I remember the day that I sat across from my Gynecologist and he first informed me about having endometriosis (stage 4). I was in complete disbelief. How could this condition exist and yet I knew nothing about it?
Over the next hour, he proceeded to lay out my options about what I could do to manage endometriosis. They all involved some kind of hormone treatment combined with pain-killers to help manage the endometriosis and stop it from spreading out of control. I would also be required to come in for surgery every year and half to “clean out” any endometriosis that had grown in that time. The plan going forward would be to try one of the hormone treatments, measure the results and report back with any symptoms.
What I didn’t know at the time is that the plan never actually worked! I went back with a long list of symptoms after giving each treatment a trial run of at least 6 months. I had all the symptoms – headaches, weight gain, back pain, eye pain, nausea, digestive issues and skin break-outs. As a 19-year-old women, I also noticed that my sex drive had completely gone! I kept hoping that they would find a new treatment for endometriosis that didn’t involve so many nasty side-effects and that I could actually live a normal life.
photo via Canva.com, Alliance Images
I endured 15 years of this approach towards my endometriosis and I am so grateful that I eventually moved away from my Gynecologist and decided to explore other options.
Here is what I learned after finally discovering a way to successfully manage my endometriosis:
1. Control was not something I had to give up
When I started treatments with my Gynecologist I trusted him so much. I wanted him to take control of my health, my endo and make it all go away. A savior was really what I was looking for and he seemed to want to help me, so I trusted in him. In that process, I gave away my control and never explored anything else.
What I realized after this time, is that I can control many of the symptoms I was experiencing with having endometriosis. I could control some of the pain, some of the bloating and certainly some of those emotional break-downs. I could make choices which supported my health like eating better, moving my body, changing my thinking, and cleansing out toxins which may be affecting every aspect of my health. Those things were in my control and those things helped ease so much of my pain and struggles with endometriosis.
2. What I eat really matters
I used to ask my Gynecologist if certain foods or drinks made a difference to my level of pain with endometriosis. I had perhaps noticed some correlations when I ate certain foods and wanted to see if he could advise me further. He never made the connection. He believed that somehow what we ate made no difference to how we felt. After having changed my diet significantly and making nourishment a key decider on what I eat, I can guarantee you that diet makes a massive difference. It is after all something we do 3-4 times a day and where we get all the tools we need for our body to function.
3. There is a way out
I felt like my journey while seeing my Gynecologist was a big fat merry-go-round. Surgery was scheduled about every year and half and I’d take some hormone treatment or another along with a bunch of other drugs to then deal with any side-effects. I was incredibly reliant on pain-killers and didn’t know any other way of getting through my day and I believed that this was my only option.
I had seen the best Gynecologist available and believed that what I was doing was received from an expert in his field. Considering my diet, my thinking or anything as basic as that could make any difference at all was something I didn’t do.
What I can tell you now, is that it makes a huge difference. Everything we eat, everything we think and how we live, all plays a part in our ability to feel well. I like to describe this as “providing an environment for healing”. It is not that we particularly heal with diet or any other lifestyle choices, but rather that we provide the perfect environment for our body and then it is able to do the healing.
4. Only you know your body
I have been on a long, long journey with endometriosis. In that time I have certainly experimented with all sorts of interesting things. It has allowed me to become really connected with what resonates with me and what feels natural and comfortable for my body. I am now in a unique position to know when my body needs a certain supplement, without having to get tests or explanations. I can just feel it. You have that ability too and it is important to reconnect with that knowing. When you have it back, you will naturally know what to do to truly heal.
5. There is always something else to try
In my Facebook group I often see women who believe they have “tried it all”. They are ready to give up, have everything cut out or worse! I must be honest, this thought has crossed my mind along my journey too. The thing that always pulls me back though is this deep sense that there are answers out there and there are always more options to try. When we stay open, we can allow new ideas and theories to help and guide us.
Through my own journey, I have discovered that women can successfully manage endometriosis, without hormone treatments or pain-killers, that there are answers and that there is hope. We might just have to look in places others are not yet ready to uncover.