Today, we’re tackling the concept that’s at the heart of real healing—getting to the root of the problem. We’re not just talking symptoms; we’re looking at the culprits behind chronic inflammation and the cascade of issues in endometriosis.
From food sensitivities to toxin exposure, we will trail the sources that may be aggravating your symptoms and outline why it’s not just about what you cut out, but also what you bring into your life.
I’ll guide you through the functional tests that can reveal where your body needs support, share how balanced meals help more than just your blood sugar, and underline the importance of sleep, stress management, and a colorful plate for your overall well-being.
Together, we’ll learn why addressing endometriosis and its symptoms is not a one-shot deal—it’s a journey. A journey lined with self-discovery, ongoing adjustments, and heaps of self-compassion.
Now, let’s get on with the show and start peeling back the layers to find out how a root cause approach can change the way we manage endometriosis.
Episode 5: What is Endometriosis Really?
Episode 3: What is Functional Nutrition and How Does It Help With Endo?
Blog post: Endometriosis, Toxins, and Your Kitchen
Blog post: Toxins and Endometriosis Part 2: Cleaning and Personal Care
Work with Alyssa:
Learn more about Alyssa
Disclaimer: This podcast is for educational purposes only. This may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here.
Full episode transcription:
What is a root cause approach for endometriosis?
Okay, my friend. Hello and welcome back to the endobelly Girl podcast. We are going to be talking about a topic that I absolutely love to talk about today. It’s something that I love to nerd out about and somebody had asked me a question recently, but it’s something that actually comes up a lot. I like to talk a lot about a root cause of roach when it comes to endometriosis. And I had somebody pop into my DMs and was asking me, okay, that’s great, but what does that actually mean? I hear this phrase all the time, root cause, root cause approach. And what does that actually entail? What does that mean? And of course, it’s not a simple one line answer. So I decided, of course, to go in and just make a whole episode about this topic because I’m just a big old nerd and I could talk about this all day long.
So that’s what I’m going to do. Okay, maybe not all day long, but probably for a minute. So for those of you out there who are always asking the question why and want to know more, if you were that child that had to ask why? Why 14 different times to their mom and dad growing up and just love to learn, for those who are addicted to learning, like me, you are going to love this episode because we are taking a deep dive. So let’s dig in. Root cause, what does it even mean? Root cause is a term that is so often thrown around. So today we are going to take a look at what that actually means as well as what is the root cause of endometriosis. Spoiler alert. It’s never just one thing.
What is a root cause?
And how to actually address that root cause, or rather root causes in a way that actually works. So what is root cause in general? In simple terms, root cause refers to the underlying reason in your body that an imbalance occurs. No disease occurs just randomly in your body for no reason. When we’re talking about root cause, we are talking about figuring out what is actually going on that might be contributing. Now, like I said, it’s usually not just one thing. I think, honestly, I hear this all the time, of course, that we don’t really know what causes endometriosis. It’s kind of a mystery in the medical world. There’s a lot of theories and ideas.
I’m not going to claim to know all the answers behind that. I am not a scientist myself. I have not dug in and done the research, although I have read a fair amount of it. But my belief is that the reason they can’t find a cause of endometriosis is because there isn’t a cause of endometriosis. I really believe that is a multimodal issue that requires a multimodal approach, and I think that’s a really important piece of the puzzle. So when we’re talking about, okay, what is going on in your body that might be contributing. The big thing that we are looking at is what are the stressors in your body? What is putting stress on your body? And that can mean so many things. We’re going to really dig into what stressors can possibly be in a little bit.
We’re going to come back to that. But that’s one of the key elements that we’re thinking about. Stressors. Now, endometriosis itself is basically not that there’s anything basic about it, but in as simple terms as I can talk about in a short amount of time, there is an immune dysregulation piece of it, actually the major piece of it that also comes with a chronic systemic inflammation. I really dug much deeper into this in episode five. So I will link to that into the show notes if you would like to hear more about just what endometriosis really is. But basically what we want to do and what I do as a practitioner is go from that information, that basic piece of information, and work backwards. So, okay, endometriosis is an immune dysregulation.
So I want to be thinking about how does the immune system work, what can contribute to immune system dysregulation, where should we even start looking, and the immune system and inflammation. By the way, those pieces are so intimately entwined, you can’t really separate them. So when we’re looking at one, we’re also looking at the other. So step one when we are thinking about this root cause approach is identifying all of the stressors that can be contributing. Stressors can impact your immune system directly. They can impact the adrenals, your hormones, your digestion, basically every system in your body when we zoom out and look at the widespread effects. So what are stressors? It’s so much more than just stress in the way that we think of it, although we are going to come back to that piece of it because it’s important as well. I think that most of us, when we hear the word stress, we are thinking about sitting in traffic and stress at work and stress at home and stress when it comes to your family.
Basically all of the external sources of stress. And that’s absolutely important as well. And we’re going to come back to that. It’s on my list of stressors to talk about and think about. But really I would like to start off the top of the list with one of the major stressors that I see. Internal stressors. Right? Because stress can come both from outside of your body and from within your body. And honestly, those internal stressors are one of the major sources of stress that can impact all of the things that we talked about.
What stressors contribute to endometriosis?
So number one on my list of stressors that I like to address with my clients is digestive, health and microbiome balance. So we’re looking at things like are you breaking down foods well or are large food particles potentially finding their way through your digestive system where they shouldn’t be and potentially making their way directly towards your bloodstream, coming into contact with your immune system, which is what we call leaky gut. I won’t go into all the ins and outs of leaky gut today, but that’s the basic principle. It damages the lining of your gut, which can then trigger your immune system. And when that’s happening over and over and over and over again, we come into that chronic inflammation which can impact your whole body. The other major piece of the puzzle when it comes to digestive health is the microbiome balance. So is there a pathogenic overgrowth happening in your body? Are there more of the bad gut bugs in your body than there are the good? Are the bad gut bugs causing your immune system to overreact on a day to day basis, which can absolutely cause, again, that inflammation and that immune system Dysregulation that we talked about. So those are some of the major pieces of the puzzle.
We also have blood sugar imbalances. If you’re familiar with this story, something along the lines of you wake up, you start off your day with, say, a cup of coffee and a bagel, and an hour later you feel hungry again or you feel starving because your blood sugar crashed and all of a sudden now you need to eat something quickly. So you grab a doughnut and then your blood sugar spikes, and then 2 hours later it crashes again and you need that cup of coffee to keep yourself going. That’s what we call the blood sugar roller coaster when it’s just up and down, spiking and dropping like crazy all day long, which has huge impacts on your adrenals and your overall hormone health. There are systems in your body which I’m not going to go super scientific on this today, but just to give you a little bit of an overview, your body has ways of communicating within itself. So some of the major players in that communication system, of course, comes from your brain. Initially, the hypothalamus and the pituitary, which then communicate with things like the adrenal glands or the gonads, which are your ovaries in the case of females. And so it actually creates a feedback loop, an axis.
So the hypothalamus communicates to the pituitary to release certain hormones, and then the adrenals release those hormones. The adrenals then communicate back to the hypothalamus when you need to get more of that hormone or less. It’s a big old feedback loop that just keeps going and going and going. When you are constantly on this blood sugar roller coaster, it puts a lot of stress on that system and can create Dysregulation, which absolutely impacts that internal stress in your body and can contribute to the symptoms that we experience. So regulating that system, helping everything to come back into balance, which we absolutely have control over, can be huge. Next up, we have sources of inflammation and this can come in many ways. We talked about some of that already. Even just the digestive stuff that we talked about is absolutely a huge source of inflammation.
One of the biggest sources of inflammation that I see, honestly, is foods that your body is sensitive to, foods that your immune system is reacting to, whether it’s an allergic type reaction or simply a sensitivity that has developed because of that digestive dysfunction. Removing those foods, at least on a temporary basis, while you’re doing some healing, can be wonderful for reducing that inflammation. That’s why with my clients in my practice, I like to do a food sensitivity test. I like to do a blood test which actually tests that immune reaction directly in your blood and lets us know exactly what is going on, what foods may be impacting you at this time. In addition to that, another really important thing to look at is toxins. There are toxins everywhere and I could dig deep into this, but things like your produce, if you’re consuming nonorganic produce that may have been sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. So many of our beauty products and household products are filled with chemicals that can be very toxic to us. Our water that we drink even can come with a lot of harmful chemicals and toxins.
So looking at those sources, figuring out what you may be coming in contact with on a day to day basis can be huge for reducing that inflammation. Then there’s also what is your nutrient status look like if you’re lacking in nutrients either just from a poor diet and or your body not being able to really absorb nutrients because that digestive health is not going well, see how all these pieces end up connecting with each other anyway? Maybe you’re not getting enough variety in your diet. Maybe you’re just not getting enough fruits and vegetables. Maybe you’ve eliminated entire food groups because somebody on the internet’s told you to. Who knows? But nutrient status is huge and can absolutely have impacts in the grand scheme of things, in what is really going on in your body, what might be contributing to the symptoms that you’re experiencing. And then we have things like proper sleep. Are you actually getting enough sleep every night? Is it quality sleep? How are you managing those external stressors that we talked about? So there’s so many things that can be causing stress on your body that can end up, in the end of the day, contributing to your symptoms. So what do we do from there? Step two, we have to actually go in and either eliminate or reduce the stressors if we can’t completely eliminate as much as possible.
How to take a root cause approach to endometriosis
So let’s go back to that list again and see what we can actually do about this so that we’re taking that root cause approach to your endometriosis. So when it comes to digestion and your microbiome balance optimizing, that helping your digestive system to function properly to be able to break down food that it needs to be able to break down. And that can be things like making sure that your body is producing the proper digestive enzymes and digestive juices to be able to break down protein and fat and all the things along the way so that you don’t end up having those large food particles making their way where they shouldn’t. Also helping your microbiome to come back into balance. Now, how to do all of this would take me many, many hours to explain and I’m not going to dig super, super deep into all of that today. In a large part also because it’s not something that I would recommend DIYing. There are many things you can DIY in your life. I’m a big fan of DIY, which is Doityourself, for those of you who are not familiar with the acronym of that.
Fixing your digestive health and rebalancing your microbiome is not something you should be doing completely by yourself unless you have the full education behind it and the accurate functional testing because it can end up doing more harm than good. There is not a one size fits all solution with that. There is not a one size fits all approach that we can all take that will just fix everything for everybody. Everyone has unique bodies and unique needs and unique dysfunctions going on, unique imbalances going on. And so there has to be a unique approach for each person. So that’s why I’m not getting super, super detailed on that today. And I really, again, am a big proponent of working with somebody who actually knows what they’re doing to make that happen, especially if you know you have some digestive issues going on. You’ve been experiencing a lot of symptoms like bloating and abdominal pain and diarrhea and constipation and food sensitivities and all of the fun things that can come along with this wonderful disease that we get to work with on a day to day basis.
Please find somebody who can help you with that so that you do it right the first time and don’t make things worse. Ask me how I know. Okay, stepping off my soapbox, let’s go into step two or number two on the list of stressors that we can work on eliminating or reducing. And number two was balancing blood sugar. So we talked about the impacts of that, how that can stress out your adrenal system, how it can mess up the whole hypothalamus pituitary axis or axes, because there are actually a lot of axes involved in that. Now, balancing your blood sugar is something that you can do a lot more about on your own, or at least get started on your own simple steps, like eating balanced meals, like three balanced meals a day with protein and fat at each meal, or snack. If you’re eating a snack as well, I highly recommend following the general principle of eating no naked carbs. Meaning if you’re going to eat carbohydrates of any kind, whether they are refined carbohydrates like bread and pastries, which of course, would not be number one on my list.
But if you are as well as the natural carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables, even those don’t eat them by themselves, because that’s going to end up having much bigger impacts on your blood sugar, especially anything that’s a higher Glycemic load. If you make the simple change of eating anything that is higher glycemic or just carbs in general, combining that with protein or fat anytime that you’re eating those just that step can have huge impacts on your blood sugar as well as things like fasting between your meals. And it doesn’t have to be extreme. I know I used to get really nervous and uncomfortable when I would hear about fasting because I don’t do super well going long periods of time without food. It doesn’t need to be extreme. I’m talking about going 4 hours between meals, which if you’re eating a nice balanced meal with plenty of protein and you’re able to break that protein down well and actually use it in your body, it shouldn’t be a huge issue if you’re having trouble going that long. It could be that you have blood sugar imbalances. It could be that you have some digestive issues, it could just be that you’re not getting enough protein in your body.
Sometimes it’s simple. I have a lot to say about that too. I really could do full podcast, like multiple podcast episodes on each of these topics, but I’m going to try to keep it as brief as possible today because what we’re really talking about is just how to take a root cause approach in general. Next up on the list is addressing those sources of inflammation that we talked about. So that would be removing food sensitivities while you’re healing your gut. Starting to swap out the food that you’re eating for higher quality food, organic food, well sourced protein, drinking water that is not full of toxins. So filtering your water, getting a high quality filter, avoiding drinking water out of plastic bottles because even the BPA free kind does end up leaching small amounts of plastic into your water, which is a toxin and can impact your body. Drink that filtered water out of a stainless steel or a glass refillable reusable container of some sort and your body will thank you for that.
Swapping out the products that you use, your beauty products, your cleaning products, your household products. There are so many things I could talk about that all day long as well, and I probably will at some point in the future, maybe the not very distant future. But in the meantime, I do have a couple of blog posts. I actually wrote a two part blog post series on that topic about reducing toxins. So I will link to those in the show notes so that you have a resource to go to right now while you’re waiting for those future episodes to come out. And then we have nutrient status. Start simple. Work on eating a nutrientdense diet, meaning you are getting a wide variety of whole foods.
That means real foods, fruits, vegetables, whole food, sources of protein and fat, high quality, all of that nutrient dense think. Lots of nutrients, lots of different colors, lots of variety, as much as possible so that you are getting as many different nutrients in your body on a day to day basis as you can. And then looking at sleep. Are you prioritizing sleep or are you staying up late watching one more episode of Netflix? Trust me, I get it. Are you practicing good sleep hygiene? Things like dimming the lights in the evening and winding down before bed, having a bedtime routine, things that are calming to your body and not spiking your nervous system right before you try to go to sleep, avoiding stimulants like caffeine, too late in the day, all those little things. And then we have stress management. So that can be techniques like deep breathing and journaling, meditation, yoga movement, spending time with pets and loved ones, whatever makes you feel calmer. But then there’s the other piece of the puzzle when it comes to stress management.
I’ll dig deeper into this on another day, but I do have to have a small moment of real talk here, which is you can do all of the stress management techniques possible, but you have to actually reduce the sources of stress to begin with. Think of it like a bathtub. If you have the Faucet running on full blast, even if you’re sitting there with a bucket and bailing it out constantly, it’s still going to keep filling up. It’s going to be a never ending stress. So that Faucet is the stress that is filling up your life. So it’s not just a matter of bailing out the stress that’s already there with those stress management techniques, but also turning down the faucet by actually finding ways to address the stressors in your life. Yes, it is a necessary piece of healing. Is it easy? No.
Can I give you a full rundown on how to do that right now in this episode? No. We will talk about that more in future episodes. But just know that it’s an important piece of the puzzle. Okay, so we’ve addressed stressors. Of course, that is not a complete comprehensive list of everything that could be possibly stressing out your body, but they are some of the major ones. So then once you have done all that, once you have figured out what the stressors are in your body and taken time to address each and every one of those, not just cherry picking the ones that feel fun or easy for you to address, but addressing all of them. Then we go into step three, which is evaluating where you are. See how things have improved, see what things may still be bothering you, what symptoms you may still be experiencing, so that we can have an idea of where we may need to dig deeper.
So that can be things like hormone imbalance, what’s actually going on with your hormones. Those stressors that we talked about can absolutely impact your hormones as well. But sometimes you need deeper support. That’s where I will sometimes do some functional hormone testing in my practice with my clients. We can do either Dutch testing, which is a dried urine or saliva testing, depending on the situation and what type of results we’re trying to get out of it. Do we need to support your adrenals? Do we need to support the function at the level of your brain that hypothalamus and pituitary to be able to signal the hormone production and release appropriately? Do we need to take a look at how your body is metabolizing hormones? Is your liver functioning well? Are you eliminating daily, which is one of the main ways that we get rid of excess hormones? Is your body basically packaging up the excess estrogen and eliminating it from your body in a helpful way? Not everybody’s body does that well. Sometimes we need deeper layers of support for that beyond the steps that we just talked about. We can also look into things like are there specific nutrients that are out of balance? We talked about nutrient status in general just by eating a nutrientdense diet, but sometimes there are specific things that are out of balance.
Looking at vitamins and minerals, specific levels and testing like doing a simple blood work or a hair trace mineral analysis can show things like that. And I want to remind everybody on this too that so many of these steps come in layers. So there is an initial layer of healing with all of the things that we talked about, but sometimes it happens where we need to then go back in and dig deeper on one of the steps that we already took. Gut Healing, for example, is a perfect example of that because I will often go through a full twelve week gut healing protocol with my clients based on the results of the GI Map stool test that we do, and we’ll go through the whole gut healing process, things start to improve. Absolutely. Many of my clients start to see improvements just within a week or two of the protocol that we’re following, which is great, but if they’re still experiencing symptoms at the end of that, I will recommend even going in and doing a retest, seeing what’s still going on. Because sometimes we do need to go in for a round two and kind of just dig in a little bit more. Especially because part of the work that we do within that gut healing protocol is we’re kind of breaking things up like the bacteria in your gut, like to create these little bubbles around themselves, kind of a protective barrier.
And part of the work that we do is breaking that barrier down so that we can kill off those pathogens and actually eliminate them from your body. But sometimes we need a round two because as we are breaking down that protective layer, it releases more of these pathogens into your body. And so we need extra support to be able to continue to remove those pathogens and get yourself to a place of healing. And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing has gone wrong. Just because you need to go in for a round two or find a deeper layer of healing, that’s okay because we’re always digging deeper. We’re always fine tuning.
I am a practitioner myself, of course, I’ve been doing this work for years and of course I have been my own best guinea pig along the way. Every time I’m learning something new because I can’t help myself, I’m always learning something new. I like to experiment on myself and do the work that I will end up doing with clients so that I have a much deeper understanding of that. And even with that, I still end up going back and sometimes digging deeper or fine tuning more on certain aspects of it. And that’s okay. That’s just part of the healing journey. That’s why I like to remind everybody that it is a healing journey, not a destination. There’s not an end goal that we’re trying to get to because health is something that we want to sustain for the long term.
We want to be healthy for the rest of our lives would be the goal. But just because we’ve gone through a protocol, we’ve done certain testing, we’ve eliminated these stressors along the way. It doesn’t mean that new stuff isn’t going to come up. Our bodies are constantly changing and growing, and that’s a beautiful thing as long as we just continue to grow and change right along with them. Okay, my friend. That was a lot of information. I know we got hopefully I didn’t get too scientific today, but I wanted to dig in a little bit to some of that stuff. So many of these things we are going to dig in much deeper because I really feel like I could do full episodes on every single piece of what we talked about today.
So I will probably be doing that very soon. So if there’s certain things that you want to know more about that you’re really curious about, please feel free to reach out to me. You can even send me a DM on Instagram at endobelly Girl if you have any specific questions or specific topics that you’d like to hear about more. I’m always open to suggestions and requests because of course I want to create episodes that you are interested in hearing and the topics that you really care about learning about because that’s going to benefit all of us so much. More. So a recap from today. What is a root cause? What is the root cause of endometriosis? Step one, we are identifying all of the stressors. Step two, we are eliminating, hopefully or reducing all of the stressors.
And then step three, we fine tune from there, and we just continue to evaluate along the way. So I hope that that helps to clarify those of you who have had questions about what in the world is a root cause? What are you talking about? Is this just a buzzword? What’s the deal? I hope that that is helpful for you to bring some clarity to that and how you can begin to address those root causes in your own life. I will provide those resources I talked about in the Show Notes. I’ll also link to episode three in the Show Notes, which is where I really dug into the functional type work that I do. So if you’re interested in hearing more about what is all this testing, what is the purpose of it, what do we do with that information? What do these protocols actually look like? I will also link to episode three in the Show Notes so you can go back and listen to that episode, and then we will move forward and continue to talk about more and more of these topics every single week. As I’ve said before, I love creating this podcast. It is my favorite thing to do. I so look forward to recording these episodes and hearing any feedback that you may have, any wins that you’ve gotten from the episode, any wonderful insights that you have gained.
I absolutely love hearing about that. So please feel free to reach out anytime. If you really, really love it, please take a moment to leave a review. Leaving a review means the world to me. I love reading those and hearing what you think about the show. And it helps somebody else to find the show as well who may need support, just like you. Okay, my friend, please take care and we will talk soon. Bye.