Living With Endometriosis: How To Make The Pain Subside

Affecting roughly 20% of women, endometriosis is a painful condition that you can learn to manage with these these lifestyle changes.

Super painful periods where you literally feel like your life is ending. Bloody massacres once a month that even the most absorbent pad on Earth can’t catch control.

Mood swings so outrageous that you simultaneously want to kiss and stab your boyfriend.

If you feel like no one understands what you are feeling, you are not crazy and you are not alone. Endometriosis affects approximately 1 in 5 women in the US.

That’s over 170 million women worldwide. The main symptom of this disease is pain: pain, pain, pain and more pain.

Despite what we have been told all our lives, periods are not supposed to be painful or interfere with our daily lives. Endometriosis is one of the most misdiagnosed diseases and is growing at a rapid rate.

It is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. This endometrial tissue that is only supposed to line the inside of your uterus grows on other organs like the ovaries, fallopian tubes and intestine. It can cause scarring, adhesions and inflammation.

It has been linked to disabling menstrual cramps, infertility, pain that can hit at anytime of the month, lower back pain, pain during and after sex, painful bowel movements and intestinal pain.

I have experienced four of these myself since being diagnosed with this disease two years ago. I wondered how I could go to the gyno once a year from the age of 17 and never know I had this disease.

Well, I found out that it can take 10 years from the onset of endo to diagnose properly. How does this happen? They have yet to actually discover the reason, but here are a few tips that can help the pain subside.

1. Avoid smoking and drinking excessively

woman smoking and drinking

This should be a no brainer not only is smoking and drinking excessively bad for your lungs and liver, but it can aggravate the painful periods caused by endometriosis.

Smoking and drinking causes inflammation in the body and that is something you don’t want. Your body is already trying to fight off the disease and is inflamed because of it.

You don’t want to add more work for your immune system. A glass of wine here and there is okay, but try to avoid those cigarettes and long islands if you can. Your body will thank you later.

2. Try to exercise regularly

You don’t need to hit the gym five days a week, but a little cardio two to three times a week can help to reduce the pain you experience monthly. Try doing yoga, pilates or walking.

I absolutely hate the gym, but I hate pain, too. So, three times a week, I turn on my on-demand and do home workouts on my living room floor for thirty minutes.

It is scientifically proven that working out induces endorphins (those little things that make you feel good) and helps to subdue depression and anxiety, which can be caused by endometriosis.

3. Avoid large amounts of caffeine

woman drinking coffee

Again, this is something you should be doing anyway, but drinking large amounts of caffeine daily can induce more pain and cause inflammation in the body.

As a working woman, coffee is a lifesaver when you have to deal with people and actually be nice like I do on a regular basis, but too much of anything is bad for you. If you can’t avoid your daily cup of joe, then try to keep it to just one cup a day.

4. Cut back on dairy and red meat

Processed meat and dairy foods have also been linked to inflammation in the body. When I learned this, I about lost it. I can do without the meat, but cheese: that is one thing I hold dear to my heart.

I used to eat cheese daily and on EVERYTHING, but just as processed meat can clog your arteries, cheese and dairy products can cause mucus buildup in your body.

Just imagine how you nose gets when you have a cold or allergies with all the snot and mucus. Well, that is what dairy products can do to your fallopian tubes.

Try to limit your intake of meat and cheese to just once a week. It is a hard process to wean off of these completely—trust me, I know—but you will feel a lot better when you do.

Meat causes your body to produce more estrogen and, with this disease, that is exactly what you don’t want. Hormonal imbalance is what causes those crazy mood swings and tiredness that you feel every month.

With endo being an estrogen-dominant disease, you want to control any extra estrogen you put in your body as much as possible. Try to eliminate any nonorganic dairy and meat products like beef and chicken whenever possible.

These types of foods contain added growth hormones. Instead, increase nutrient-rich foods like broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale and cabbage—all of which support hormonal balance and help to clear extra estrogen from the body.

5. Use natural unbleached pads and tampons

menstrual pads

I spoke with a holistic doctor out of Atlanta, Dr. Joy Edwards from the Holistic Approach Wellness Center, who informed me about the effects of the dioxins produced in our bodies by using bleached pads and tampons.

I was appalled by this because I have been using these products since I was 12 years old. She revealed that the bleaching byproduct is a carcinogen (cancer causing agent) and can also potentially cause endometriosis.

Dioxin is a known cause of endometriosis. Dr. Edwards recommended using organic cotton tampons that are chlorine free and organic cotton non-chlorine pads.

You can find them in most health food stores or online. The Honest Company sells them, but you can also find them on Amazon or Google.

There is no known cure for endometriosis and it does require a medical diagnosis. However, it is treatable and the pain is manageable even if it is chronic.

Ladies, there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel if you have been diagnosed with endo. Try these little subtle fixes and see how much you body changes.

They say that there is no cure, but I know that a few lifestyle and diet changes helped me tremendously in dealing with the pain. Let me know if you have any other fixes that helped you along your journey.

About the author

Starling Thomas

She is a freelance writer, photographer and director. She's a lover of all things vintage, especially anything from the 60s. She loves to photograph babies and when she is not ferociously typing away on her computer or conducting celeb interviews you can find her cuddled up next to her hubby binge watching Netflix.

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