Brie Wieselman: Functional Healing For Endometriosis – The Role of Diet, Hormones, Gut Health and More

June 28, 2019
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We’re joined by Brie Wieselman, a functional medicine practitioner from Santa Cruz, CA, who runs a successful online clinic with other clinicians serving patients all over the world. Brie specializes in gut health, hormones, and female health. Today she is taking a dive into the topic of endometriosis and adenomyosis, with tools on how to functionally approach healing and relief from these conditions. For more about Brie’s services and inquiring about hiring her, click here. And, as mentioned in the introduction, if you’re curious about Brie’s experience with gestational diabetes, you can read more on her blog here.

Brie joined us on EP back in 2016, on a show you can listen to titled, Foundations of Functional Medicine and Applications to Reach Optimization.

Allison asks: I am an avid listener to EP and I would love to hear Coach Tawnee and her co-host talk about Endometriosis and it’s lesser known, but similar affliction, Adenomyosis (I have both!!! Ahhh!!).

For those of us in training, this can mean extreme pain from the time of ovulation through the actual week of our periods. I have to schedule races around my period because I bleed so much and am in so much pain the first few days, Racing during this time would be out of the question. Constipation and bloating during non-period weeks are also symptoms of Endometriosis and can really impact training.

The only treatment my healthcare/traditional OBGYN has suggested are synthetic hormones, which do NOT work for me, an IUD (no way!), and surgery. What research I’ve done on my own points to using food limitations -I don’t eat dairy or soy to avoid excess estrogen – or other natural remedies such as castor oil and heat or ACV to help balance estrogen and improve motility in the gut.

What other ideas do you have for us women who are in training to help with Endometriosis and Adenomyosis? It feels like a full time job trying to manage it and train at the same time.

Notes from Tawnee and Brie’s Conversation:

  • Endometriosis 101: tissue grows outside the uterus and causes pain, especially during a woman’s period, but also possibly during ovulation and sex.
    • 1/10 women likely have endometriosis, but not everyone has symptoms.
    • Severity of symptoms doesn’t necessarily correspond to severity of overgrowth of tissues.
    • Having more than four drinks a week can increase your risk for endometriosis.
    • This condition be caused by HPA axis dysfunction, genetics, and environmental toxins that act as endocrine disruptors (eat organic, filter your water, and avoid BPAs in containers).
      • Over-training can definitely put you at risk!
  • Adenomyosis 101: tissue invades the wall of the uterus.
    • More common to show up in women in their 40s and 50s.
    • Besides causing pain and heavy periods, it might also cause trouble with urination.
  • Conventional treatment
    • Using hormones to stop reproductive cycle as a means of stopping the pain cause by endometriosis.
    • Laparoscopic surgery can be helpful for progressed endometriosis, especially in reversing infertility.
    • Hysterectomy is the most extreme surgery to remove the uterus entirely.
  • Functional medicine’s approach
    • Endometriosis corresponds with autoimmune diseases (often caused by estrogen dominance and low progesterone) and inflammation.
    • Huge tie-in with gut microbiome and vaginal microbiome
      • The gut microbiome plays a big role in regulation female hormones (“estrobiome”).
      • Dysbiosis can cause higher estrogen levels, which then cause autoimmunity. Most women who have endometriosis also have SIBO.
    • Bri’s Protocol
      • First involves clearing out the bad stuff (microbes and parasites) and then boosting the good stuff in your gut.
        • The goal is for you to be pooping regularly and being able to handle fiber.
      • Regulating blood sugar
        • Losing body fat, if appropriate.
        • Finding the appropriate diet: high vegetable keto or paleo.
          • Check out Ketotarian
          • Note: low carb works better in postmenopausal women; if you have HPA axis dysfunction it might be better to get those things under control first before going very low carb.
      • Eliminating dairy and soy can be helpful
      • Potentially helpful supplements (Brie is not giving doses on the podcast; you should definitely consult with a functional medicine practitioner and see if these are right for you)
        • Melatonin
        • Progesterone cream
        • Probiotics (Jarrow’s Fem Dophilus)
        • Cal-D-Glucarate
        • N-Acetyl Cysteine (Pure Encapsylation or Thorne brand)
      • Brie sees major improvements in her clients in about 3 months.
      • It’s very possible for women to be symptom-free or at least totally manage their symptoms!