By Falon Melody
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease in which tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows outside of the uterus into other parts of the body. 1 in 10 women worldwide suffer from this debilitating disease and, on average, can have a delayed diagnosis of up to 7-10 years. Even more alarming is that it is more common than diabetes, yet many know little about it or have never heard of it. Why is this the case?
Endometriosis, first and foremost, has no cure, making management and treatment a challenge. Individual women with this condition will vary in severity, stages, and symptoms. The only conclusive diagnosis is by laparoscopic surgery, which can be both invasive and costly. Even those within the medical profession, who don't specialize in Endometriosis, normalize a woman's symptoms leading to ineffective, counterproductive, or limited treatments such as prescription pain medication and Hormonal Birth control - "The Pill.”
Life with Endometriosis!
For me, Endometriosis has been a life sentence as I presented with symptoms at a young age. Sadly I exceeded the average time for an official diagnosis. It took 19 years. Throughout these painful, debilitating years, I, like many women, had no idea what I had and what I could do to change it.
As with any condition where you suffer so much, you look to health professionals to give you the answers and provide relief for your condition. When you are repeatedly told that the myriad of symptoms such as migraines, irregular cycles, heavy and extended periods, low iron, depression, anxiety, and debilitating pain was in one word, "NORMAL," your sanity is tested. You feel so powerless to effect change. For me, doctors and gynecologists strongly advised the best course of medical action was to go on "The Pill". Out of pure desperation for relief, I agreed to that suggestion; to the further detriment of my health.
Despite all the odds stacked against me, I finally realized that all was not lost after many years of tears, pain, and heartache.
Time to take charge!
To be able to take charge begins with you. Don't settle, be proactive, and educate yourself. That's exactly what I did. I could no longer accept that this was it, that I had to continue to live this way. I researched deeply and listened to my body to start to rectify the damage that was done. For me, taking a holistic approach specifically targeted for Endometriosis was the key.
This included finding a General Practitioner supportive of Endometriosis and working with a Naturopath specializing in Women's hormonal health. She prescribed targeted natural supplementation. Also, it meant implementing an anti-inflammatory diet to suppress endometriosis flares. Low resistance exercise has been a stabilizing factor to ease Endometriosis pain, detoxify the body from hormonal imbalance, and strengthen the body and clarity of mind. Cycling for me personally, has facilitated this.
However, such an approach would have been futile had I finally reached the profound conclusion that conventional hormonal birth control was a significant contributor to worsening my symptoms. I needed to find an alternative and try life without hormonal birth control.
Ditching the Pill
It was at this point I discovered that cycle charting using FAM is not only an effective means to avoid pregnancy naturally, but it would also assist me in managing my health.
I liberated myself, stopped HBC (Hormonal Birth Control), and began charting. Soon after, I was introduced to Tempdrop, which meant I could keep up the routine of tracking my cycles without the added stress of worrying about my sleep patterns. I have found the most significant advantage with Tempdrop is that I can successfully record my temperatures accurately and consistently regardless of the disruptions to sleep that my pain can cause.
Within a short period of implementing these fundamental changes, I drastically improved in my general health and, more significantly, my Endometriosis. It's important to note that there is no cure for Endometriosis, and in all honesty, I still have some incredibly difficult days where the pain is brutal, but at least there is relief and knowledge.
Pain is the one symptom that is a constant challenge, yet what I will say is that for me to cope, I must be prepared, and that's where charting comes into play. By closely observing my fertility signs, I have discovered that my pain flare-ups generally start just before my period and last through to my next ovulation. By tracking my cycles, I know when my pain will start, how long to expect it, and how best to treat it when it's worst. My overall hormonal health can also be improved as temperatures indicate where you may lack or what needs attention to address better cycle health.
Endometriosis is a life sentence; however, you can have certain success and learn to manage it in a way that you can cope and have a measure of control