Wellness

Endometriosis: 7 tips to reduce symptoms and live better with the disease

Endometriosis occurs when endometrial-like tissue begins to grow outside the uterus, causing symptoms such as pain, bleeding, and irritation, and eventually scar tissue may develop inside. the affected areas. Some women experience these symptoms from ovulation until the start of their period, which means they have endometriosis pain for half of the month. Others may primarily experience menstrual pain, or symptoms such as painful intercourse, excessive bleeding, or infertility.

The effects of endometriosis can affect women in many ways. However, it is difficult to diagnose it because the symptoms can appear in different parts of the body. Some women may not have painful periods, or they have seemingly unrelated symptoms that may lead to delayed diagnosis. These can include chronic lower back and leg pain, nerve pain, painful bowel movements, and digestive issues.

Quality of life issues related to endometriosis

Endometriosis mainly affects women during their reproductive period, between the ages of 25 and 35, although symptoms can appear as early as the first period, as early as 11 years of age. This is often a time when a woman is busy trying to build her life. Endometriosis can cause a woman to miss work or school, or even, in severe cases, have trouble keeping a job or completing an education.

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To add to the frustration of living in pain, there can be a long delay between the onset of symptoms of endometriosis and diagnosis. At least one in ten women have endometriosis, but they are probably underdiagnosed. Diagnosis can take up to 10 years, especially if symptoms are atypical.

7 strategies to live better with endometriosis

Getting a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for endometriosis is important, but taking care of yourself can help you feel your best.

In addition to working with your gynecologist to manage endometriosis, try these self-care strategies to make your daily life easier:

1 Eat a healthy diet

An anti-inflammatory diet can help ease the symptoms of endometriosis. This means focusing on eating a balanced diet that includes lots of whole foods, like fresh produce and lean meats, and forgoing processed foods and sodas. Also include foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as avocados, nuts, olive oil, and low-mercury wild-caught fish in your diet, as they are linked to reduced inflammation.

2 Stay active

You may not feel like exercising when you’re in pain, but when you can, try to move at least 30 minutes a day. Staying active can help reduce ovarian stimulation and estrogen production, which can help relieve symptoms of endometriosis.

3 Try acupuncture

Acupuncture can be useful to combat pain related to endometriosis or to help regulate cycles. In this form of Chinese medicine, a practitioner applies small needles to certain parts of the body to help correct imbalances by increasing blood flow to those areas. For women with endometriosis, this often means applying acupuncture needles to the pelvic area and lower abdomen to help relieve symptoms like cramps.

4 Find ways to get a good night’s sleep

Endometriosis itself can wreck your ability to sleep: According to a study published in June 2018 in the journal Human Reproduction, women with endometriosis are twice as likely to be affected by fatigue as those without of this disease. This fatigue was also linked to a sevenfold increase in insomnia. Try taking a bath with lavender and chamomile oils, which help with muscle relaxation. Bathing with Epsom salts can also help relieve pelvic and abdominal pain. You can also try herbal teas that can help you sleep better, such as those made with valerian root.

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5 Plan ahead with yourself

If you track the progress of your period and endometriosis symptoms monthly, you can get an idea of ​​when you are in the most pain. Try to clear your schedule during these times so you don’t have to rush between your social and work obligations and focus more on relaxation.

6 Explore the connection between body and mind

Living with pain is emotionally and physically draining, and conversely, quieting your mind through meditation and deep breathing can help your body feel better. Mindfulness meditation can improve symptoms of pain and depression in people with chronic pain, according to a study published in April 2017 in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

7 Get support:

You can join online support resources such as Facebook groups to connect with other women with endometriosis, or you can ask your gynecologist if there are associations that can offer in-person opportunities to exchange stories and strategies.

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