Endometriosis occurs when tissue like the endometrium (the tissue lining the inside of your uterus) grows on the outside of your uterus – often on your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining your pelvis. It can cause pain (menstrual cramps, lower back and pelvic pain, intestinal pain, painful bowel movements, or pain during sex), bleeding or spotting between periods, digestive problems, and infertility. The World Health Organisation states 1 in 10 women suffer from this disorder. Suffice to say, the world would be a much better place without it. But, while we wait for endo’s eradication, here are some tips from Alex, the owner of a 28-year-old uterus that’s provided her with over 15 years’ worth of experience in coping with endometriosis.
Learn which foods make it worse
Everybody’s different, but through conversations with many other sufferers, Alex’s found dairy to pretty much be a no-go for endo across the board. Other than that, she recommends being mindful of what you eat through your cycle, and taking note of which foods make your endometriosis worse.
Although more research is needed to prove the link, foods that cause inflammation or increase your oestrogen levels are typically good to avoid for endo sufferers. These include alcohol, caffeine, gluten, and red meat. Instead, aim for lots of fruit and veg, whole grains, plant proteins, and healthy fats from foods like olive oil, avocado, nuts, salmon, and other fatty fish.
Heat packs, heat packs, heat packs
Alex has a solid supply of heat packs at home – they’re one of her top go-to remedies for helping alleviate the pain she suffers with endometriosis.
Applying heat to your muscles helps them relax. Heat also helps to increase your circulation by opening up blood vessels, which helps to heal damaged tissue. Besides that, heat packs are just plain soothing, potentially helping to alleviate your stress levels. All of these are good reasons to embrace a heat pack.
Always know where the bathrooms are
One of the things Alex has to cope with in her battle with endo is the very sudden onset of intense cramping, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Understandably, this can make leaving the house stressful and uncomfortable for her, but also, a gal’s gotta live her life. Because these are the kinds of symptoms that can’t really be prevented, the best way Alex has found to cope with them is by making sure she’s as prepared as possible. She always knows exactly where her nearest bathroom options are should she need them, and always carries a ready supply of painkillers.
Might you have endometriosis?
One of the (many, many) problems with endo is that sufferers often think their painful periods are just normal. But if you find you’re missing out on life because painkillers just aren’t cutting it, or that you’re pulling back from normal daily activities like going to work or school, then it could be worth talking with your GP about it. While there is no cure currently, there are treatment options available that could help improve your wellbeing, and that’s well worth a chat.
For more first-hand information on coping with endometriosis, we recommend reading the Endometriosis Australia blog. If you’re after specialist healthcare information regarding endo, Endo Health is a great place to start.