The word endometriosis, for me, is synonymous with pain.
Endometriosis is a gynecological medical condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus (endometrium) appear and flourish outside the uterine cavity. It still amazes me these small endometrial cells, which are under the influence of our hormones, can cause such pain.
The symptoms have been plaguing me for 19 years now (how is that possible?). I have seen countless doctors with ensuing ultrasounds, bad news, tears, surgery, drugs, blank stares, empty advice and then start the process all over again.
That is until I realized that no one in the medical community was interested in curing endometriosis, though they were very interested in treating it. If I wanted to confront this head on before the only solution was surgery and drugs, I alone had to research and heal myself. Regardless to say, I was able to have two beautiful babies and in the process reclaim my life.
The disorder is very alienating for women, but it is important to know we are not alone. I want to outline some of the natural ways I have healed my endometriosis, after years of searching for solutions. PLEASE keep in mind I am not a doctor, I only hope that some of these tips will ease someone else’s painful experience.
- Daily abdominal castor packs: Castor oil, used in a holistic way, has many uses. It is an ancient remedy for removing pain and toxins from an area, perfect for detoxing the digestive system and abdomen. See how-to with nutritionist Kimberly Snyder here.
- Chinese Acupuncture and Herbs: Chinese medicine as an ancient practice has been incredibly effective in the preventative phase of endometriosis. A licensed acupuncturist in your area can recommend herbs that will help control excess estrogen and thin the blood (to prevent clotting and endometrial buildup).
- Create a healthy gut: Take care of that “second brain” i.e. your stomach. Adding probiotics and healthy gastrointestinal foods is key, see Dr. Weil’s advice here.
- Avoid all known allergens: Any food that you are allergic to, or does not agree with you, must be avoided completely. It may be considered a “healthy” food, but, it is not healthy for you if it causes a symptom to arise in your body. For instance if it ruins your digestion, causes headaches, eczema or tiredness, steer clear.
- Check for any vitamin deficiencies: Consult with your doctor for simple blood tests.
- Avoid Red meat: Although some disagree with this advice, all I have to do is consume red meat to know that is slows down digestion, which is a bad thing for endometriosis. Your body needs all of its defenses to heal.
- Avoid wheat & gluten: Many people say wheat/gluten intake has a direct link to endometriosis. While there is no proof, I can say that celiac disease shuts down your bodies natural defenses. When eating a food you are allergic to, the intestines become inflamed, your body is no longer able to digest the nutrients it needs, your immune system starts to falter and a whole host of issues can arise. When I say avoid, I recommend completely eliminating if you have active endometriosis.
- Avoid Conventional dairy and the added hormones in Food: A body that has a natural inclination toward estrogen dominance does not need any extra hormones. Try drinking alternative milks like organic almond milk and stick to organic meat and eggs.
- Avoid sugar & alcohol: which are directly linked to inflammation. Inflammation is the root of all disease. In fact, following an anti-inflammatory diet may reduce the pain of endometriosis, see Dr. Andrew Weils’ (MD) anti-inflammatory diet guidelines here.
- Natural Progesterone Cream: Birth Control is a common treatment for endo, but after years of trying different brands I have opted for the more natural progesterone cream. You apply it day 15 of your cycle until the first day of your period. Consult a physician for more details.
These lifestyle choices may sound impossible, but for me, the pain of endo was impossible. I was willing to do anything to change it- and I did! Hang in there, make small changes at a time. After a few months of small changes you may see big results.
Always consult a licensed professional before any therapy or treatment you may try.