Hormone treatment is not the only option
I’ve come across quite a few people lately who are feeling stuck and desperate. They’ve tried hormonal treatments to help manage their endometriosis symptoms but find the side-effects too difficult to manage. They may have been told surgery is not an option for them or have already had surgery recently. People are then left making a choice between dealing with the intense pain and all the other symptoms that go with their endometriosis or coping with the side effects of hormone treatment. Often neither is a great option and so people are left feeling desperate about what to do next and what the future holds long term.
There is another way through this.
This is a horrible dilemma to be in – I know because that’s exactly what happened to me too. But even if the medical system can only offer you hormone treatment or surgery, there are other options you can try that might help. Nutritional therapy, acupuncture and homeopathy are just some of the alterative therapies that can help with endometriosis, without giving you the side effects of hormone treatment. No it’s not going to cure your endometriosis or work really quickly (to be honest I’ve not come across anything that does that), these things may not work for everyone and you may have to find what works for you, but it can make a difference to reducing your symptoms and helping you manage them. When you are feeling desperate and that there are no other options out there, then it’s worth a try.
My own story with endometriosis
My own endometriosis symptoms started to have a real impact on my life at the age of 19 – probably because I was a student and did not have the best diet or lifestyle! I had intense pain during my period but was starting to get pain before my period started and after it ended too, so I had at least 2 weeks of every month in pain. I went to the GP and was told ‘go on the pill, that will sort everything out’. And of course, that’s what I did as I wanted to find a way of stopping the pain. But although I got some reduction in pain, I got a lot of side effects too – low mood, even more PMS symptoms, fluid retention and high blood pressure. I stuck with it for a while, but eventually I came off the pill as the side effects got too bad. Nine months later I was back on a different brand of the pill as the pain had got worse again – and this pattern continued for most of my twenties as I swung from pain or side effects of the pill, without knowing there was any other option.
Getting a diagnosis and my lowest point
My symptoms got progressively worse over my twenties, and I’d got to the point of constant day and night pain all month long, with really intense pain during my period that made me feel sick. I popped painkillers, but they only took the edge of the pain for a few hours. By then I’d also got anaemia, bloating, IBS and constant cystitis like symptoms. I would struggle to even walk to the end of the road as it set off this searing pain. My symptoms were completely ruling my life. Finally, my GP referred me to a gynaecologist, I had a laparoscopy and got diagnosed with endometriosis. Initially I was relieved, as I finally had an explanation for my symptoms, but that soon turned to despair when I was told surgery wasn’t an option for me and the only thing they could offer was stronger hormone treatment. That terrified me given I’d never got on with the pill, how would I cope with stronger hormone treatment? I remember leaving that appointment in tears as I’d waited so long to get some help and all I was offered was more hormone treatment. I felt so desperate to feel better and that I was going to be stuck like this forever.
The way forward and turning things around
At that point I decided I couldn’t take any more hormone treatment and started to look for other ways to manage my endometriosis. I got into nutritional therapy and making changes to my diet, taking supplements and improving my lifestyle – particularly around how I managed stress, made a massive difference to my symptoms. It didn’t happen overnight, but slowly and gradually my symptoms eased and happened less frequently. I’m now at the point of mild on and off cramps for the first two days of my period but being pain free for the rest of the month. I don’t have IBS; I only get bloated if I eat too much wheat and I can do yoga and go for long walks without it triggering any symptoms. If you’d have told me 20 years ago when I was diagnosed with endo that this was possible I wouldn’t have believed you. But by working on the underlying causes of the endometriosis you can improve your symptoms – I’ve seen this happen with clients I’ve worked with too.
Don’t lose hope!
So, my main reason for sharing my story is to give you some hope. I don’t want anyone else to feel as desperate as I did and to lose hope in their being a way of managing your endometriosis symptoms. If hormone treatment works for you that’s great. But if it doesn’t, you get too many side effects or you’ve been told you can’t take it anymore, then know that there are other options out there. And if you’d like to chat or get some help with managing your endometriosis symptoms, then do get in touch.
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Emma Belton Nutrition disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.