Endometriosis is a condition affecting the female reproductive system where the cells similar to the endometrial lining in the uterus is shed outside the uterus.
There is currently no known treatment for curing Endometriosis, however, there are many options for managing your Endo.
Practising a Healthy Lifestyle
Although there is no direct evidence that lifestyle reduces the severity of Endo, it is always important to strive to be as healthy as possible.
Keeping your body moving helps ease pain and strengthen the surrounding muscles; such as your glutes and lower back, which is where pain can sometimes present itself.
Having good quality sleep will help your immune system function better, as well as a number of other health benefits including improving your cognitive functions, reducing your levels of stress, assisting in muscle strength and weight management. Try keeping a regular sleep routine, including on weekends. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time, keep your room dark, at a comfortable temperature and with minimal distractions.
A new study is currently underway investigating the relationship between stress and the painful symptoms of Endo. In a study with mice, it showed stress influenced the severity of Endometriosis through an effect on the immune system. Manage your stress by practising breathing techniques, meditation and mindfulness, and yoga.
Endometriosis is considered a chronic inflammatory disease, so in an attempt to relieve Endo symptoms, eliminate foods that lead to inflammation, and choose foods that have anti-inflammatory effects. Fruits and vegetables lower inflammation in the body and helps to boost your immune system. Choose green leafy vegetables, blueberries, celery and pineapple.
Try to avoid foods which cause inflammation which can exacerbate your Endo, including dairy, gluten, sugar and processed foods, as well as high estrogen foods such as soy as Endometriosis feeds on estrogen.
Endo can be managed with medication. Anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, aspirin) can provide some pain relief. Hormone therapy reduces pain and severity of Endo by stopping your menstrual cycle, such as the oral contraceptive pill which relieves pain and ceases your periods, which in turn suppresses your Endo. Progestins or progestogens provide pain relief for up to 80% of women with Endo which can be in the form of an oral pill, injection, implant or IUD. GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) is a naturally occurring hormone that stops or suppresses the menstrual cycle by reducing endometrial implants by suppressing ovulation and the production of estrogen and progesterone by the ovaries. This method is used for moderate to severe endo.
As with any medication, side effects may exist, so seek advice from your healthcare practitioner before deciding which form of medication is the most suitable for you.
There are also self-care treatments you can practice including the use of heating pads such as a hot water bottle which can help to loosen and soothe the muscles in the area to help relieve cramps. Warm baths can also be helpful to relax your muscles and ease the pain from cramping and try to stay hydrated to reduce cramping and bloating.
Hopefully, these practices help you relieve some of your painful symptoms related to Endo. I personally like to binge watch any TV show, drink a warm tea and have a belly rub. Although these things alone don’t relieve any of my symptoms, they make ME feel better.