6 Lifestyle Changes I Made After Being Diagnosed With Endometriosis
Editor’s note: The following is based on an individual’s experience and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before going beginning new treatments or making lifestyle changes.
When I received the news I had endometriosis, I was at first ecstatic. This meant all of these years of doctors telling me I was healthy and making it up was not true. I was not making it up, and I certainly was not healthy. It was a feeling of victory. What I did not realize was that my journey was just beginning. There were going to be many changes needed in my life in order to get myself on a trail of feeling somewhat better. Was I ready to do that?
Recovery from surgery was rough. It took many weeks of being snuggled under my blanket and clinging onto my heating pad. One morning I woke up and realized I needed to do something. I could not live my life like this. I received the diagnosis I wanted so I could figure out how to get better, not become worse. Something inside of me clicked, and I knew I needed to become a warrior. Not only for myself but also for others who were struggling with the same thing. As I sat in my chair, thinking about what it was I needed to do, it hit me. Self-care. I needed to get off my butt, and start taking care of myself.
I already had let myself hit rock bottom. The level of exhaustion – physically, mentally and emotionally – had taken over because I was letting it. Although this is an illness with no exact cure, it did not mean I would let it rule my life. It was time to put my boxing gloves on and take charge. This was not something that came easily. It took weeks of ruling out certain foods and activities to see what worked for me. Finally, I began to discover things that helped me. I physically, mentally and emotionally started to feel better.
Six Lifestyle Changes to Make
I am not cured and I do still have days, sometimes weeks, where I am back to square one. Nevertheless, taking these few steps has definitely opened up the opportunity for me to live a more pain-free, happier life. I hope it can do the same for you.
1. Diet: Most people do not realize that many foods we eat are the main cause of inflammation and our pains. For years, I was feeding myself foods that were actually feeding the endometriosis and allowing it to grow bigger. Through a lot of research I have found that dairy, gluten, sugars and red meats, to name a few, are triggers for endometriosis. Changing your diet is not easy. However, if you are willing to give it a chance, you can help yourself in the long run feel more relief. In addition, be sure to drink a lot of water. It has helped me tremendously with bloating, along with other health benefits!
2. Exercise: Many with endometriosis may find it hard to do things most days. The fatigue sets in and we just want to stay in bed. But, exercise can be so important. I am not talking about exercise where you have to become super buff (if you are, kudos to you). I am talking about exercise that helps you mentally. I found that low-impact exercising like walking and yoga has helped me get through even the highest of pain days.
3. Self Love: Love yourself. I know having an illness like endometriosis can make it difficult to love a body that emits so much pain. However, you can change your life with the decision to make these healthy choices. You are worth it and deserve to feel better. But you need to be willing to try!
4. Sleep: Sleep is crucial. Those with chronic illness are often accompanied by chronic fatigue also. So finding the chance to feel refreshed is never easy. But making sure you are still trying to get decent amounts of sleep and rest is important to your body.
5. Support: It is truly hard for those with endometriosis to find others who understand what you are actually going through. The lack of knowledge contributes to this hardness. It is difficult for someone to comprehend the pain you are feeling if they personally have never experienced it. What I have found on my journey is the love and support from women struggling with the same thing. They understand and can offer advice and a shoulder to cry on. There are so many amazing support groups on social media you can find and become a part of.
6. Hobbies: Having things to look forward to that are fun to do really can help! When I am busy, so is my mind, leaving me no time to think about being anxious or depressed, or in pain. I personally enjoy adult coloring books, yoga, Netflix, blogging, music and reading personal development books.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Thinkstock photo via Jera_art.