What Happened When I Stopped Eating for Endometriosis

What Happened When I Stopped Eating for Endometriosis

living with jessica d

I’ve had the most stressful couple of months. This is a column about endometriosis and not the rest of my life, so I won’t dive into the stressors, but I will say how this period has affected my endometriosis.

I’m pretty good with eating for endometriosis. About 80 percent of my eating sticks to an anti-inflammatory diet, which is tailored to support my hormones. I stay on the path most days, but I’m a bit more lenient on weekends. For example, I might have a decaf coffee during the weekend or make some healthier treats that tick most of the boxes for my anti-inflammatory diet. If I want a cake, I’ll buy a cake that is vegan, gluten-free, and made with healthy ingredients.

In the past month, though, I have gone way off my endometriosis management path. I’ve been so distressed that I’ve been comfort eating continuously. My go-to comfort eats are, unfortunately, two of the most addictive substances — caffeine and sugar. So, of course, my comfort eating triggered a vicious circle of needing to consume more sugar and caffeine because I’d gotten hooked on the large amounts.

Thankfully, my approaching period is always enough to kick the habit. My fear of pain is bigger than my addictions, so I went cold turkey. (I recognize the addiction is tougher to kick for others.) By this point, I was desperate to get back to healthy eating even without the fear of pain. I felt terrible, both physically and mentally.

However, despite the diet kick being a pretty horrendous ride, I’m almost glad I did it because the experience showed me again just how much the anti-inflammatory diet helps me. Following are the reactions I’ve experienced in my body due to leaving my diet.

PMS

I don’t really get PMS anymore now that I eat for my hormones. I do experience slight changes, but they’re nothing like I used to experience.

I stopped eating all that sugar and caffeine about 10 days before my period, just in time for PMS. My PMS has always been aggravated by what I eat and this month was no exception. It hit me full-on, as if someone strapped a massive weight to my legs. I was miserable. Beyond miserable. I was actually at a point where I questioned if I needed help and considered texting my best friend to say I was at risk of harming myself. I saw no hope in life, I questioned my entire existence, and I felt nothing — completely depressed.

Now, that might seem extreme for PMS, but that’s how things always played out for me before I started looking after my health. I have questioned whether I have premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) but I have no idea whether PMDD is responsive to diet, as my PMS seems to be.

Either way, it was bad. I haven’t experienced PMS like that for about two years, and I don’t ever want to go there again.

Exhaustion

My predominant feeling is tiredness of varying degrees. Thankfully, balancing my blood sugar has boosted my energy levels to a new kind of high (for me), and although I’m still tired, life is much more manageable with these new levels. However, in the past month or so, I have plummeted back to the type of fatigue I experienced four years ago when my endometriosis returned. This type of fatigue has made me incapable of thinking clearly, of performing normal day-to-day tasks correctly, and of reacting rationally to normal situations. (I cried on a call with a client because she asked me to change something!)

Undoubtedly, that’s not the kind of fatigue I can continue forward in life with.

Pain

Thankfully, this is one problem that, despite heightening, I was able to quickly get under control by cutting out all inflammatory foods 10 days before my period. I think this was because despite going haywire with the rest of my management plan, I took my Endo Complex supplements religiously. This is in no way an advert for Endo Complex, but I am astounded at how much the supplement seems to have helped me with my endometriosis pain. This month, the pain was worse than usual, but much better than I expected, considering how my body has historically responded to eating inflammatory foods.

Yes, at times, bingeing on chocolate and drinking coffee every day had its fun moments, but I’d rather have my sanity and energy levels.

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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.

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