Endometriosis - a whole-body approach to healing
Endometriosis is awful. The web says it can cause painful periods and infertility, but that's putting it lightly for anyone who battles it daily. Endo-sufferers know that it can cause the worst pain of any pain ever, it can cause the end of hobbies, relationships, and jobs. It can cause incredible stress, financial strain, and utter isolation. It can eventually cause you to give up.
The simple description: a disease where the endometrium - tissue that should stay inside and line the uterus - grows outside the uterus. It can grow pretty much anywhere, but most commonly stays around the pelvic cavity. Every time a woman has her period, this tissue sheds like the endometrium tissue should, but since it has no escape route -- out the vagina -- it stays in the pelvic cavity. This results in internal bleeding, breakdown of the blood and tissue from the lesions, and inflammation, causing pain, infertility, scar tissue formation, adhesions, and bowel problems.
Some women have battled with endo for decades with no hope, others diagnosed today will receive no more hope from their doctors than the generation before them. Yes -- surgeries have improved from specialists. Yet on the whole, the medical community seems to have relegated endometriosis to one of those issues, the ones without solutions. Doctor after doctor push women away with misdiagnosis, or over prescribe them with painkillers, birth control, hormones, or even hysterectomies, all of which are band aids for a disease that goes much deeper than misplacement of some endometrial tissue.
If you're here you probably know what endometriosis is, that it effects 1 in 10 women, that it can cause debilitating pain just just during your period but all the time. But you might not know all of the research being done to re-frame the question of how to treat it.
The Heal Endo Approach
As a Nutritional Therapist, I understand that you can't cure endometriosis, but believe with the correct approach you can heal the body in amazing ways. That's why I offer this site as a free resource to any endo-warrior to learn more about their bodies, this mysterious illness, and how to start mending. I offer my own services as well, which you can learn more about here, but this site is truly about community and offering as much information as possible for women to find their own paths.
Since endometriosis is a full-body disease, it must be approached by a full body plan of treatment, which is layed out in the site through 4 pillars.
A nutrient dense life
A movement rich life
A toxin free life
A connected life
"Life" is at the end of each pillar because these won't work as little additions for a life that is led otherwise, just as you can't add turmeric to a sugar laden diet and expect your pain to dissipate, nor can you add a little yoga to your week and expect your endo lesions to minimize.
So many women with endo have deep nutritional deficiencies requiring a multitude of nutrients to heal. Just as important is their biomechanics, bodies with restricted blood flow to the pelvis from poor alignment, sitting habits, and years of positive heeled shoes. All of this is sewn together with chronic stress, something that without addressing can forever keep a women in the vicious endo-flair cycle. The more you learn about the entirety of this disease the more you'll see it's not solely confined to your pelvic cavity, and how treating your whole body you may finally find solutions!
Each one of these pillars is a lifestyle approach to be incorporated throughout your everyday. It's re-learning how to move in it's entirety so that when you do a little yoga, you don't unravel its benefits by sitting in a chair all day. It's learning about nutrient dense foods so that when you eat turmeric it fights inflammation caused by the endo, rather than by the processed foods you were eating. It's removing the endocrine disruptors from your beauty routine and home so that you don't fight the endo through diet and then add it back in through your perfume. And it's doing all of this while re-connecting to yourself, others, and the world at large. It's a new life, and a good life.
Treating disease this way isn't necessarily easy ... not like in the pill form of easy anyways. It takes persistence, dedication, enthusiasm, a will to thrive, and definitely a sense of humor. Why? Because it's an entire lifestyle swap that may (depending on your current life) flip your current mode of operation on its head. But hey, from new foods and bath products, to less stress, more fun, and slowing wayyyyyy down, I'm here to say it's actually pretty cool ;)