Toronto: R. Rose; 2005: 360–365.
- Harinath, K, Malhotra, AS, Pal, K, et al. Effects of Hatha Yoga and Omkar Meditation on Cardiorespiratory Performance, Psychologic Profile, and Melatonin Secretion. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2004;10(2):261–268. doi:10.1089/107555304323062257.