My Journey to Naturally Healing Endometriosis
I started on my natural journey to healing endometriosis in 2011 when I first suspected that I had it. Since then, I’ve reduced my pain levels dramatically through diet and lifestyle changes coupled with a sense of peace with this disease that has brought me many dark, painful times and a peace with myself – an even bigger feat.
I’ve opened my eyes to finding true healing by listening to my body and recognizing its symptoms.
I grew up with a definition of health that meant taking a pill to solve every issue. This was re-defined for me as I began studying teachings in Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Functional & Integrative Medicines. These teachings helped re-shape my definition of health and took me down an alternative path of whole healing encompassing mind, body and soul.
I continue to learn more by reading lots and connecting with other fellow endo sisters on this same natural journey.
I’ve shared a lot of this knowledge that I’ve gained in my blog and in my first book From Pain to Peace With Endo: Lessons Learned on the Road to Healing Endometriosis.
A Little bit of my story…
I’ve suffered with extremely painful periods from the start. I complained for years to my doctors about them, but no one really paid them much attention. One of my family doctors prescribed me Ibuprofen. Ha. Ibuprofen didn’t touch the pain.
When I was 17 I took another doctor’s suggestion and went on birth control, which I continued to take for the next decade. The birth control helped to control the pain, so I stayed on it without much thought to the effect it was having on my body.
In addition to painful periods, I suffered with migraines and constant fatigue as a teenager and young adult. I got a headache just about everyday. To resolve, I popped a Tylenol or Ibuprofen. I was often bloated and suffered at times with awful, embarrassing gas, and stomach pains.
I decided to get off the birth control late in my twenties. I wanted to see what life was like without the added hormones. This decision awakened me to a whole new kind of pain. My periods became excruciating again. I did my best to ignore it, telling myself that I could deal with the “day of pain” each month. I didn’t want to get back on the pill.
As time passed, my periods got worse and the pain extended to a point where I was suffering almost every day. I was exhausted, bleeding irregularly, and had awful pain after sex. I also started to have bladder pain. I missed days of work when my period started, suffering with horrible nausea and diarrhea that left me incredibly weak and bedridden.
My co-worker suggested that I could have endometriosis. Endo what? I had no idea what that was. I started to do research on it on the Internet and spent some time reading posts in discussion groups. I had all the symptoms…
I approached my gynecologist about it – told her all my symptoms and she sort of looked at me blankly. “And you’re sure you don’t want to get on birth control”? Argh!
I told her that I thought it was endometriosis, and she agreed.
I sought out an endometriosis specialist and was officially diagnosed via laparoscopy in April 2011.
Having read all the negative things about Lupron, I decided not to go down this route. The specialist told me I was left then with two options – get back on the pill or get pregnant as soon as possible. I fell into a deep depression.
The doctors told me there was no cure for endometriosis and that my symptoms were only going to get worse, and compromise my fertility. I stressed out about all of it and cried quite often as I was filled with such a strong sense of hopelessness coupled with daily pain that was simply exhausting.
Finding another way…
There came a point where my inner warrior stepped up and I decided to search for another way. For a way out of the pain. So I took to the Internet and continued researching.
I came across the web site Endo Resolved and became inspired by Caroyln’s story. I continued my research into natural healing for endometriosis and came across Melissa’s blog at Endo Empowered as well.
Reading the stories of these two women gave me hope and made me feel not so alone with this disease. They taught me about the power of food in relation to endometriosis pain and I started to follow what has been coined “the endo diet“.
The diet was hard at first. And very frustrating at times. I struggled with what to eat. The ingredients in the “avoid” list are in everything! I struggled with eating out, with going to social events. I struggled being the one who made eating arrangements so difficult.
I stuck with these restrictions though because I felt better. I was truly awakened to the impacts of food in my body and just how important this was for overall healing.
I recall a couple of key films that helped shift this perception: Food Matters and the Beautiful Truth. These films inspired me to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet. I started making more smoothies, and juicing just about every day.
Initially, I was taking a lot of supplements, but have since stopped, with the consideration of the effects all the supplements were having on my liver. While I do still include some supplements (aimed primarily at improving my digestion) I try and get most of my vitamins now from my diet.
My advances in well being started with changes in my diet, but have been maintained by managing my stress levels.
I love yoga. My favorites are Kundalini and Hatha. I believe Yoga has made a tremendous impact on my pain levels and its great for my mind, for lowering my stress levels.
I’ve also incorporated a daily meditation practice and do my best to live in a mindful, present manner.
I’ve learned the value of sleep! I’ve also made a point to get at least eight and a half hours of sleep per night and try to be to bed before 11PM.
To avoid hormonally disruptive, toxic chemicals, I’ve adjusted everything that comes into contact with my skin to natural products, organic if possible. I pay attention now to what goes in and on my body.
Up to this point, I am so happy to say that I am back to only a “Day of Pain,” and it’s manageable pain. My bladder pain is gone (thank goodness). I have so much more energy and returned libido. I don’t feel bloated and gassy like I used to and my headaches are pretty much gone — Yay!
Due to all the changes that I’ve made I was able to stop taking all prescription and over the counter pain medication 🙂
A way out of the darkness…
I’ve made so many changes on this journey, and I must say that I feel better than I ever have. I want to help you feel better too and provide a positive message in the darkness. I hope that you enjoy the writings on my blog.
My learnings have prompted me to become an Integrative Health Coach. I provide one-on-one support and group programs to other women with endometriosis who want to manage pain through natural methods including diet, lifestyle and positive thinking.
If you are tired of the pain and ready for a change then I’d love to chat with you.
There is hope, but it takes patience and persistence…Thank you again for joining me on this journey. Together, we will feel better.
Much Love And Light to You as We Find Peace With Endo.