When I received the news that I had endometriosis, I was at first ecstatic. This meant all of these years of doctors telling me I was crazy and healthy was not true. I was NOT crazy, and I certainly was NOT healthy. It was a feeling of victory. What I did not realize was that my journey was just beginning. Many changes would be needed to get myself on a trail of feeling somewhat better. Was I ready to do that?
Recovery from surgery was rough. It took many weeks of being snuggled under my blanket and clinging on to my heating pad. One morning, I woke up and realized I needed to do something. I could not live my life like this. I received the diagnosis I wanted so that I could figure out how to get better, not become worse. Something inside of me clicked, and I knew I needed to become a warrior. Not only for myself, but also for others who were suffering through the same thing. As I sat in my chair, thinking about what I needed to do, it hit me: self-care. I needed to get off my butt and start taking care of myself.
I already had let myself hit rock bottom. The level of exhaustion ― physically, mentally, and emotionally ― had taken over because I was letting it. Although this is an illness with no exact cure, that did not mean I would let it rule my life. It was time to put my boxing gloves on and take charge. It took weeks of ruling out certain foods and activities to see what worked for me. Finally, I began to discover things that helped. I started to feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Six lifestyle changes
I am NOT cured and I still have days — sometimes weeks — when I am back to square one. Nevertheless, taking these few steps created the opportunity for me to live a more pain-free, happier life. I hope it can do the same for you.
- Diet: Most people do not realize that many foods we eat are the main cause of inflammation and our pains. For years, I was feeding myself foods that were actually feeding the endometriosis and allowing it to grow bigger. Through a lot of research, I have found that dairy, gluten, sugars, and red meats, to name a few, are triggers for endometriosis. Changing your diet is not easy. But if you are willing to give it a chance, you can help yourself. In addition, be sure to drink A LOT of water as it helps tremendously with bloating, along with other health benefits.
- Exercise: Many with endometriosis find it hard to do things most days. The fatigue sets in and we just want to stay in bed. But exercise is so important. I am not talking about exercise to become buff and a size 0 (if you are both of those things, kudos to you), I am talking about exercise that helps you mentally. Low-impact exercises like walking and yoga have helped me get through even the highest of pain days.
- Self-love: LOVE YOURSELF. Having an illness like endometriosis makes it difficult to love a body that emits so much pain. But YOU can change your life with the decision to make healthy choices. You are worth it and deserve to feel better.
- Sleep: Sleep is crucial. Those with chronic illness usually are accompanied with chronic fatigue. So finding the chance to feel refreshed is never easy. But making sure you are still trying to get decent amounts of sleep and rest is important to your body.
- Support: It is truly hard for those with endometriosis to find others who understand what you are going through. It is difficult for someone to comprehend the pain you are feeling without personally having experienced it. What I have found on my journey is love and support from women suffering the same thing. They understand and can offer lifestyle advice and a shoulder to cry on.
- Hobbies: Having things to look forward to really can help! When I am busy, so is my mind, leaving me no time to think about being anxious, depressed, or in pain. Hobbies include yoga, coloring books, blogging, music, and Netflix!
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.