The 1st of March marks the start of Endometriosis Awareness Month here in the UK.
An estimated 1.5 million (thats 1 in every 10) of the UK assigned female at birth are living with endometriosis. This long-term condition sees tissue similar to the lining of the womb grow in other parts of the body, generally on organs in the pelvic cavity such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes and bowel. Not only can it be debilitatingly painful, but its impact ripples across all aspects of life; personal and professional relationships, mental health and quality of life.
We collaborated with Jasmin Harsono, founder of Emerald & Tiger, and Hayley Ray, a health coach specialising in Endometriosis, two of our guides who have lived with Endometriosis since their teens, to help us share some simple, natural ways that have helped support the condition over the years.
We recommend introducing these slowly, and on a week-by-week basis. We also recommend that medical advice is sought for treatment or if you think that you may have the condition.
Hayley: Although there’s no current cure for endometriosis, hving a daily practise of eating and including foods that are nourishing and low-inflammatory, especially a mediterranean style way of eating work well. Not only will you be eating leafy greens, grass fed meat, poultry and fish, you’ll be getting vital nutrients to the body that assist with healing process to reduce inflammation within the body that endometriosis triggers.”
Removing and eliminating, gluten, dairy, processed foods, refined sugars, and coffee can have a significant improvement towards the management of pain when dealing with endo. Food is such a vital factor to help maintain and manage symptoms, start off by removing these food triggers for a minimum period of 6 weeks and write down any observations that you discover for improvements in pain management.
Hayley: Fibre is also great when oestrogen is playing havoc with hormones. Filling up with fibre is an incredible way to not only support daily bowel movements, which are vital for the elimination of excess oestrogen within the body. Try adding chia, flax or hemp seeds in a morning smoothie or to home made almond & chia crackers. There are an abundance of health benefits when adding these super seeds to daily meals, which not only boost an over all intake of nutrients and fibre, they also have Omega-3 fatty acids which aid to support the reduction of painful symptoms endometriosis causes.
Jasmin: I recommend speaking to a nutritionist who understands Endometriosis, those who have helped me are Lola Ross (co-founder of the Moody app) and Le’Nise Brothers (author of You Can Have a Better Period).
Since taking the Endo Complex supplement from Henrietta Nortons range I have found a vast improvement with symptoms and have fewer flare-ups.
Hayley: Supplementing is a great way to get some extra TLC in to the body. B-vitamins, magnesium glycinate, zinc, fish oil and Vitex can assist to bring harmony back to hormones.
Hayley: Sleep as the golden thread that ties our health and bodies together. Sleep deprivation can cause havoc with our hormones, and not to mention the metabolic changes it creates. Start off by limiting blue light exposure from phones and screens around an hour before sleeping, also keep technology out of your sleeping space. Not only does this create a sacred space for sleeping it will keep also stop temptations to scroll before switching off. Blue light is detrimental for the skin, and it blocks the ability for our bodies to produce the hormone melatonin. This hormone makes us feel sleepy in the evening. I also recommend a brilliant Night Time Tea range by Pukka who have a selection of sleepy teas with homeopathic herbs to help support a good nights rest.
Another great hack is sunlight. Within the first hour upon waking up, getting exposure to day or sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes can not only help to regulate the production of different hormones during a 24 hour cycle, it also supports the overall production of cortisol, a hormone that helps us to feel alert, and refreshed throughout the day.
Try adding these in to your routine and over time you will see your sleep hygiene improve and you’ll start to see a reduction in inflammation, and chronic swelling which helps decrease the level of pain felt with symptoms of endometriosis.
Jasmin: Both have been instrumental in supporting me with the physical/ mental/emotional, and spiritual. I recommend finding a practitioner who understands Endometriosis and women’s reproductive health.
Hayley: Learning how to cope and deal with stress in crucial; 99% of all illnesses within the body are created from stress” says Haley. “Stress not only causes an increased level of inflammation, and with higher levels of inflammation within the body this will ultimately contribute towards more pain that’s felt the symptoms of endometriosis.
Jasmin: Tracking your menstrual cycle gives you a deeper understanding of what is happening with your body; it empowers and helps you make conscious lifestyle choices” Jasmin tells us. “Check-in daily and note how you feel mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I use and recommend the Moody app.
Hayley: Try 5-10 minutes of guided breath work, or attend a reformer pilates or yoga class. These practices will help ease tension, they focus on a full range of motion that support the abdomen, hips and pelvis, and supporting these will support with relaxation throughout the body and mind.
These physical activities release those juicy female endorphins that are crucial for feeling better within ourselves. Try introducing movement and you’ll see how these practices can support your overall mobility, reduce cramping within the pelvic floor and abdomen that are commonly present when dealing with endometriosis.
Jasmin: Living with Endometriosis can be overwhelming, especially when you first learn about it. Whether diagnosed or not, connecting to people via a support group who understand what it feels like to live with Endometriosis and its symptoms can help.
I recommend joining a support group and looking up Endometriosis UK, Endo Found, Nancy’s Nook, The Femedic and The Womb Room. You are also welcome to join my private community support group here Living With Endo.
Taken from Self Reiki by Jasmin Harsono, published by DK Publishers. Available here.