Endometriosis, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “the presence of uterine lining in other pelvic organs, especially the ovaries, characterized by cyst formation, adhesions, and menstrual pains.
It’s estimated that 1 in 10 women will suffer from the condition known as endometriosis in their lifetime, I, being one of them.
I didn’t even realize I even had “endo” for many years, even though since the time I had gotten my cycle I would be in excruciating pain and would often time have to call in sick to work or school.
Honestly, I just thought I had the world’s worst period and this was my punishment for not being pregnant (cue laugh track).
It wouldn’t be till my first year of college that I would learn I was living with endometriosis. This was accompanied by an emergency hospital visit with doctors telling me I had an ovarian cyst pop and how my “endo” was the cause of it.
This would mark my journey with what it’s like living with endometriosis, and how I deal with it on a daily basis.
Symptoms of endometriosis
By no means am I a licensed professional or any sort of professional at all when it comes to “diagnosing” endometriosis.
Living with endometriosis can be different for everyone, for me, however, these are the most common symptoms I have experienced;
- Mega killer cramps (usually accompanied by sickness)
- Pain during sex (usually felt in the ovarian area)
- Heavy menstrual flow
- Prolong menstrual cycle
- Chronic fatigue and exhaustion
Between the fatigue and vomiting alone I often find myself down for the count during my cycle. Living with endometriosis has changed the way I listen to my body and what I can and “can’t” do (usually me just saying no to certain activities or events).
After finding out what I was dealing with I spent a lot of time and energy educating myself on how I was actually going to be living with endometriosis…
(Side note I didn’t have any type of insurance so doctor visits and what not were sparse due to funds needed.)
This included trials and errors with medications, heating pads, and any natural remedy you could think of.
A good starting place for endo research can be found here.
How I cope with living with Endometriosis
For the first 6 months of trying to figure out how I was going to cope with this immense pain, doctors would just prescribe me with pain pills for the physical pain I was feeling, but never anything more. This became problematic because being reliant on pain pills is never a good path to go down.
Below are ways (that aren’t high pain killers) that I cope with living with endometriosis;
- I started off by listening to my body when I felt I was overdone or needed to rest more. Listening to how my body feels in situations lifts the stress off around the abdominal area, and not furthering any additional pain I may be feeling.
2. I got on PROPER hormones. I can’t stress this one enough, but being on a higher dosage birth control has changed my pain and sickness factor immensely. This is where most of my doctor appointments came in, it took me almost 6 months to be on the correct hormonal birth control, but it’s been worth it.
3. Higher fat foods and staying away from sugar when I can. Sugar is my weakness (mainly ice cream and coffee) however, sticking to higher fatty foods and more fruits, fish, and oatmeal can help with managing pain.
Foods with refined sugar, caffeine, or alcohol can inflame the uterus lining and cause even more discomfort.
4. Taking the pressure off my hips and using a heating pad. I had no idea how much of a difference just taking pressure off my hips would do for my pain levels. Something as simple and having a pillow under your hips can help alleviate pain in the uterus area.
I live with a heating pad by my side, it’s one of the best things to help tolerate my pain levels.
5. Using CBD oil for pain. This one isn’t necessary by any means, but switching over to CBD oil has not only been better on my body, but it makes it so I don’t have to take harsh pain pills often (once in a blue moon the pain will be so unbearable that I will take like a 1/4th of a pain pill).
Switching over to something more natural has drastically cut down on the number of times I need other forms of medication.
6. REST REST REST don’t be afraid to take time to rest and catch up on sleep. I felt so guilty for always being “tired” and needing to sleep when in reality it’s what my body needs the most, especially when living with endometriosis. Snuggle up and relax, it’s good for you I promise.
While I understand that not everyone may have a support system through their “endo” journey it’s helped so much with my anxiety and depression. Before I opened up about my endometriosis I feared that people always thought I was “sick” or trying to get out of tasks.
If you need help with finding support or a place to go here is an online support group.
Living with endometroisis is a constant battle that I continue to fight everyday, while I may not have all the answers I hope some of the topics talked about in this aritcle can help you win your “endo” battle as well.