Written by Kelly Brock, MS
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Have you ever had menstrual cramps so awful that you laid on the bathroom floor for hours, uncontrollably sobbing?
What about in the days leading up to the first day of your period – does it hurt to stand up straight?
Have you ever been awake at night because the pain won’t let you sleep?
I have experienced all of this and much more. My story is not uncommon. Many women are told that menstrual cramps are “normal” despite it feeling anything but. After years and years of dealing with inscrutable pain and wondering what was wrong with me, I finally stumbled upon endometriosis.
According to John Hopkins Medicine,
“Endometriosis is derived from the word “endometrium,” which is the tissue that lines the uterus. Patients with endometriosis have endometrial-type tissue outside of the uterus
Endometriosis affects an estimated 2 to 10 percent of American women between the ages of 25 and 40. Women with endometriosis are more likely to have infertility or difficulty getting pregnant. Symptoms of endometriosis may include excessive menstrual cramps, abnormal or heavy menstrual flow and pain during intercourse. Laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure, can be used to definitively diagnose and treat endometriosis.”
YES! I exclaimed – fitting the bill for every single symptom listed on any endometriosis site I could find.
By this point in my life, I already had a bachelor's degree in exercise science and a master's degree in applied clinical nutrition – and yet I never considered endometriosis. Did you know the shape of your uterus can increase the risk of developing endometriosis? Since I was blessed with a bicuspid uterus (or heart-shaped) and there is a possibility of family history, the odds were stacked against me.
I did anything to mask the pain. Things I am not proud of. Overusing Advil, drinking too much alcohol then caffeine to hide the debilitating fatigue, painkillers to numb the excruciating pain. Not knowing it at the time – I was only making it worse.
Something had to give. Since I have an incredible OB/GYN, I shared my insight on endometriosis, and she agreed I matched the criteria. The only “definitive” way to get diagnosed with endometriosis is laparoscopy but we decided it wasn’t in my best interest to complete it. Thus, a diagnosis of “endometriosis unspecified” was born and I began my healing journey.
While I am still learning, here are
3 Things That Changed My Life with Endometriosis
I was baffled to only find two books in my local library on endometriosis but one of them changed my life forever and is the inspiration for this post.
I read “Beat Endo” in one week, ear-marking the concepts of #endo, food changes I could do to improve my symptoms and a colon-massage that I have been doing every day since.
If you have difficulty comprehending endometriosis, I highly suggest starting with this book. Click here to learn more: https://amzn.to/3tU8MEU
No, I am not pregnant, but yes, I sleep with a pregnancy pillow most nights!
The idea is that your back and therefore uterus will be supported while you sleep, resulting in deeper more restful sleep. While it does take up a ton of room on the bed, it is so worth it!
Ready for your own pregnancy pillow? Click here: https://amzn.to/38j1t1h
When I asked my boyfriend for a Squatty Potty for Christmas, he thought I was kidding. I wasn’t! And let me tell you, a squatty potty IS LIFE CHANGING!
An unfortunate side effect of endometriosis is gastrointestinal issues and one of the most prevalent is straining during bowel movements. Not with this bad boy!
Since tightening of the pelvic floor can happen because of endometriosis, the mechanism of the squatty potty can be immensely helpful.
According to Healthline, the Squatty Potty can lead to:
· increased bowel emptiness
· reduced straining patterns
· reduced bowel movement duration
Want to try a squatty potty? Check out the one I have here: https://amzn.to/3IUKr6f
Some days with endometriosis unspecified are great and other days, I have what I lovingly call “flare ups” but each of these points made a great impact on my symptoms.
Of course, there are so many more tools to help with endometriosis. One of them being the way you eat. If you are ready to make changes to honor your hormonal imbalances, click here to learn more about our programs!
Do you have endometriosis? What have you found helpful? Comment below!
Until next time,