I’m due on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas here in the U.K. Yippee.
Even for me, a woman now in control of her endometriosis, this is a frightening prospect.
My periods are under control because I have a way of managing my endometriosis that largely centers around nutrition, supplements, and supportive therapies.
My endo stays under control as long as I’m in control, but if I stray too far off track, I can end up in pain again.
This isn’t to say I can’t enjoy certain foods like I used to, but I have to make tweaks.
But there are times when I can’t be so flexible, including just before and during my period. This means staying away from trigger foods and going easy on the carbs. I find that too many spikes in my blood sugar levels lead to more inflammation in my body.
Coincidentally, this year, my partner and I decided to celebrate Thanksgiving for the first time — right before my period. We carefully crafted a menu full of delicious endo-friendly delights. But we also agreed that it wouldn’t be a proper Thanksgiving dinner without mashed potatoes and some kind of sweet potato dish.
Both of these lovely foods are wonderful and full of nutrients, but also very starchy and high in carbs. They are the kind of foods I need to avoid before my period.
Regardless, I wanted to do things properly and had some of both. Within hours, I was in more pain with my period than I’ve been in for years. And it lasted three days.
Clearly, it made me think about Christmas Day. I’d planned to make an endo-friendly meal as I always do, but given that I’m due on the day after Christmas, I must be even more considerate this time.
In case you find yourself in the same situation this year, following are some of my strategies to help you put together an enjoyable Christmas Day that won’t leave you with a terrible flare-up.
Ease travel if you can
In some respects, we’re lucky that COVID-19 rules won’t allow me to see my family this year. This means my partner and I will spend our first Christmas together alone. We can skip the traveling we usually do, and I can rest and have my period in privacy.
There will be plenty of holidays ahead to celebrate together with family, and spending Christmas as a couple will make it a special year.
Make it fun
The idea of easing up on some of the most common inflammatory foods, such as sugar and alcohol, can be a scary prospect at Christmas. But it doesn’t mean you have to go without taste.
Get into the Christmas spirit ahead of time by baking lots of delicious sugar-free treats. Keto is such a huge trend now that many sugar-free cake and biscuit recipes can be found online.
I use Sweet Laurel’s recipes and swap all the maple syrup for inulin syrup and stevia. You can also get creative with monk fruit! I’ll be baking away days ahead of time while listening to Christmas carols!
In terms of alcohol, try having fun with “mocktails” that are sweetened with stevia and flavored with fresh, low-sugar fruits, herbs, spices, and floral waters.
Lower inflammation in the lead-up
One of the most helpful things we can do to lower period pain is to lower overall inflammation.
Normally, I’d have a few cups of caffeinated teas in the first half of my cycle, but I’m going to swap those all to decaf this month. I’d also allow myself some gluten once or twice, but I’m going to skip that, too. I have a range of decaffeinated teas and some incredible online artisan bakeries I can buy from, so I won’t really be missing out on much.
Another strategy is to utilize anti-inflammatory supplements, herbs, and spices throughout the month.
Have a toolkit on hand
I’m only human, and I’ll do my best, but if I do end up having a painful period, I want to ensure I have my pain-relief toolkit handy.
For me, that includes lots of ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric spices to make strong teas; ginger capsules; magnesium spray, capsules, and bath salts; a hot water bottle; yoga for period pain videos; essential oil patches; and paracetamol (acetaminophen), if needed.
Prep ahead and have a little box in your bathroom with everything that’ll help you get through.
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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.
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