Endometriosis is a condition resulting from endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus and thus resulting in pelvic pain. Studies report that 10%-15% of reproductive-aged women develop clinical evidence of this syndrome.
First off, before we even get started, this must be said. You are not alone. You are not crazy, lazy, or weak. And you damn sure aren’t making it up. These are all things you’ve probably been told if you think you may have endometriosis (often referred to as “endo”) or even if you have already been diagnosed.
With all my heart, I wish I could tell you there is an easy solution. Every woman is different and what works for some will not work for others. I am not a doctor and what I share here is based on my own research and experience.
If you are here, it’s because like me, you too have desperately been searching for answers about endometriosis.
So, What Exactly is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis can be extremely painful and disruptive to your daily life.
Symptoms include, but are not limited to: painful menstruation, painful sex, irregular menstruation, heavy bleeding, nausea, bloating, digestive issues, fatigue, infertility, hormonal imbalances, and mood changes.
While endometriosis sounds similar to PMS (premenstrual syndrome), the symptoms are far more extreme.
For example, symptoms begin to impact daily life such as needing to call out of work consistently, an inability to stand or walk due to period pain, and extreme nausea that induces vomiting.
Endometriosis symptoms negatively affect the well-being, physical, and emotional health in women.
Treatment Options for Endometriosis
Endometriosis is highly undiagnosed. And yes as mentioned above, at least 10% of women develop it.
It can only be detected through laparoscopic surgery which is also one of the only forms of treatment. Other forms include hormone therapy such as birth control and stimulating a false, hormonal menopause; which quite frankly sounds terrifying.
Yet, all hormonal methods are typically proposed before surgery is given as an option. Birth control is said to limit the amount of endometrial growths and retrospectively the symptoms caused by them.
Once hormonal treatment is discontinued, the symptoms resurface. In other words, birth control hides your symptoms so that you avoid experiencing them as intensely. And at the same time, it cannot heal you of the disorder.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for endometriosis yet.
Because of this, most women endure years of suffering while going undiagnosed. This lack of knowledge and understanding of the disorder causes a complacency to be built where the suffering is normalized. But ladies, period pain is NOT normal . . .
You can visit endofound.org for more information on endometriosis treatment and support.
My Experience With Doctors and What to Know
Some doctors refuse to take a second look for a problem explaining painful or difficult menstruation unless there is an issue of infertility (one unfortunate side effect of endometriosis).
And let’s be honest, women’s reproductive health is not exactly on the agenda for all the men in suits at the table making decisions for us. You would think we would’ve evolved beyond this cloud of unknown, but actually very little research has been done on the disorder and there is little to no information on why it occurs in certain women.
Instead, many women are irresponsibly diagnosed with dysmenorrhea, a term to define (and in my opinion dismiss) painful period complaints. A pain prescription or birth control is prescribed, and you’re sent on your way.
According to statistics, it can take around 6-10 years to get a formal endometriosis diagnosis. This is why it is so important to have a medical team that you can trust to listen to you.
Again, it cannot be found through a normal pelvic exam or even an ultrasound. An ultrasound, however, can detect cysts that will signal a further check is needed. Cysts can also be removed through laparoscopic surgery, where endometriosis can then be discovered and diagnosed.
Your doctor cannot feel it or see it. If you have been told you do not have the condition by your doctor and laparoscopic surgery has yet to be performed, it is most likely not a diagnosis, but rather an educated guess.
We are talking about deep internal growths that become implanted inside your tissue and can even spread to your organs. Once laparoscopic surgery is performed, in some cases the doctor will attempt to remove all the growths while in the diagnostic surgery. Other doctors will schedule a subsequent surgery for more severe cases.
The severity of endometriosis is broken down into four stages, from mild to extremely severe.
Laparoscopic Surgery Is Not a Guaranteed Solution
Here’s the kicker: Even if laparoscopic surgery is performed, more than 50 out of 100 women see symptoms return within two years of surgery. This number continues to grow each year.
Now, don’t get me wrong! Five years sounds like a nice break when you’re used to experiencing extreme pain. However, women who have surgery under the age of 30 are more likely to need a subsequent operation.
Laparoscopic surgery is mostly intended to aid in pain relief as opposed to an end-all-be-all for the disorder.
Women have reported continuing to have some pain related to their menstrual cycle after the operation, but nothing as severe as before.
The first few periods after surgery may be irregular or more difficult than those of your past. The body is still healing between the 4-6 months post-surgery leading heavy cycles, irregularity, and pain.
It is advised not to examine the effectiveness of your laparoscopic surgery until a minimum of three cycles post operation.
There Are Some Natural Endometriosis Remedies + Tips That Can Help
The good news is there are natural endometriosis remedies and tips that can help.
Read on for a few tips to help you along the way!
1. Reduce Inflammatory Foods In Your Diet
Limit eating foods that cause inflammation in your body which can trigger your endometrial growths.
Women have reported finding relief through a shift in diet. These shifts range from avoiding inflammatory foods all the way to opting into a vegan or raw food diet.
What foods are inflammatory?
Gluten: Gluten has been shown to be a hormone disrupter. It can be found in most products containing wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and soy, among other things. Many of our favorite period snacks and cravings include gluten and sugar (which is up next).
Sugar: Although we crave it immensely during our time of the month, when it comes to endometriosis, sugar does more harm than good.
Sugar weakens our immune systems and let’s face it ladies, during our period we need all the immune boosting help we can get. So, I say this with love . . . put the cookie down.
Dairy: Dairy, and specifically how it can impact endometriosis, really can be the devil sometimes. It creates so much inflammation in the body and therefore, regresses natural healing.
Cold Foods or Drinks: We want to heat the body up to loosen and relax the muscles. Consuming cold foods and drinks can actually worsen menstrual cramps and make the muscles contract. Instead, opt for warm meals and hot beverages.
All in all, there are many factors we can control, like how we choose to support our body. Try making your own wellness drink with anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting herbs.
If you are not sure where to start, here is an easy recipe to follow!
2. Try My Go-To Natural Endometriosis Remedy Recipe:
This herbal brew is warming, grounding, and comforting. Grab a large pot, boil some water, and add the following ingredients:
- 1 Tbsp. Ginger root; chopped or ground
- ½ Tbsp.Turmeric; chopped or ground
- ½ Tbsp. Cinnamon; bark or ground.
- 1 tsp. Echinacea; ground (or 2 Tbsp. in liquid form)
- 1 tsp. Elderberry root (or 2 Tbsp of whole berries or in liquid form)
- ½ Clove garlic, chopped
- ½ Lemon or lime (or both!)
- ½ tsp. Cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
Cayenne pepper is completely optional because spice for some causes inflammation. It aids in healthy digestion and is a great addition if your body is not sensitive to it.
Do you have other herbs or spices in your pantry? Check the date, measure out a teaspoon, and throw them in the brew. Here are some suggestions: oregano, sage, basil, burdock, sea moss, cascara sagrada, and chasteberry.
Another option is to add a caffeine-free, herbal tea bag like chamomile which has been shown to reduce menstrual pain into the mix for some extra love. If you need to sweeten it, opt for agave or honey. However, I do not recommend it as sweetener reduces the full potency of the herbs.
No matter what you choose, use what you have and make it your own!
Take a Bath to Naturally Reduce Endometriosis Discomfort
Treat yourself to a little extra TLC and enjoy a warm epsom salt bath. The magnesium can help relax your muscles and may also provide relief for any pressure or menstrual cramps.
Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (lavender is great for relaxation!) or flower petals. Make your self-care time feel special.
Want more bathtime inspo? Here Are 5 DIY Bath Soak Recipes You’ve Gotta Try!
And most importantly, lay down! Rest! Sleep! Rest is one thing we constantly talk ourselves out of that we need the most.
If you don’t give your body rest when it needs you to now, it will force you to later.
To reaffirm my choice, I say to myself that my body holds me up and supports me without complaint 365 days a year. In return, it asks me to support it for one week a month. So, I sleep.
Call out of work if you need to. It should be our own personal holiday anyway. Because if you don’t give your body rest when it needs you to now, it will force you to later.
Do whatever you need to do to support your physical, mental, and emotional health without guilt or shame.
Endometriosis and Natural Remedies That Can Help: The Takeaway
My best advice is to try everything in your power to heal first, and consult with your doctor about a plan that works best for you.
If your doctor is not helpful, get a second opinion or find a doctor who specializes in endometriosis who will listen and take action to help you heal. If you don’t fight for you, then no one else will.
And knowledge is power! Now that you know what to look for, you can begin to be more specific about your journey towards healing.
You are not making this up, it is actively happening to you. Those who have never faced these problems will never understand, which is great because you don’t need to explain yourself anyway.
Just like you would advise someone you love to take care of themselves, you should take your own advice, and take care of yourself – you strong, beautiful female! You have nothing to prove and there is no medal for suffering in silence.
You are not alone, and there is hope. Try these natural endometriosis remedies, conduct your own research, and invest in your self-care and wellness because you deserve to feel your best!
All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.