by May 15, 2020

Endometriosis is a common reproductive condition that affects approximately, 1 in 10 women. It is characterised by tissue that acts like the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) being present in a variety of different locations throughout the body most commonly, the bladder, ovaries, fallopian tubes, ligaments that support the uterus and other areas within the abdomen and pelvis. Although rare, there have been cases of endometriosis being present within lung tissue!

It most commonly affects women of reproductive age however, symptoms of endometriosis can still be present even in menopause! It is estimated that 70% of women with chronic pelvic pain have endometriosis.

Clinically, many women present with dysmenorrhoea (painful periods) or menorrhagia (heavy periods) as well as dyspareunia (painful intercourse) without a complete diagnosis for their symptoms. The pain experienced can be so debilitating that they are unable to perform day-to-day tasks and are quite often bed ridden with a heat pack and painkillers quite often, only take the edge off, for some many women.

Other symptoms include premenstrual symptoms and extreme fatigue particularly premenstrually but the fatigue can also be chronic and many women are unable to shake it. Remember, Endometriosis is very much a condition associated with a lot of inflammation and inflammation is debilitating, let alone the pain that is associated with it.

Although endometriosis is a common reproductive disorder, there is not an exact cause for its development and this is why research is really being ramped up in this area. There are many contributing factors and these include:

  • Oestrogen- too much oestrogen being produced or a sensitivity towards oestrogen
  • Early onset puberty- this increases the body’s exposure to Oestrogen and thus can influence the development of endometriosis
  • Retrograde flow- the use of tampons have been thought to push blood back into the uterus and pelvic cavity and increasing the risk of endometriosis developing however, this is now being looked at as a very simplistic way on analysing endometriosis
  • Immune response- research is in its preliminary stages looking at the role the immune system has in influencing the growth of endometriosis. Viruses and pathogens have been linked to women with endometriosis.
  • Excessive alcohol and caffeine use are known to increase inflammation and as a result are common risk factors with endometriosis
  • There is also a link between direct family members and endometriosis. I.e. if a mother experienced endometriosis there is also a chance that her daughter will also develop it.

Quite often, endometriosis is diagnosed later in a women’s life and this is due to limitations in diagnosis. The only gold standard way of diagnosing endometriosis is through surgery, a laparoscopy. This is an invasive surgery however, if endometriosis is found, it can be excised (cut out) and this can assist with improving symptoms for 5 years.

Doctors may request for other diagnostic testing however, none are specific and they all have limitations to them.

There are 4 main stages of endometriosis:

  • Stage 1- minimal deposits
  • Stage 2- Mild and more deeper deposits
  • Stage 3- Moderate deposits and deep implants with some cysts
  • Stage 4- Severe and many deep implants and large cysts present

What is interesting is the stage of endometriosis doesn’t necessarily indicate the severity of symptoms. A women with stage 1 endometriosis may suffer debilitating pain throughout her menstrual cycle however, a women with stage 3 may have minimal symptoms.

As with diagnostic limitations, there is not a treatment for endometriosis. Surgery and certain medications can aid in improving quality of life, reduce pain, reduce the heaviness of periods and can also assist in improving fertility however, these options are not treatments for endometriosis.

As a Naturopath and a holistic Nutritionist, my role is to assist you in improving your quality of life. As a sufferer of Endometriosis myself, I am fully aware of the detrimental impacts this condition can have on ones life but I am also aware of the amazing role complementary medicine can also have.

What is important is assessing one’s lifestyle and diet. It is imperative that all endocrine disruptors are avoided and food is as anti-inflammatory as possible. In almost all instances, dietary plans are written to guide you with what to eat and what not to eat.

The joy of nutritional and herbal medicine is that many have been researched with positive results on reducing inflammation and the symptoms associated with Endometriosis. It is also important to look at your microbiome, the balance between the good and bad bacteria in your body as disruptions in this area could lead to a worsening of Endometriosis as a whole.

Assessing your immune system is also a crucial piece of the puzzle as Endometriosis in a way, acts a bit like an autoimmune condition.

All aspects of your health, diet and lifestyle as well as details related to your personal care products will be assessed, to see what can improve and what recommendations are suited to ensure you live your best life, with minimal impact from Endometriosis.

There isn’t one treatment plan that suits all, prescriptions and advice are based on your own individual circumstance and the severity of your symptoms, and that is the joy of holistic medicine! The positive is that gynaecologists, especially those who specialise in Endometriosis and advanced laparoscopic surgery are becoming more familiar with Naturopathic and holistic treatments, which means, it improves your health outcomes when we all can work together.


  1. Agarwal, N., & Subramanian, A. (2010). Endometriosis – Morphology, Clinical Presentations and Molecular Pathology. Journal of Laboratory Physicians, 2(1), 1–9.
  2. American Society for Reproductive Medicine (1997). Revised American Society for Reproductive Medicine classification of endometriosis: 1996. Fertility and Sterility, 67(5), 817-821. Retrieved from
  3. Parasar P, Ozcan P, Terry K. Endometriosis: Epidemiology, diagnosis and clinical management. Curr Obstet Gynecol Rep. 2017. 6(1): 34-41

The Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen

by October 11, 2019

Organic food has been around for millennia however, there is still much scepticism when looking at the benefit of such food on our overall health. Let’s face it, our ancestors never used pesticides, herbicides or hormones to cultivate and harvest their food. They ate locally, seasonally and all their food was extremely fresh.

Due to the nature of our fast-paced lifestyles and living in suburban areas, we don’t always have the access to locally grown food and sometimes, the freshest fruit and vegetables we can buy are from our local supermarket and let’s face it, these products are far from fresh.

The issue with non-organic produce is their pesticide and herbicide residue levels. Farmers to ward off pests from ravaging their crops use these chemicals. You may be thinking, okay, well how much harm can these chemicals cause if they’re so widely available? The simple answer is, quite a lot. When looking at chemicals it’s all about the total burden and load on the body. Yes, you can wash your fruit and vegetables thoroughly however, to a degree, chemical residue will remain.

A higher consumption of pesticides have been researched for their contributing effect on fertility/hormonal health, cancer risk, children health and mental health conditions. Of course, pesticide residue are not the cause of all these issues however, they can contribute to the burden of illness/disease.

Organic food, because it is grown in smaller quantities and more time and effort goes into growing and harvesting, they do tend to be a lot more expensive than non-organic produce and because of this, may not be affordable for most, especially when feeding a whole family! This where a list called the clean 15 and the dirty Dozen comes in.

This list has been developed to provide consumers with information they require to make positive fruit and vegetable choices. The clean 15 list consists of fruit and vegetables that naturally have a lower pesticide residue and as a result, do not need to be eaten organically. On the opposite end of this, the dirty dozen are fruit and vegetables that contain notoriously high levels of pesticide residue and should be consumed organically.

The clean 15 and dirty dozen list is updated each year and the following is the most updated version from Environmental Working Group.

The Clean 15

  • Avocado
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Frozen sweet peas
  • Onions
  • Papayas
  • Eggplants
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbages
  • Cauliflower
  • Rockmelon
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Honeydew Melon

The Dirty Dozen

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Potato

Research has not necessarily indicated that organic food is more nutrient dense than non-organic food as the nutrient content of our food is dependent upon the quality of the soil of which it is grown, however, organic food has been found to have a higher content of antioxidant compounds when compared to non-organic food.

A further plus to organic produce is it tastes delicious. The flavour profile far exceeds the flavour of non-organic produce and somehow, increases satiation as well.

Unlike 10 or more years ago, organic fruit and vegetables can be found in most large chain supermarkets and smaller, green grocers. When purchasing organic, make sure it is certified organic. The certification process is long, arduous and costly for the farmer however, it guarantees that you truly are purchasing and consuming an organic product. This means, there is no chance of pesticide residue.

Eating a clean diet and living a clean lifestyle takes time to implement but in the long run, your body will thank you for it.

Environmental Toxin Exposure- How do you reduce the risk?

by September 6, 2019

Everywhere we look, breathe and eat, we are exposed to some element of environmental toxins. In most circumstances, the exposure is inevitable. Inevitable, because let’s face it, we can’t live in a bubble however, we do have control over many aspects of our life, that can make a huge and positive impact on reducing our toxin exposure. We can control our home environment, personal care products and the food and beverages we consume.

The research into the area of environmental toxicity has gained much traction and frankly, it is scary. We all know the main pollutants that can cause issues such as passive smoking, pesticides, herbicides, diesel exposure and the lists goes on however, we don’t realise the other toxins that we’re exposed to on a daily basis, or, what we’re unknowingly including in our daily hygiene and beauty routines.

Did you know that most conventional cosmetics, deodorants, perfumes, beverage bottles, receipts all contain a large quantity of phthalates, heavy metals and endocrine disruptive chemicals?

Most conventional make up, moisturisers, cosmetics, deodorants and perfumes contain a chemical concoction of ingredients that have been found to affect our health, particularly, our endocrine system and hormones as well as our memory, immune system and let’s face it, most of our body. Sure, it may be difficult to completely eliminate some of your favourite perfumes, deodorants or make up brands but there is a lot you can do on a daily basis, to avoid such toxins.

Ways to limit toxin exposure:

  • Switch to Natural deodorants. You may need to rotate a few different brands before you find one that suits however, changing deodorants will reduce your Aluminium exposure. Recommended brands include: Sativa, Black Chicken, Detox-A- Pit and No Pong
  • Avoid the use of plastic containers, plastic bottles and cling wrap. Switch to Pyrex/glass containers or stainless steel lunch boxes and make a switch to reusable coffee mugs and stainless steel drink bottles. For food coverings, look into bees wax covers or, place a plate over your food while refrigerating. This also makes it easy to stack leftovers in your fridge.
  • Make a switch to natural house cleaning products. These products work just as well as conventional products, just without the chemicals. Recommended brands include, EnviroClean, Abode, EcoStore and Cindarella
  • Replace body washes, cleansers, moisturisers and soaps for natural alternatives. Brands include Antipodes, Sativa, Akin, Herbon, Dr Bronner’s and Melrose.
  • Consuming organic food would be ideal however, at times, either not affordable or accessible. With this in mind, at least, consume foods from the clean 15 and avoid the dirty dozen.

Making these simple changes, can greatly reduce your toxic burden and overall toxin load, which in turn, can strongly influence your overall health.

What oil should you use in cooking?

by January 13, 2018

There is so much misinformation in regards to the use of fats and oils and their health benefits. This study proves those who consume extra Virgin olive oil have lower sugar and cholesterol levels.
So what oil should you use in cooking? The best oil is light olive oil. It has a higher heating temperature (takes longer to convert into nasties) and doesn’t have any strong taste. Extra Virgin olive oil is best used for salad dressings and is best not to cook with.
Overall, olive is a great source of polyunsaturated fatty acids and is part of the reason why the traditional Mediterranean diet is still considered the healthiest!

Here is a great article for some extra reading:

Childhood health and nutrition

by February 4, 2017

Highly recommended viewing. Childhood health and nutrition is a great passion of mine. It is crucial that we are able to educate and empower parents about appropriate nutrition to ensure their own children are provided with the best possible start in life. Lack of knowledge, access and affordability are major concerns that need to be addressed. From conception, parents should be taught about the nutritional needs of the mother and the child. From birth, education should be provided about the varying degrees of nutritional needs from infancy to adolescents. We must make a change to impact the future of our species. After all, prevention is the key to optimal health and longevity. We are a privileged and rich nation yet, we are still facing an obesity epidemic and our rates of disease are still rising. Adequate nutrition is what fuels our biochemistry. Without it, we are unable to function and thrive.