It’s a new year and you’re ready for a fresh start — but last year’s celebrations haunt you.
Yep. Me, too. Although I know my triggers and how to manage endometriosis, I still indulged maybe a smidge too much for my body’s liking at Christmas. Perhaps you did, too. And now, like me, perhaps you’re worried about a forthcoming period.
But this isn’t about guilt or regrets. You enjoyed Christmas and did your best to manage endometriosis at the same time – not the easiest of combinations.
So, what now?
Whether you have a day until your period or a couple of weeks, there are some things you can do for your body to soothe the impact of endometriosis, and hopefully, have a less painful period than anticipated. I’m not a nutritionist or doctor, so it’s best to refer to other sources from the experts (whom I reference throughout) and from medical professionals.
Reduce that inflammation
Inflammation unleashes pain. Inflammation is the body’s natural healing tool that protects an area while it mends. But with endometriosis, we’re already chronically inflamed — our body is, in a way, adding layer upon layer of inflammation on an area that is struggling to heal. While inflammation is helpful to healing, there comes a tipping point where it can cause extra pain and problems.
Food groups such as sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can cause inflammation in the body. While there are few direct studies on endometriosis, we do know that many chronic pain sufferers experience relief from following an anti-inflammatory diet.
If I’ve “overindulged” on some of the inflammatory food groups, I always reduce or completely cut them out before my period. After years of experimenting, I can say it makes a huge difference.
My suggestion is to read up on anti-inflammatory foods. If you’re really keen on reducing inflammation, seek the support of a nutritionist or follow the detox plans in the following books: “Take Control of Your Endometriosis” and “Woman Code.” These books further explain inflammation and inflammatory foods.
Support the liver and detoxification system
Your hormones are key to a healthy period. Additionally, it’s thought that imbalances can cause heightened PMS and heavy or painful periods. Estrogen dominance has also been linked to endometriosis growth.
Your hormones are regulated by the detoxification system, which includes the liver, kidneys, bladder, and digestive system. In her book, “Take Control of Your Endometriosis,” Henrietta Norton explains that the detoxification system works well — until toxins overload it. Toxins include waste products such as alcohol, sugar, and fat in high amounts. Sounds like Christmas dinner to me!
When the system becomes overwhelmed, removing excess hormones like old estrogen can become a struggle, and so your hormones become unbalanced.
Support your body in the detoxification process by eating a healthy diet high in fibrous vegetables and whole foods while cutting down on foods that’ll strain your system, such as the ones listed above. According to Norton, you can also support your liver and kidneys with particular foods, such as nettle tea, dandelion tea, parsley, beetroot, carrots, and kale, to name a few. Eating organic can also help ease up the toxin load in your body and give your liver a bit of a break, while dry skin brushing every day can help the body eliminate toxins.
Again, for more of an in-depth dive into these foods and how to support the detoxification process, I suggest reading the books mentioned above.
Give your body a boost
Most nutritionists agree that we should do our best to get all nutrients from food, when possible. However, sometimes your body can do with a little boost to help with hormone balance, inflammation reduction, or healing assistance via supplementation.
- Omega-3: You could up your oily fish intake, but try to go for organic, as fish can contain a lot of toxins from pollution in the sea.
- Turmeric: While there’s no conclusive evidence, it’s been a huge help for other endometriosis warriors and me, anecdotally.
- Evening primrose: My herbalist and period expert friend swears by this stuff, though I’ve never tried it. It works by blocking the chemicals that cause inflammation.
- Endo Complex: This is my go-to supplement, the one I won’t go without. It helps balance my hormones, support the detox system (especially the liver) and reduces inflammation, among other things, including reducing fatigue.
- Diindolylmethane: This is recommended for liver support by various hormone experts, though I haven’t tried it.
- Magnesium and vitamin B6: Magnesium with B6 relaxes the muscles. I find it helpful for reducing cramps by supplementing throughout the month.
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.