Endometriosis is a terrible chronic illness that affects approximately 1 in 10 women, predominantly impacting the reproductive organs. Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus begins to grow outside of it, and onto other organs or areas of the female body. Instead of it shedding every month, as it's meant to, it stays and multiplies, creating intense pain, discomfort and impacting the lives of many women.
Often it is found around the pelvic area, ovaries, abdominal area, uterus, and bowels. Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of infertility, and unfortunately there is no known permanent cure. It can be detected by a laparoscopy, and can also be removed at the same time, however it has been known to grow back within months or years. This takes a toll on daily activities, and can create issues like chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, bowel problems and more.
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Symptoms of endometriosis include general and chronic pains, bleeding, bladder and bowel issues, bloating and reflux, tiredness, mood changes, and a reduced quality of life.
Tiredness and fatigue are major symptoms of endometriosis. Photo by Nenetus Via Freedigitalphotos.net
There are natural ways however to temporarily relieve endometriosis pain. It is still recommended to see your doctor though if the pain is intolerable and impacting you severely. As an endometriosis sufferer myself, I find that it helps to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
1. A healthy diet is extremely important. I cannot stress enough how vital it is to watch what you eat. Endometriosis affects the abdominal area, so the foods that we consume play a major role in pain relief. I've had to quit or minimise alcohol, gluten, reflux prone foods, and red meat.
Gluten would severely bloat me and cause abdominal discomfort. At one stage I thought my appendix was about to burst, so I went straight to the hospital, only to find out that the foods I was eating over the past week had been effecting my endometriosis. I was then diagnosed with IBS and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). It's no doubt that my endometriosis was the culprit to these illnesses surfacing.
Acidic foods like tomatoes, grapes, or garlic, onions and chili are typically good for you, yet they're not the best choices for those that suffer with this terrible ailment.
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I noticed an incredible improvement as I minimised red meat. I was still eating it, but not as much as before. I was also cooking it in the oven, not frying it, as those bad fats can be terrible pain starters.
Increase your vegetable, fruit, and seafood intake. I've heard women who have transitioned to vegan have had major improvements in their endometriosis journey.
2. Light exercise is also vital. I'm not saying to go to the gym and lift heavy weights or do 100 reps of squats. Yoga, Pilates, walking and swimming are great for light exercise. It gets the body moving without causing intense fatigue the next day, as well as muscle strain, which is bad for endometriosis sufferers, particularly around the pelvic area. Go at your own pace, and exercise for the right reasons.
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3. I've heard incredibly fantastic things about acupuncture. It's a Traditional Chinese Medicine therapy which has been known to relieve health issues for centuries. It can be traced back to approximately 2000 years ago, and takes a holistic approach to healing and prevention.
"Acupuncture provides drug-free pain relief that effectively treats a wide range of acute and chronic ailments, treats the underlying cause of disease and illness as well as the symptoms, provides a holistic approach to the treatment of disease and illness, linking body, mind and emotions and assists in the prevention against disease and illness as well as the maintenance of general well-being." - Acupuncture.org.au
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In extreme circumstances, unfortunately surgery may be the only option in helping your endometriosis. However, I have heard many success stories of women healing themselves through natural therapies. It's a longer road, and the relief may not be instant, as it takes persistence and an overall lifestyle change to notice any progress, but it's worth a try if you're not one for surgical methods, or drug therapies like the pill.