Severe pain during your period, bloating, and painful intercourse shouldn’t be accepted as normal.
Severe pain during your period, bloating, and painful intercourse shouldn’t be accepted as normal. Women experiencing these symptoms could have endometriosis, a condition affecting about 10% of females of reproductive age. Despite its prevalence, endometriosis can be difficult to treat, and it often worsens over time. As a result, endometriosis can have an ongoing negative impact on a woman’s life. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Let’s take a look at the symptoms and causes behind endometriosis and some natural ways to treat it.
The endometrium is the lining of your uterus, which comes from the Greek word "endo" meaning within. When the endometrium grows outside of the uterus and spreads to other organs in the abdominal cavity like the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, and rectum, it's called endometriosis. This condition is fueled by estrogen levels and causes swelling, inflammation, and adhesions around the affected organs, essentially locking them in place.
The most pronounced sign of endometriosis is pain in the abdomen, often extreme and debilitating. Severely painful periods are a common symptom, but pain can also be felt in other areas, like the back, legs, and rectum.
Other physical symptoms include:
● Painful bowel movements
● Pain during intercourse
● Heavy periods
The pain from endometriosis is different from regular menstrual cramps. It’s often chronic, occurring at all times of the month, and regular pain relievers for cramps don’t have much of an impact.
Not surprisingly given the pain experienced, it can also have a large impact on a woman’s mental health. Many women with endometriosis also experience anxiety and depression. Insomnia is also common.
Endometriosis can also impact fertility. One study found that as many as 50% of women seeking treatment for infertility have endometriosis!
A healthy lifestyle that aims to reduce inflammation is the best approach to ending endometriosis. Be sure to include the following in your daily routine.
● Prioritize whole foods. To reduce inflammation, choose whole foods, particularly foods high in antioxidants, like brightly colored veggies, and omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, nuts, and eggs. Avoid overly processed foods.
● Eat organic. Some research shows that pesticides and artificial colorings can contribute to endometriosis.
● Go gluten free. Studies show many women’s symptoms improved after eliminating gluten.
● Avoid red meat. Red meat is linked to the development of endometriosis. Women who replace red meat with fish experience fewer symptoms.
● Use caution with dairy. A few studies show that dairy consumption actually reduces the risk of endometriosis, but some women do report it worsens their symptoms. Keep a food diary to see how dairy consumption affects you. If you do eat dairy, choose organic products whenever possible.
● Drink ginger or green tea. If you experience nausea, some warm ginger tea will bring relief. Green tea has antioxidant properties to help with inflammation.
● Focus on fiber. Your body eliminates excess estrogen in your stool, so boosting your fiber content is a good idea. It can also help with any constipation triggered by endometriosis.
● Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is inflammatory and many women report it makes their symptoms worse.
Exercise has been found to be an effective natural way of managing pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis. While it might seem counter intuitive to engage in physical activity while experiencing pelvic pain, low-impact exercises like walking, yoga, and swimming can help reduce inflammation and ease discomfort.
Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, which are natural painkillers that can alleviate the severity of menstrual cramps and pain caused by endometriosis. Furthermore, regular exercise can help improve blood flow to the pelvic area, which can reduce inflammation and help the body flush out toxins. Incorporating gentle exercise into your routine can provide a significant relief for endometriosis symptoms, although it's important to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen.
Some supplements that treat endometriosis include:
● Bromelain. This enzyme, found in pineapple, can relieve symptoms.
● Turmeric. An anti-inflammatory spice also available in supplement form.
● DIM or diindolylmethane is a compound created when you eat cruciferous vegetables. It can improve the way estrogen receptors react to estrogen.
● NAC or N-acetyl cystein can slow the growth of endometrial cells.
We can work together to create a supplement regime that matches your health profile. It’s always important to work with a professional, since some supplements can interact or may not be suited for your unique needs.
The pain associated with endometriosis can take a large toll on women’s health. It’s important to prioritize self-care. And, by building a relaxation routine, you could even slow the growth of endometriosis.
Living with endometriosis is stressful. Chronic stress worsens inflammatory conditions like endometriosis. It also disrupts hormonal balance and can lead to estrogen dominance. The end result is often a cycle of worsening symptoms.
Mindful meditation, yoga, and moderate exercise can help manage your body’s reaction to stress. Take the time for relaxing activities like warm baths and massages. Cognitive therapy can also help you develop strategies for coping.
We’re here to help you treat endometriosis the natural way so you don’t have to deal with the pain and other symptoms. To learn more about how we have helped thousands of patients manage symptoms and get back to overall health and wellbeing, check out this free webinar: https://bit.ly/3RnrRJM.
World Health Organization, “Endometriosis” https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/endometriosis
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A Qualitative Study on the Practice of Yoga for Women with Pain-Associated Endometriosis, Andrea Vasconcelos Gonçalves, Maria Y. Makuch, Maria Silvia Setubal, Nelson Filice Barros, and Luis Bahamondes Published Online: 1 Dec 2016 https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2016.0021
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