Nutritional Supplements

2018, Responses from: Roberta Mek and Clarice Hebblethwaite

Can anyone advise on supplements/vitamins which help with the fatigue (caused by endometriosis)? Or any other treatment?

Roberta Mek: First, I’d like to know what endometriosis symptoms are contributing to your fatigue. In one study fatigue in endometriosis was associated with insomnia, depression, pain, and occupational stress.

As you see, a combination of conditions may be causing a fatigue. Unfortunately, one pill or a supplement will not solve it. We need to look into the whole picture. Dosing on extra vitamins and various supplements without advice of a healthcare professional is not a good idea. In some cases, it may be even harmful.

I’d advise starting with a visit to your GP for basic blood tests to check your blood count, hormone levels, thyroid function and if you are deficient in Iron, Vitamin D, Vitamins B, etc. While you are there, it’s a good idea to check your blood pressure. A low blood pressure may be an additional cause of the fatigue.

If your tests results will show deficiencies – specific vitamins and supplements may be recommended.

Please note, in New Zealand supplements are not regulated. A study by the Liggins Institue showed that some fish oils in New Zealand have been sold rancid. Most often a healthy varied diet is the best way to get nutrition into your body. Obviously, you need to choose a way of eating that works best for you. If you have IBS type symptoms, FODMAP diet may be beneficial. You may wish to consult a dietitian or a nutritionist who is specialising working with endometriosis patients.

Moderate or gentle exercise has been shown to help with a fatigue. If you haven’t exercised for a long time we recommend to start with a gentle 10-15 min. walk.

As acupuncturists, we often see women fatigued from a combination of endometriosis symptoms. Women often can’t sleep because of the pain at night. Of course, when you are tired you will feel pain more acutely during the day as well. Acupuncture may help with a fatigue by elevating a combination of endometriosis symptoms. It has been shown simultaneously to reduce endometriosis-related painanxiety, elevate depression and improve sleep.

Clarice Hebblethwaite: In my experience fatigue is really common for many women with endometriosis but there is no one solution that works for all. The key is to work on identifying the cause of low energy; Is fatigue due to low iron, Vitamin B12 or Folic acid levels? It may be the blood sugar levels are not even and steady or hormone levels are not ideal within the thyroid gland. Other reasons can be insufficient sleep or high stress levels and demands in life. Living with pain can also be very exhausting. The eating pattern and a low vegetable content may not be providing sufficient energy between meals. Or quite possibly an undiagnosed food intolerance is also contributing to low energy and often what people describe as ‘brain fog’.  And dehydration can also lead to tiredness.

So once the possible causes clearer, then suggestions for treatments including nutrition can be made including vitamin or mineral supplements that may be taken for a certain time.

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