It’s March and you know what that means? Well yes, the start of spring and, clocks going forward. More importantly, it’s endometriosis awareness month. For all the gals out there, especially those who suffer from endometriosis we hear you! We are here to deep dive into your endometriosis and what you can do to help treat it. This article is not just one for the girls though everyone is welcome here because that’s what this awareness month is about, learning about those who are affected by endometriosis symptoms and how we can support them!
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition that affects women of any age, although endometriosis is estimated to affect 1.5 million women in the UK, what causes endometriosis is still unknown. It’s a chronic condition where tissue that is similar to the lining in your womb grows outside of the womb, such as a fallopian tube or the ovaries. The main symptom is pain in the abdomen and discomfort during a period. In 30-50% of women infertility is also a factor. Endometriosis may have effects on a women’s mental well being as well as their physical wellbeing.
There are many symptoms which you may be experiencing that could suggest you have endometriosis, for example:
- Pain in your back or lower part of your tummy, especially during your period.
- Severe period pain that tends to stop you from doing regular activities and affects your normal routine.
- Experiencing pain during or after sex.
- Having difficulty getting pregnant.
- Heavy periods that may lead to you bleeding through your pads and using lots of tampons.
- Feeling nauseas and having diarrhoea during your period.
- Feeling pain when you’re going to the toilet on your period.
Sometimes these symptoms can have such an impact on a woman’s life that they can lead to depression. So, it’s important to recognise that these symptoms may be the sign of something like endometriosis. A gentle reminder to be kind to yourself and people around you that might be going through something similar.
Endometriosis pain relief
There are methods to help ease your symptoms of endometriosis and take care of your body. A quick fix is to use painkillers if the abdominal pain you are experiencing gets too much to ignore. Some fantastic painkillers that help to target this type of pain are NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen. Nurofen do a great express period pain relief that targets period pains quickly.
A more traditional method is to use heat on the areas causing you pain. You can try a hot water bottle on the tummy, or Myoovi have created heated pads you can stick on your tummy for pain relief when you are out and about.
There are also forms of physiotherapy you can try to relieve some of these symptoms. These techniques are designed to manage the stress and anxiety you may be experiencing as well as strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. If you are experiencing further chronic pain, then there are pain clinics you can go to where you can get advice and support with your symptoms.
How is endometriosis diagnosed?
If you are wondering how to diagnose endometriosis, then you are probably experiencing some of the symptoms we have talked about. The first step in getting diagnosed with endometriosis is to speak to a medical professional, most likely your GP. Don’t be afraid to call your doctors and ask them about your symptoms.
Once you have had an initial consultation about getting diagnosed, you can then get what is called a “Laparoscopy” which is the process of inserting a camera into your pelvis via a small cut. During this operation if you are diagnosed with endometriosis, it can potentially be treated there and then. How efficient!
If you want to fully support your body in your endometriosis journey, you can also try to enhance your diet to support recovery from not only the symptoms, but any surgeries you might have for them. This leads us to the endometriosis diet…
The endometriosis diet
While this may not be a known cure for the condition, some experts say adjusting your diet is worth a shot. I mean what’s the harm in being mindful of what you put in your body anyway?
There are a few processes that are connected to endometriosis, one of them being inflammation. Eating inflammation fighting foods will benefit the areas in your body that are struggling with inflammation. These are foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon or tuna, and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Don’t worry if these leaves aren’t your vibe though, there are some delicious smoothie recipes for your health goals to disguise the spinachy, kaley taste! It’s interesting to know that a lot of fruit and vegetables get covered in pesticides which contain organochlorines. These have been known to effect your hormonal pathways negatively, so when you are choosing your fruit and veg, try to pick organic produce to reduce your pesticide exposure.
A common culprit for causing stress on your tum and potentially aggravating your endometriosis is the ever cursed, gluten. You can probably guess what’s coming next – yep cut it out. By cutting out gluten you can reduce the symptoms related to your gastrointestinal issues. You may also find that your mood and sleep will improve.
Another diet which could be supported as an endometriosis diet is a low-FODMAP diet. This is where there are particular foods that have a high-FODMAP and low-FODMAP rating, and the aim of the game is to eat only foods that are categorised as low. The types of food you avoid eating in this diet are carbohydrates that your gut has trouble digesting, such as dairy.
Once you have figured out what to eat for your endometriosis, you can even go that one step further and support your digestive system with supplements. The Digest Capsules for example, help encourage the growth of good bacteria in your gut, reducing bloating and making you generally feel much better within yourself and digestive system.
Don’t feel like you are alone in this endometriosis journey though, because there are many women that have been through this and seen the benefits. Not just from operations, but diagnosis, and knowing more information about how to manage the condition. It’s important to talk about your condition and raise awareness for others in similar situations. How will you be taking part in this endometriosis awareness month?