Living with(out) Endometriosis
Hey, so you may have heard. In 2018, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. I don't need to be your info card but to put it simply, Endo is tissue that grows outside of the uterus. Basically, that shouldn't happen and is incredibly painful when it does. I had mine taken out of five places around my ovaries in December and by May I was feeling the symptoms again. This is where I began to take matters into my own hands and do my own research. Might I add. At this point, I was drinking probably too much, I wasn't exercising properly, I had unhealthy eating patterns and consumed a lot of cheese and dairy. I was highly strung and stressed and on a hamster wheel I thought I needed to be on to achieve my goals. My life was work heavy and unbalanced and I had a only begun to learn what toxic relationships looked like. What's cute about it all is I thought I was healthy...
I've learned so much in these last few years of self discovery. It was a very forced self discovery, which, let's be honest, do we ever take that step if it isn't forced?
I feel now looking back, knowing what I know, very lucky to have experienced what I have. It has been a ride and I've always hated rides. In fact, when I was five I vomited on the tea cups but with a little hindsight and self awareness, I look back on both with a laugh and good story.
In this blog post, I'm not going to tell you what to do. What I'm going to do is tell you what has helped me get to a place where I no longer experience the symptoms of Endometriosis and lightly suggest. I'm very careful to say I have not cured it because it can still flare up. If I over indulge in wine or sugar I can physically see the little internal insect lump up on my right abdomen. It's still there, but rather than constantly remind me of it's existence, it gently (sometimes aggressively) let's me know when I need to relax or cut back on my discretionary choices.
The one thing I hope you take away from this is that I don't believe Endometriosis is a death sentence. I don't believe it should be attached to our identity under D.O.B. It is something that we can live with, without it controlling our life experience.
Anti-inflammatory - Plant Based Diet
The first thing that I will tell you is that living on a plant based diet is a key element of a pain free life. Plant based diet's are just that.. based around plants. As someone who is a very avid gym junkie, I get all my sustenance and am able to build muscle just fine on this diet. You don't need to do this, my point is only to combat the idea that plant based is low protein and makes you weaker. This is a myth. If you are doing it correctly it supports your system in so many amazing ways. The most important thing about this diet is it is anti inflammatory. If I can tell you anything it's that swapping dairy cheese for a nut cheese and not consuming any kind of dairy product, my inflammation in my belly went down 10 fold. The basis of this diet is that it focus's on legumes, nuts, fruit, veg and basically anything you can grow. As this diet is anti-inflammatory this is the entire reasoning behind it's allure because after all, endometriosis is an inflammatory dis-ease. If you give this a go, please give it a REAL go. Not for a few days but six months. You will notice the difference. It also keeps you full and away from processed foods and sooner rather than later, you will find your cravings for sugar are gone. Sugar is also an inflammatory, remember this when you're making your food choices.
Cheese - Nut cheese
Milk - Oat or Soy Milk
Yogurt - Coconut based
Knowledge Based Exercise
Get yourself a PT and focus on strengthening your back, glutes and core. This has sent my pins and needles and severe lower back pain out the door. If you want to start somewhere, try incline walking. This works all the muscle groups I've mentioned and is the most simple way to get started. Try this for 30 minutes a day over a few months, you will notice your pain dissipate and your booty grow too. ;)
Resistance training is something I truly swear by. I'm fortunate that my whole family are avid gym goers and super knowledgeable in that area. My mum has run marathons since I was a baby, my dad was the PT and ref on the series Gladiators 1995 and 2008 and my other mum was a Gladiator on the 95 series. So basically, It's pretty hard to not be health conscious as much as I tried to avoid it in my teens. If resistance training isn't your thing, try Vinyasa yoga or even Pilates. Whatever you do, move your damn body. We are not meant to be still and I don't mean walk down the drive way, actually get your sweat on and blood pumping.
Yep, I bet most of you yawned at this one. So did I when people were telling me to do it. I hate to admit it but, I was wrong. So very wrong. By implementing meditation I'm able to set up my day with clarity. There are plenty of studies that suggest stress inflames the body. By cutting down our stressors we are preventing a flare up.
Try Insight Timer or even jump onto Spotify and find a playlist that resonates, just start somewhere for a few minutes a day.
Track Your Cycle
Pick up the book 'Code Red' by Lisa Lister. It explains a lot of this but to know your body is to know your body.
Menstrual Cups or Alt's To Mainstream Period Products
Cut out the highly toxic products like tampons and pads, PLEASE! Do this even if you don't have endo, bleach in our bodies is never a good thing.
Explore Your Hormones
Find yourself a natural doctor who specialises in hormone health to regulate your hormones and find natural ways to do this.
Listen to this podcast: Chloe's Clinic: A Deep Dive Into Endometriosis & Natural Management
No I'm not suggesting this helps, what I will suggest here is if you do drink, drink organic. Read the bottles and if there's a high sugar high preservative content, your endo is bound to flare.
Because I am that way inclined I sourced a really wonderful psychologist who also specialises in some healing practices and this helped me understand a lot about my body and mind and their connection. Her name is Rowan and if you are on the Sunshine Coast and want her contact, please let me know but otherwise, please source your own version of a therapist who can come at this with knowledge and empathy. It is imperative to have that support when working through something like this as I personally believe that our minds are so very connected to our bodies and we hold things in particular places that manifest into ailments. Get yourself a Gaia account to explore this more through experts and documentaries.
I think this is the basis to a healthy life in general. You can read this without Endometriosis and benefit from all of it. That's the thing though. These key fundamentals are the ground floor of a healthy life and without them, it's hard to feel any reprieve from a chronic illness. Grain of salt it all but I have nothing to gain by lying or pushing an agenda. I'm here to share my experience and my experience is currently drug free and thriving.
Love, Tori x