It's been said by the medical community that endometriosis is "a beast that takes on many forms." And some women don't even know they have it. I didn't even know what endometriosis really was until a close friend of mine revealed she had endometriosis. I just knew it affected a woman's ability to get pregnant or it meant a woman could never have children. According to Mayo Clinic, endometriosis is a painful disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus – the endometrium – grows outside your uterus. And it may spread beyond your pelvic organs. There are four stages of endometriosis – minimal, mild, moderate, and severe. The day my friend revealed her condition to me, she used the analogy of "it's like weeds growing inside your body."
It was summer 2017 when she asked me if I wanted to catch a movie with her. We decided to go see the new Tupac movie, All Eyez On Me. We had some time before the movie started and we walked over to the courtyard and sat down on one of the benches. She said, "Do you remember when I told you I have something to tell you and I would tell you in time? I said, "Yes." My friend went on to say, "Well, I have been trying to get pregnant, but I have stage four endometriosis." That day her story unfolded. Her continuous pain, countless doctor visits, the misdiagnoses, tried and true at-home remedies, medicinal treatments, multiple surgeries, freezing eggs, and her sense of hope. And it's the hope that kept my friend going in her pregnancy journey and battle against endometriosis.
It was winter 2018; I had taken her out to lunch for her 36th birthday. Again, she expressed her struggles with conceiving. She urged me to get checked out at a fertility clinic and consider freezing my eggs. She said, "I wouldn't wish this pain you or any other woman." For the sake of my friend, I did get screened at a fertility clinic. And it was spring 2019 when she called me and told me she was finally pregnant. I cried tears of joy that day. My lifelong friend was finally going to be a mother and I was finally going to be an auntie again. And now, I have a beautiful 17-month-old niece.
Now, I don't have endometriosis, but my heart goes out to the women who are battling this condition. But what I do know what helped my friend with her endometriosis and her pregnancy journey is holistic remedies. I am not a medical professional by any means, but after visiting my OB-GYN's office yesterday, she confirmed a few at-home remedies that do help women treat this condition.
*The holistic treatments below are in no way a cure or reverse an endometriosis diagnosis. It's important to note that though holistic treatments can help, this varies across women, and it is dependent on what stage of endometriosis a woman is in.
1. Clean Up Your Diet
A drastic change in diet has been proven to help treat endometriosis. Women should consume a primarily plant-based diet. This means no meat – no chicken, pork, or red meat. This also means no sugar, soy, starches, or super fatty foods. You also want to avoid dairy, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods high in sugar. There should be an increase in foods with anti-inflammatory properties. Foods like salmon, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, celery, bone broth, chia seeds, and berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries) should be included in your diet. It's equally important to stay hydrated; drinking water is an essential part of a healthy diet when dealing with endometriosis as it helps reduce bloating and cramping. Aim for foods that are high in fiber too – they break down estrogens in the body.
2. Chinese Medicine
It has also been said that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an effective natural treatment of endometriosis. A mixture of Chinese herbs can alleviate excessive bleeding, reduce pain, inflammation, and masses, and improve blood circulation. Acupuncture also helps with endometriosis. Research shows that acupuncture promotes blood circulation and regulates hormones. The anti-inflammatory properties of acupuncture are effective for pain relief due to their effect on blood chemistry and endorphin levels.
3. Herbs, Roots, and SpicesGiphy
Drink up because you're a G. Think ginger, turmeric, and green tea. The good thing is we have access to all these roots and spices at our local grocery stores. Get you some ginger root, slice it into small pieces, and boil it in a pot for ten minutes. Bush medicine for the win, y'all. Herbs like milk thistle, motherwort, chamomile, peppermint, lavender, ashwagandha, rosemary, and flax seeds. Herbs such as these have specific properties that treat a range of symptoms and side effects of endometriosis.
4. Get You Some Supplements
As we women get older, supplements are important in our daily routines. Key supplements like vitamin B6, DIM (diindolylmethane), probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, NAC, Vitex, and Calcium D-Glucarate are vital for women with endometriosis. These specific supplements also help with pelvic pain, gut issues, contractions, pelvic cramps, inflammation, and muscle relaxation. Visit your local vitamin store or drugstore to purchase these items.
5. Mind Over Matter
When the pain is too severe, meditate. Yes, you read that correctly. Meditation can help manage your endometriosis symptoms. Stress can increase inflammation in the body and that's exactly what endometriosis is. A disease of inflammation. Mindfulness can help you push through the pain on the days this disease is too much to handle. Even being outside, taking time to enjoy the moment can reduce levels of anxiety and depression of living with this condition.
If you plan on trying any of these natural at-home remedies at all, know that eating healthy is the best thing you can do for yourself and your body. This is proven. Also, know that there is hope. For anyone battling endometriosis, trying to get pregnant, or has a family member or friend with this disease, I wish you hope, so much hope.
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