Myo Inositol has been touted as the latest fertility wonder cure. Inositol is amazing for PCOS, but does it help with endometriosis too?
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is when the cells that should only be in the endometrial layer of your uterus, have begun to grow elsewhere.
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This endometrial tissue is hormone sensitive and will swell and shed with a womans monthly cycle. This leads to excessive pain and heavy bleeding.
- Painful periods (79%)
- Pelvic pain (69%)
- Pain with sex (45%)
- Bowel upset (e.g., constipation, diarrhea) (36%)
- Bowel pain (29%)
- Infertility (26%)
- Ovarian endometrial mass/tumor (20%)
- Pain with urination (10%)
- Other urinary problems (6%)
Endometriosis and Polycystic ovaries do sometimes go hand in hand, but not all the time. They do have some similarities – high estrogen, high inflammation and considered an autoimmune condition.
For more information about endometriosis check out our ultimate guide to endometriosis.
How endometriosis impacts fertility
Women with endometriosis have an increased risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Excess tissues growing creates inflammation and may actually block an embryo from implanting. Scarring can cause internal damage to the fallopian tubes which can block the tubes. Ovulatory function can also be affected.
Changes in the hormonal environment can also decrease the quantity and quality of eggs. This can also be attributed to increased oxidative stress from free radicals.
What causes endometriosis?
No one is exactly sure, the risk factors include gentetic tendencies, toxin exposure, high inflammation and raised estrogen levels.
Autoimmune conditions usually rely on a trigger to start the body to start attacking its own cells. In endometriosis, it appears that it is related to high levels of estrogen (3).
Treatment of Endometriosis
The gold standard medical treatment for endometriosis is excision surgery, where the tissue and adhesions are removed. Any surgery will leave scar tissues, that may cause troubles in the future.
Hormone suppressing medications are often prescribed to stop the menstrual cycle, and prevent further growth of the lesions. Interestingly, the same Metformin used in PCOS therapy is also being studied as a new therapy for endometriosis to help with inflammation and estrogen suppression. Metformin reduces serum insulin levels and increases insulin sensitivity. Studies have shown that myo inositol is actually more effective in women with PCOS than Metfomin is! (3)
Natural Treatment: Since many experts believe there may be an immune component to the disease, it’s important to heal the digestive tract by identifying individual food intolerances, and eating an anti-inflammatory diet as well as balancing blood sugar.
Due to the estrogen sensitivity, assisting the body to clear excess estrogen with nutrition and reducing exposure to xenoestrogens (estrogen mimicking chemicals) are also key approaches.
What is Myo Inositol?
Myo-inositol, or simply inositol, is a carbocyclic sugar (a sugar alcohol) that is abundant in our brain and other tissues. It is a B-vitamin like substance that mediates cell signals in response to a variety of hormones, neurotransmitters and growth factors including insulin.
It has half the sweetness of sucrose (table sugar), and doesn’t raise the blood sugars as much as sugar does. It is made naturally in human beings from glucose. Each kidney makes 2g a day; so 4g a day total is made.
Other tissues make it too, and the highest concentration is in the brain where it plays an important role making other neurotransmitters, and helping some steroid hormones bind to their receptors.
Some people take inositol by mouth for diabetes, nerve problems caused by diabetes, diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), treating a disorder called metabolic syndrome and conditions associated with menopause and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), including failure to ovulate, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and high levels of testosterone. It is also used for depression, schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), compulsive hair pulling (trichotillomania), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorders, but there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses.
Women with PCOS have been shown to have impaired ability to make their own myo inositol.
What does Myo Inositol Do?
This is an area that does need more study, but the preliminary findings are interesting.
Inositol helps to balance and regulated insulin production, while also making your cells more sensitive to the action of insulin.
Raised insulin levels are one of the key causes of inflammation in modern society. You can have raised insulin levels, without having diabetes. A diet high in carbohydrates and sugars is one of the key causes of raised insulin.
Insulin is the fat storage hormone, so once your insulin levels are raised, you will put on weight easily and seriously struggle to lose weight. The best solution to this is to go on a low carbohydrate diet. This will fix your insulin levels and allow you to start losing weight, it will also reduce your inflammation levels.
This systemic inflammation is the root cause of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and most cancers.
In women with PCOS inositol has been shown to reverse many of the PCOS symptoms including infertility, facial hair, weight issues and irregular cycles. You can find out more about that here: Treating PCOS naturally with Inositol
What are the benefits of taking Myo Inositol for Endometriosis?
Myo inositol in endometriosis will help to regulate your insulin production and use in your body. If you have raised insulin levels – if you are eating a standard American diet that is grain based, this will be you! – then myo inositol will help you with this (4).
As insulin is one of the key causes of inflammation in many people, regulating your insulin use, and reducing insulin resistance will also lower your inflammation levels.
As newer research is suggesting that endometriosis is likely to actually be an autoimmune condition, inflammation is one of the key things you need to be looking at when you are trying to help or heal it.
Some preliminary studies have found that myo inositol improves many inflammatory marker in women with endometriosis, and several studies noticed that patients suffering from endometriosis have abnormalities in both glucose and lipid metabolism. (5)
Myo-inositol is a safe and effective natural medicine for improving insulin resistance and it should be recommended in conjunction with other positive lifestyle modifications for the management of PCOS, endometriosis and insulin resistance.
Where to buy Myo Inositol
Follow the directions on the container, as each brand is slightly different. The researched recommended dose is 2000mg of inositol twice per day. It works best when you are also taking a folic acid or folate supplement as well.
There are different forms of Inostiol – Myo inositol and D-chiro inositol are the two most common. They work most effectively in combination. Which is why I recommend Ovasitol which is the combination of the two.
If you are going to try to see if myo inositol helps your endometriosis, you should try it for 6 months, and see if it helps. As always, check with your healthcare professional before starting any new medication or supplements.