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Can diet help manage Endometriosis? Sally’s Story.

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month.

To help raise awareness, Sally – one of the team members at Go Vita Ballarat - has kindly shared her story about her diagnosis, the symptoms she has experienced and the natural treatments that have helped her manage endometriosis.

“When I was 19, I was travelling on a train home. I was feeling bloated and experiencing body-jolting sharp pains – like barbed wire was being dragged through my insides. I battled though, thinking that maybe it was just bad period pain. However, a few weeks later I woke up in such severe pain, I was barely able to walk. The pain was so agonising, I went to the hospital and it was discovered that a huge ovarian cyst had burst into the lining of my stomach and required emergency surgery. During my recovery a number of doctors suggested that I may have endometriosis, however a formal diagnosis wasn’t made.

To help manage my symptoms, I had a Mirena inserted. A Mirena is an Intrauterine Device (IUD) that is commonly used as a form of contraception. I was also prescribed the mini-pill to help increase progesterone and manage pain. Both contraceptives stopped ovulation and menstruation, but did manage my symptoms.

However, 4 years later I started to experience chronic back, neck and pelvic pain. I was also suffering from severe bloating, depression and anxiety, loose bowel movements, rectum pain, stomach pain and extremely heavy periods. In consultation with my health-care team, we decided to have the Mirena removed, as I felt that was contributing to the pain. As a result, my periods returned and I was passing blood clots that were sometimes as big as a 10-cent piece. I was finding it difficult to get out of bed and started to experience gut problems and food sensitivities.

I underwent laparoscopic incision surgery – a procedure that examines the interior of the abdominal or pelvic cavity, via a small incision through the belly button. Endometriosis was found and removed from my bowel and ureteral sacral ligaments. It was at this point that I as officially diagnosed with endometriosis.

For the 4 years that followed, I had two more surgeries to remove more endometrium growth. I was also put on Depo Provera; a contraceptive injection that is administered every three months.

To complement the medication (and with the hope of being able to manage without the hormone treatment), I made changes to my diet, increased my exercise and did my own research into foods, the body, various ways to heal, trauma and disease. I read possibly hundreds of different articles and real-life recounts; and listened to a number of informative and inspiring podcasts.

I was also well-supported by my mum and my sister; for whom I am forever grateful.

I had acupuncture regularly (something I found incredibly relaxing and beneficial). I also removed as many toxins as I could from my day-to-day life; replacing all of my cleaning products, skincare, cosmetics and other personal care products to more natural and organic options. I had regular appointments with a naturopath, who prescribed a number of herbs and supplements and also supported me through a number of changes to my diet. I removed gluten, dairy, preservatives and additives. My diet became predominantly whole-food, vegetarian. I also drank a lot of herbal teas: passionflower, peppermint, dandelion and raspberry leaf tea.

To this day, I feel confident that the changes to my diet and personal care products has been the most significant contributing factor in managing my endo symptoms naturally.

I also found regular yoga and meditation beneficial. I was so taken with the practice, that I completed a 1 year Yoga and Meditation course; an experience that put me in touch with my body, made me address my unresolved emotional history and traumas, and made me appreciate how remarkable the human body is.

I have now been managing my endo naturally for 5 years. I am predominantly pain free, with the exception of occasional flare ups that are either caused by scar tissue or being a little careless with my diet.

Despite the emotional and physical toll endometriosis has put me through, I am grateful that it has made me more empathetic towards other sufferers and has put me in a position to possibly help other women recognise the symptoms and explore their treatment options.

Endometriosis has given me courage and determination beyond measure, including the most powerful relationship with myself- my menstrual cycle, mind, body and spirit.”

Our Ballarat Naturopaths are available for private consultations. To make an appointment, visit the store at 23 Sturt Street Ballarat or call 53315316.

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