Having Endometriosis & Adenomyosis; avoiding hysterectomy by lifestyle/diet change

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This is the continuation of post what to do when you have both endometriosis & adenomyosis. 

If you are like me, sadly, having both endometriosis and adenomyosis – we have natural alternatives to deal with these conditions. No need to suffer in silence, I know entirely how you feel and the infallible agony you are going through, for I’m experiencing it too!

I sympathised with my endo-sisters in their 20’s or 30’s who had hysterectomy as their last resort. That’s what most doctors would recommend to end patient’s complain about pain.

But is it the only cure?

If there’s anything we can do to avoid the ousting of our wombs or ovaries, we would definitely jump on it right? Most especially when we’re still trying to conceive. We are often confronted with varying dilemmas of whether to have it removed or not, take synthetic hormones to mask the symptoms and pain, and the endless misconception that the pain we are feeling is “normal” for women during their menstruation. 

In Endometriosis Diet: Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid, there are certain lifestyle choices that play a big role in the progression of endometriosis or adenomyosis. Foods can greatly influence the hormones, particularly estrogen balance, and can negatively affect us with these conditions. 

Both diseases are caused by what else – hormonal imbalance, usually an excessive of estrogen supply. The management for endometriosis and endometriosis is the conventional palliative therapy with pain medications and hormonal manipulation. Minor surgeries and the final course is hysterectomy. 

“Various published studies have shown that 12% of patients with Adenomyosis also have been diagnosed with Endometriosis in other sites outside the uterus, within the pelvis. As high as 62% of women who had hysterectomy were found to have this disease on pathology reports.” – alternativesurgery.com

Endo-diet for me seems unthinkable & impractical (pardon the candidness). Of course I want to be healthy but being able to eat only what is suggested ugh! is a punishment. And so I thought of improvising, tweaking it a little bit. I call it my hormone-helper nutrition. Long name alright, it is basically a diet of having mostly plant-based whole foods and some selected supplements. 

I still indulge on eating seafood, pork, free-range chicken but not red meat. I now avoid red meat, alcohol, artificial sweetener and other inflammatories. I also began reducing my calorie intake and monitor my calorie consumption. There’s a lot actually, but baby steps is crucial and really important.

So what is plant-based whole foods? 

Plant-based examples; almond milk, coconut sugar, whole grains, cereal, nuts, legumes, fruits – food that didn’t undergo processing. Organic and free from chemical or GMO’s. The supplements I’m taking are posted in herbal supplements. We may have different reactions and in Filipino saying “hiyang” when certain herb improves our situation. So I suggest to do baby steps, take supplements one at a time and monitor any response. 

Wellness practices – Lifestyle change

Exercise – when we sweat, our body releases endorphins. These are chemicals to help you become less sensitive to pain. It also triggers a positive feeling in the body, naming it “happy hormones”. Do you know that I went back to the gym and started doing dumbbell workouts, and I feel so good after workout. 

R and R (rest and relaxation) – living in constant pain can cause more stress. Making symptoms worse and you more anxious and sensitive to pain. So chill out, relax and practice deep breathing exercises. 

fitness girl hands lifestyle

Photo by Pexels.com

Acupuncture – this I have yet to try. It is a traditional Chinese therapy that uses fine needles to stimulate points in your body. It increases blood flow and releases natural pain-killing chemicals thus help us in pain during flare-ups. 

Counting Calories – which helps a lot in weight management. Using a mobile app to assist you, I have the free version of – Lose it! and thinking of upgrading to premium because of a continued effort to improve my condition.

lose-it-app

 

These are some points to consider or to try, paying tribute to my endo-community. I recently underwent some endometrial procedures, my doctor removed two benign polyps from my uterus (thank God) and so far I’m pain free! 

Having both endometriosis and adenomyosis should not dictate your life. It led however to a drastic awakening on my part, but I got up and continue to get up in spite the pain. Seek help and there’s always hope – #endohope.

 

 

 

Resources:

http://dietvsdisease.org

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression#1

https://www.thecut.com/swellness/2016/07/can-diet-and-nutrition-help-with-endometriosis.html

Read more:

My Endometriosis Story: Journey through Pain

endometriosis story: procedures 

endometriosis is different from period pains

herbal supplements for Endometriosis

endometriosis story: journey through pain 2

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what to do when you have both endometriosis & adenomyosis

Years with endometriosis made me scour the internet for answers, explanations, & remedies. Spoke with many experts including my friends; Doc April Fabian and Doc Mae Syki-Young. Sadly, endometriosis and adenomyosis are both understudied and misunderstood. But no time for self-pity, not me, and so I began a crusade against most women’s health issues. 

The thing with doctors is that they’re too busy to explain our illness. And so when I was made aware of these complications, it hit me hard – I’m not getting well. Instead of falling into despair, I decided to continue my advocacy, share my story so others can learn from it.

 

 

This post is to help my endo-sisters take care of themselves, save the rest of their reproductive organs in natural ways possible, manage painful symptoms, avoid further complications, when you’re like me – afflicted with endometriosis and adenomyosis.

So far, I had two surgeries since the time of diagnosis. First surgery when the doctor was proudly pre-occupied in using the latest technology, yet there was lack of sympathy and everything seemed fuzzy. I thought I had to seek another opinion. And so I did. 

 

“The hard part is that you can’t really do anything—you can’t fix it.”  

“You can treat heavy periods but you can’t get rid of adenomyosis without a hysterectomy. That’s why we don’t look for it [as doctors] because we can’t do anything about it.”

“People often think that with modern medicine, everything can be fixed. No, actually, a lot of things can’t be fixed but we can do a lot to minimize people’s symptoms,” explained Dr. Lisa Dabney (harpersbazaar.com)

I hope it’s not too late for me, my dear Nanay (grandma) would always remind and worry about me and I was like “I’ll be okay, this is nothing.” I’ve been always “matapang” which means brave in Filipino, in dealing with life’s hurdles. Until I discovered two years ago that I also have adenomyosis. So these two plus other adhesions are my arch nemeses. 

 

“The medical definition of endometriosis does not even begin to describe the reality of what it means to have endometriosis. The next time you hear about endometriosis, please remember how devastating this disease can be to a person. While endometriosis can be frustrating, if you have a loved one, friend or co-worker who suffers from endometriosis, please remember to treat them with respect and compassion.” – vitalhealth.com

Endometriosis was explained in previous posts. You can check them here —

Adenomyosis in brief is a condition when the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. Similar to endometriosis with displaced endometrial tissues but the affected area is different. In adenomysis it is inside the wall of the uterus, as to endometriosis is outside the uterus and can be on other organs of the body like intestines, appendix and lungs (rare).

mc-adenomyosis-illo-1498161855

Difference between Adenomyosis and Endometriosis

Though there are no specific cures, you can positively help your condition with pain management, healthy lifestyle, good/proper nutrition and exercise. The food we ingest affects our bodies especially our hormones. The endocrine system like the rest of our body systems work in complex structure that begins from ingestion of nutrients. And so we shall start with food.

There’s a diet called endo-diet. In endo-diet there are suggested foods to avoid and to take. See below;

Foods to avoid

  • trans-fat – Recent research showed higher rates of endometriosis diagnosis among women who consume diet high in trans fat. Trans fat is found on fried, processed and fast foods. 

  • red meat – the consumption of red meat can increase risk to develop endometriosis as suggested by some research. 

  • gluten – there’s one study showed a decreased in pain by 75% after eliminating gluten in their diet.

  • FODMAP –  stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are all types of carbohydrates. When poorly absorbed, these can aggravate symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) including bloating, constipation, flatulence, pain and nausea. It is best to read the labels and watch out for the following that has FODMAP in it; fructose, lactose, polyols like xylitol, maltitol & mannitol found mainly on artificial sweeteners.

  • alcohol & caffeine – these can promote inflammation and worsening of our condition.

Eat this not that FODMAP food list and shopping guide

dietvsdisease.com

Foods to eat (yay!)

  • fibrous foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains

  • iron-riched foods to replenish the blood loss in heavy bleeding or clotting. Examples are dark leafy greens, broccoli, beans, nuts and seeds

  • foods high in essential fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, chia and flax seeds

  • anti-oxidant rich foods like oranges, cranberry, dark chocolate (yum!) and beets

Supplements as mentioned in this post – herbal supplements for Endometriosis were found to be also beneficial. Studies showed significant reduction in pain & other crippling symptoms using supplementation.  

 

#TMI

There’s just too much, ikr! but ladies don’t lose hope. We can do baby steps, and remember you’re not alone. 

Let’s continue on next post! Thanks for your time 🙂

 

Resources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adenomyosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20369138 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=low+fodmap+diet+and+endometriosis

https://www.vitalhealth.com/endo-blog/what-it-really-means-to-have-endometriosis/ 

https://www.healthline.com/health/endometriosis/endometriosis-diet#foods-to-avoid 

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/diy-low-fodmap-diet/

prayer of gratitude

Prayer of Gratitude

Thank you God for the times You have said “no.” They have helped me depend on You so much more.

Thank you, God, for unanswered prayer. It reminds me that You know what’s best for me, even when my opinion differs from Yours.

Thank You, Lord, for the things you have withheld from me. You have protected me from what I may never realize.

Thank You, God, for the doors You have closed. They have prevented me from going where You would rather not have me go.

Thank you, Lord, for the physical pain You’ve allowed in my life. It has helped me more closely relate to Your sufferings on my behalf.

Thank you, Lord, for the alone times in my life. Those times have forced me to lean in closer to You.

Thank you, God, for the uncertainties I’ve experienced. They have deepened my trust in You.

Thank You, Lord, for the times You came through for me when I didn’t even know I needed a rescue.

Thank You, Lord, for the losses I have experienced. They have been a reminder that You are my greatest gain.

Thank You, God, for the tears I have shed. They have kept my heart soft and mold-able.

Thank You, God, for the times I haven’t been able to control my circumstances. They have reminded me that You are sovereign and on the throne.

Thank You, God, for those people in my life whom You have called home to be with You. Their absence from this earth keeps my heart longing for heaven.

Thank You, God, that I have an inheritance in the heavenly places something that this world can never steal from me and I could never selfishly squander.

Thank You, God, for the greatest gift You could ever give me: forgiveness through Your perfect Son’s death on the cross on my behalf.

Thank You, God, for the righteousness You credited toward me, through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s a righteousness I could never earn or attain on my own.

Thank You, Father, that You know me, You hear me, and You see my tears. Remind me through difficult times that You are God, You are on the throne, and You are eternally good.

And thank You, Lord, not only for my eternal salvation, but for the salvation You afford every day of my life as You save me from myself, my foolishness, my own limited insights, and my frailties in light of Your power and strength.

Amen.

 

prayer courtesy of a good family/friend who never fails to send me motivations daily.

thank you,

my endometriosis story: procedures

Envious of other countries where they have shown support, sympathy and awareness to those suffering in endometriosis. There’s even an organisation to help endo-sufferers raise fund, and begin valuable scientific research to find a cure for this “invisible” illness.

I would like to start a campaign here in my homeland, gather all my endo-sisters because I know we are stronger together – let us not suffer in silence!

I always believe that when we help others, we all rise up. And I want you to know that you are not alone…

A procedure called hysteroscopy was done to me two days ago. But before I jump into that, let us begin with the basics.

There are several endometrial procedures one has to undergo to diagnose and manage – endometriosis.

ENDO FACTS:

1. It takes an average of 10 years to accurately diagnose endometriosis.

2. One in Ten (1 in 10) women gets affected by it.

3. that’s about 176 million women in the world have endometriosis.

4. 68% of women with endometriosis were misdiagnosed with another condition.

Endometrial procedures:

*ultrasound – to diagnose this illness or other causes of pelvic pain. This test uses high frequency sound waves to create images of what’s inside the body. It cannot tell however if you have endometriosis but still helpful to see if you have cyst formations. This I need to have yearly or as advised by my Ob to monitor the cysts, scars or adhesions due to endometriosis.

*laparoscopy – this is an invasive procedure which was done to me more than 5 years ago. During this test, the doctor will make tiny incisions to insert the laparoscope – in my case 5 incisions, to see the endometrial implants, some may have to collect sample for biopsy and remove adhesions.

*SISH (saline infusion sonography) – is a type of ultrasound where a small volume of saline is inserted into the uterus, which then allows the lining of the uterus to be clearly seen on uterine scan.

*hysteroscopy – using a hysteroscope, similar to that of laparoscopy, the doctor inserts that to view into the cervix and inside the uterus. It can also remove polyp/s like in my case, and get samples for lab testing.

These procedures are very crucial in diagnosing and management of this condition. Please see your doctor to help and guide you in your endo-journey.

Hope this post helps, supporting fellow endo-sisters an once of pain at a time. See you again.

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related articles and resources:

endometriosis is different from period pains

My Endometriosis Story: Journey through Pain

herbal supplements for Endometriosis

My endometriosis story: Journey through pain 2

My Endometriosis Story: Post Op

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354661

https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/what-is-hysteroscopy#1

endometriosis is different from period pains

she has what?

Saw this battle cry unanimous for all of us suffering from endometriosis.

Living with endometriosis means a lot of patience when dealing with scrutiny and misunderstanding from people. They’d ask me, what do you feel? And I often replied, “indescribable pain.”

 

 

So what is really the difference between a regular menstrual discomfort and endometriosis?

Read full post;

My Endometriosis Story: Journey through Pain

The female reproductive organs are shown with red patches of endometriosis located on the ovaries and on the outside of the uterus. The uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, vagina, and areas of endometriosis are labeled.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH, USA

In order to understand completely one’s affliction is to have one. Pondering through the imponderable – a condition that is widely misunderstood and how to live above “it.” The dilemmas we endo-sufferers usually encounter are finding the best and sympathetic doctors, accurate diagnosis that will not take years, and having the right treatment/managements. It all begins with understanding this condition.

 

Endometriosis is an ailment while menstrual pain is merely a symptom, an indication.

Menstrual cramps last about two days only while in Endometriosis, it can be everyday or intermittent. Cramps can be considered normal if it’s not disabling and severe.

It would be best to see your doctor if your menstruation starts to feel odd, irregular and or extremely painful. 

After chatting with an #endosister this morning who has yet again been overlooked and told her symptoms are just gastro related…I thought it was important to share this. Never stop fighting for answers and advocating for yourself. You know your body best.💪🏼💕 — I’ve always had severe GI symptoms associated with my Endo. How many of you initially presented with GI symptoms which lead to your diagnosis? Please comment and share your experiences below.👇🏼❤️ . . . Image via @dririsorbuch #endofact #endometriosis #theendoproject #endostory #myendostory #endometriosisawareness #adenomyosis #pelvicpain #chronicillness #invisibleillness #womenshealth #endosisters #endostrong #endocommunity #endowarrior

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I’m currently writing this post prior to an endometrial procedure. Yeah a bit worried, but I’m placing everything in God’s hands. The thing with endometriosis is that you can never be complacent, even in the absence of pain, one has to continuously see a doctor and a regular check-up/diagnostic test is crucial. There’s no other way to monitor our condition but through periodical ultrasound.

I always feel the need to reach out to my fellow 176 million endo-sisters worldwide through writing and sharing my journey. Hope is definitely a powerful driving force that renders us strength and courage especially in this trying times.

 

Women empower woman. Every day your stories and your courage inspire, support and empower others. At @theendoproject we share all of our community stories for this very reason. Story telling is powerful stuff and we are much stronger together. I’m so proud to be a part of this community and to be an #endosister ❤️ — We would love to know how far our #endocommunity reaches. Please comment below and tell us where you are in the world!👇🏼🌏 — If you would like share your #endostory please send an email to helloendoproject@gmail.com. 📝 . . . Image via @treatingendo #endometriosis #theendoproject #endostory #myendostory #endometriosisawareness #adenomyosis #pelvicpain #chronicillness #invisibleillness #womenshealth #endosisters #endostrong #endocommunity #endowarrior

A post shared by The Endo Project (@theendoproject) on

Tried some supplements to alleviate its symptoms and help my body counteract the side-effects of taking various pharmaceutically made hormones. Sharing in the post herbal supplements for Endometriosis.

This blog aims to help endo-sufferers find hope, ease symptoms, prevent avoidable complications and to spread awareness and understanding of their families and friends.

RELATED RESOURCES:

https://www.webmd.com/women/endometriosis/ss/slideshow-endometriosis-overview

http://endometriosis.org/resources/articles/facts-about-endometriosis/

https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/endometri/conditioninfo

herbal supplements for Endometriosis

As promised, the following are the supplements I’ve been taking to alleviate symptoms and perhaps improve health. They’re either recommended or result of extensive research. Endo-sufferers may acquire some benefits from taking one of these supplements.

Ashwagandha (withania somniferia)

– may rhyme to that of black panther’s beloved homeland. It is an Indian herb and known to be a potent Ayurvedic medicine with many healthy benefits. Read previous post – The anti-stress Adaptogens

ashwagandha-plant_1024x

– Used for more than 2500 years, it is known as the “strength of the stallion” because it is traditionally used to strengthen the immune system and also referred to as the Indian Ginseng. I take this in capsule form since it is more practical than consuming it as food.

Cranberry

– became my instant favorite fruit/supplement. And here’s why; helps improve immune function, decreased blood pressure, high in vitamins C, A and K, prevent cancer, lower risk of Urinary Tract Infection aaand half a cup comtains only 25 calories. I usually add it in baking oatmeal cookies or drink store-bought organic cranberry juice. Also a great healthy snack as trail mix – combine with nuts like almonds, pistachios or hazelnuts, oats and other dried fruits.

food healthy red fruits

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite Pexels.com

Chasteberry (vitex agnus-cactus)

– This herb provides a precise indication which is to ease Endometriosis symptoms. A Mediterranean and Central Asia native, this tiny berry (as small as peppercorns) alleviates PMS (Pre-menstrual syndrome) symptoms, increase lactation, and treat menstrual symptoms while balancing hormones. It’s said, that effect will take months to be noticeable.

chaste-berry

herbal health

 – perhaps, a separate post is needed for the advantages of taking chasteberry/vitex.

Evening primrose Oil

– from the seed of primrose hence the name, used by pregnant women to prevent high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia), shorten labor and prevent late deliveries. It is also used for PMS, breast pain, and most importantly endometriosis.

Image result for evening primrose oil

aloha.com

– Essential fatty acids are necessary in bodily functions but our bodies can’t produce them. Evening primrose oil contains “essential fatty acids” which is the building block for cell membranes and other hormones. Essential fatty acids also seem to help decrease inflammation related to conditions such as arthritis and eczema.

Raspberry

– I discovered this in tea bags from a local herb store while buying other supplements I mentioned above. This tastes so good and has many health benefits, too. It boosts fertility in women, aids the immune system, protects the heart, supports faster metabolism (ooh, I like!) and regulates hormones.

white ceramic cup on white saucer

Photo by Pixabay Pexels.com

– the tea is made from dried raspberry leaves and has a bunch of vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamins B, C, & E, potassium, iron and magnesium. So this tea, aside from its health benefits on women is also good for men and their cardiovascular health. Like peppermint, this tea is beneficial for those suffering from cold, flu, psoriasis, eczema, acne, obesity, indigestion and constipation.

Spirulina

– yes, one of my favourites in the list and will also make a separate detailed post on this. Alongside chlorella, is the most talked about superfoods because of its powerful nutrition-packed profile. Believed to boost the immune system and detoxes heavy metals (especially arsenic), prevents cancer, reduces bad cholesterol and lowers blood pressure.

 spirulinabackground

Taking these supplements may require more validation by research and studies, but it has proven to be helpful in my case. There’s no harm in trying, in fact nature is the best physician. We might as well believe in these herbs God has blessed us, to help us and ease our sufferings.

 

“nature itself, is the best physician.”

– hippocrates

 

 

Sources/Further readings;

https://draxe.com/ashwagandha-benefits/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/269142.php

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/chasteberry

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1006/evening-primrose-oil

https://aloha.com/magazine/articles/5-benefits-of-evening-primrose-oil

 

 

 

 

My endometriosis story: Journey through pain 2

I do not know how to begin my next personal entry. I’m pretty sure others would be eager to learn that my condition became worse. While a few close family and friends are immensely concern and worried.

I believe there’s a power to every story.

Not just for endo-sufferers like me, but for everyone…

For the last 7 years, I have lived with endometriosis, talked about it in previous posts;

Recently, I have been getting sicker. Been bleeding for more than a month now. And so I decided to see my trusted doctors, one happens to be a good friend of mine.

I’ve missed them, it’s been a long time since my last check-up. They’re genuinely compassionate, I can feel it. And they talk to me straight, only mere facts, without any sugar-coating.

My years with endometriosis is exhausting, there are times I refused to visit a local specialist because I know she’d remind me the same dismal news. It’s also tiring to always explain my condition, the more if inquisitor is clueless about this “incurable” disease. And to my fellow endo-sufferers, surely you can relate – people often think we make all these up or it’s all in our heads. Sadly, it’s pain who is talking. I tried to mask the affliction by managing my weight. Taking different medicines, oral therapy (hormones), supplements and herbal, to the point of repugnance is a daily norm.

First, I had an ultrasound followed by SISH (Saline Infusion Sonohysterography). Both are endometrial procedures to diagnose and identify the cause of this haemorrhage. After a thorough and cautious examination, they found a polyp & among other complications of endometriosis. Something unfamiliar to me, seeing it from the monitor I thought it was a fetus (I wish!) but oh no, it was a tubulocystic structure called hydrosalpinx.

it was a tubulocystic structure called hydrosalpinx.

Hypdrosalpinx – is a type of fallopian tube blockage. Read it here hydrosalpinx, causes and treatment. Distended in my abdomen, it appeared sausage like and a probable complication of endometriosis. Along with other pelvic adhesions, I was told that conceiving is now non-viable. It is easy to succumb and dwell on despair and sadness when one is overwhelmed with trials. And so I try to see something good, something to be thankful for in my everyday life. Waking up pain-free is what I cherish the most, being able to take no medication for a day is next.

We, together with my loving family and trusted doctors, deal with it one at a time. And it helps to be hopeful, hope gives us incredible strength.

hope gives us incredible strength.

My endo-sisters our journey through pain is much sweeter if we hold on to our family, to our loved ones, if we face it together. Facing it alone will just makes things worse and heavier. I thank God for I found a local community that I can relate with, and to be part of an international organization that’s united in one goal – to end endo. 

 

Reference/s:

http://www.verywellfamily.com

http://www.endometriosis.org

http://www.endohope.org