OBGYN.net Conference Coverage: From Endometriosis 2000 - 7th Biennial World Congress - London, May, 2000
Dr. Mark Perloe: Im Dr. Perloe and were here with Diane Mills. Too often as a physician, patients come to me and they ask whether theyre better treated with medicine or surgery, or people ask through e-mail is there anything that I can do to improve the problems that Im having with endometriosis? Diane Mills has just written a book that I think provides some additional resources for women who are dealing with endometriosis. Diane, can you tell us about that book?
Diane Mills: Yes, Mike and I wrote it from a point of view that we were looking at women who were quite ill with endometriosis and - having got well with nutrition myself and having taught nutrition since 1971 - it was a case of trying to empower women with information that could help them with eating healthy, and facilitating and helping them to make sure they received the nutrients that they needed for their endocrine and immune systems and correcting any digestive system problems.
Dr. Mark Perloe: As a medical student, I didnt learn much about nutrition. I think we probably spent two or three days covering lectures that were pretty bland; so I think most physicians dont know and, therefore, dismiss nutrition as playing a role in this and in many conditions. How would physicians get involved and educate themselves? Is this book written at a level that physicians will find enlightening?
Diane Mills: I hope so, weve put lots of nutritional science research in there to explain whats happening. What weve tried to do is look at the digestive system in one chapter, the immune system in another chapter, the endocrine system in another chapter, and look at how nutrients work your body by a chemistry and that if anything is disrupted for stress reasons or if you take an antibiotic and theyve disrupted your gut floor, what you can do to correct whats going wrong. Basically, the gut floor is so important in estrogen metabolism. So we tried to look at the body as a whole and explain to people whats going wrong in each area and how they can look at what theyre eating and eat more healthy to take the nutrients in, and also look at using supplements in the short term because supplements are used to help the body correct itself but we shouldnt need supplements all the time. So its looking at using supplements in the short term to try and correct whats going wrong so that they can regain their health.
Dr. Mark Perloe: When you meet with patients, are there clues from their history or in talking to them that lets you know there is a problem or are there clues that they can see themselves or do they really require a thorough dietary evaluation before theyre going to make any headway?
Diane Mills: Yes, I work at the Center for Nutritional Medicine with two gynecologists and three general practitioners. I work with a general practitioner with me all the time. We have an eight-page questionnaire, which is very detailed on health history and what people are eating, and we work through that over an hours consultation. We look at whats going wrong with them, what foods theyre eating, and you can see very often whats going wrong in their diet whether theyre eating too much of one thing, whether theyre an atopic family history, and you pick up things. You listen to what theyre saying of all the symptoms that theyre getting overall and advise them on what to eat, what not to eat, and also any supplements that might help them. Basically, I feel sometimes that the pain we get with endometriosis is not always from endometriosis. I think some of the pain may be due to those malabsorbing nutrients, which deal with pain. A lot of nutrients help like B-1 thiamine, its part of the morphine endorphin system so if youre deficient in thiamine then your pain sensitization may be heightened. So trying to look at it from that point of view is helpful because we can try and guide people into healthy eating so we make sure theyre taking in nutrients and also make sure that their digestions working. Very often, Id say 70% of the women with endo have digestive problems, theyve had antibiotic treatments, theyve been on the pill or HRT or steroids, and all disrupt gut floor to some extent, and you often need to correct that. I think working alongside orthodox medicine is very important because with orthodox medicine youre using drugs like danazol or whatever or the GnRH analogues and they may not be absorbed if the digestive tract is malfunctioning so trying to get digestion corrected is almost vital.
Dr. Mark Perloe: You make it sound kind of complicated, theres an eight page history, theres an hour consultation - are people going to benefit or how will they benefit by going through the book?
Diane Mills: They are benefiting, people are coming back after a month saying that their pain level has gone down. I had one lady this week tell me she woke up and her period had started and she didnt even know it. I had two people ring in pregnant this week and one person gave birth last week, and theyve all gone through the IVF program. So it is helping people by reading the book and by finding out whats going wrong with you and looking at how you can eat well. Its not magic, the bodys nutrition is a balance, its only a face if it wants your body to be in balance by giving yourself healthy foods. I always say its more or less eating as your grandmother ate. Foods that are not adulterated, that are the freshest you can buy which are the best ways of eating because that way youre getting the nutrients in. Youre not taking chemicals in and the body can use that.
Dr. Mark Perloe: Its interesting that each week theres a new article on the news that now provides objective evidence that our parents and grandparents were right when they told us how to eat, and we just never listened and now were paying the price.
Diane Mills: Grandma always said eat your green leaf - your vegetables, and I think they are almost one of the most important foods.
Dr. Mark Perloe: If someone wanted to read this book and learn more, the first thing that they need to know is the name of the book and authors and where they find it.
Diane Mills: Yes, the book is available I think in most book stores, and Ive have a website http://www.endometriosis.co.uk and another one http://www.makingbabies.co.uk and its available there. Its also available in book shops, and its Endometriosis a Key to Healing through Nutrition by Diane Mills and Michael Vernon.
Dr. Mark Perloe: Thank you so much for telling us about your book and sharing. I look forward to seeing it soon.
Diane Mills: Thank you very much.
Dr. Mark Perloe: Thank you.