Endometriosis affects one in 10 women, with the predominant symptom being period pain. Unfortunately over time, due to ongoing inflammation, scarring and adhesions, women with endo can go on to develop persistent pelvic pain and infertility.
Here are 5 of my top health and wellness strategies for women suffering from endometriosis to live well and thrive.
When you have endometriosis, the scarring, adhesions and pain can make the muscles and connective tissue in the pelvis, abdomen and legs tight and more painful. Establishing a regular practice of gentle yoga can help lengthen these tissues and free up your nerves.
In as little as 15 minutes of flow, you can keep the pain at bay. Be sure to include some gentle backbends and hip openers.
Cutting out gluten isn’t just a health fad. Research shows that up to 90% of women with endometriosis will feel better if they eliminate gluten and wheat from their diet. They feel less pain, and they have happier bowel movements.
Gluten breaks through the cells of the small intestine leading to a leaky gut (or in scientific terms, small intestinal permeability), where the contents of the small intestine leak out into the rest of the abdomen and into the bloodstream. Eliminating gluten will give your gut the chance to heal.
Stress is the 21st century killer, and like many other auto-immune conditions, endometriosis thrives on cortisol and stress. Stress leads to more inflammation, which leads to more pain, and the vicious cycle continues.
Check in to your body every few hours, and take a few minutes to do some deep breathing exercises to calm down your nervous system. Practice meditation or relaxation on a daily basis to reduce your cortisol levels.
Ditch the toxins in your beauty regimen and in your home environment. Endometriosis is an estrogen-dominant condition and things like dioxins, BPA and phthalates are known endocrine disruptors and mimic estrogen in your body in a harmful way.
Your skin is your largest organ, and will absorb these nasties from your makeup, skincare and even your clothes washed in chemically-laden detergents. Switch to chemical-free and organic products.
Abdominal massage can be really helpful in loosening the tissues in the abdomen and pelvis. Because endometriosis leads to scarring and adhesions, physically releasing these tissues can help with pelvic pain, bowel pain and even reducing the dreaded “endo belly”.
I recommend massaging the belly in clockwise circles about 5-10 times every night before bed. This will also help stimulate “rest and digest” so that you get the best out of your sleep.
Want more strategies on how to manage pelvic pain and endometriosis? Take the Free 7-Day Challenge with The Pelvic Expert here: https://thepelvicexpert.com/fearlessfree/
Heba Shaheed is the co-founder of The Pelvic Expert, where she provides online exercise, nutrition and pelvic floor physiotherapy programs for mothers, pregnant women, and women with pelvic pain and endometriosis. Heba has over 7 years experience in women’s health physiotherapy, nutrition and exercise.