Endometriosis: Support & Education

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THIS IS ENDOMETRIOSIS by GEORGIE WILEMAN


I recommend the following for education, information and general support on endometriosis. I'm still fairly new to the endo world, so as I learn and come across more helpful sites and information, I'll make sure to add it here too, so check back now and then.

Endo What? ~ website & film 


The Endo What? film is a film about endometriosis ~ what it is, how it can feel to live with it, what can help and what doesn't.


"This film is being made for you. Whether you have or think you have endo or love someone who does, the goal is to give you a foundation of knowledge - straight from the experts."


The Endo What? website has some important information about endometriosis, it's also where you can purchase the Endo What? film and subscribe to their newsletter to stay up-to-date with their latest news.

You can also find Endo What? on twitter, instagram, and facebook.

The British Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy (BSGE)

"The British Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy exists to improve standards, promote training and encourage the exchange of information in minimal access surgery techniques for women with gynaecological problems."
(BSGE) 

The BSGE website has a section dedicated to Accreditted Endometriosis Centre where you can search for centres near you ~ Centres Archive. I've only just found mine and will be requested that my GP refer me as soon as possible.

You can also find the BSGE on twitter.

Carol Pearson's ‘Rewriting Red Riding Hood’ TEDxBrighton Talk


"Carol is a retired chartered accountant. When her full-time career was cut short by complications from severe endometriosis, she had to re-create herself and she now works as an audit chair for NHS Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group. Carol helps as a research assistant at Royal Surrey County Hospital and is co-leader of endometriosis support groups in Brighton and Guildford."
(Endometriosis UK) 

Carol also volunteers as patient leader and activist at Endometriosis UK. She is passionate about raising awareness of Endometriosis and helping those affected by it. In 2013 she did the above TEDx Talk where she shared her story.

You can also find Carol Pearson on twitter.

Georgie Wileman's 'This is Endometriosis' project


Georgie Wileman is a British protographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Georgie also has endometriosis, and the 'This is Endometriosis' project "began as a self portrait series, due to pain and limited mobility caused by the disease". The project now also includes others with endometriosis. Georgie adds that...


"With this project I want to make this disease visible. This is what it looks like. One in ten women and trans men have this, and we need to be seen." 


You can also find Georgie Wileman on instagram.

This EndoLife ~ blog and podcast 


Jessica Duffin runs the This EndoLife blog, where she talks about life with endometriosis, as well as the endo diet and lifestyle changes that can be made to help manage symptoms. Jessica also has an awesome podcast where, alongside guests, she talks about all things to do with chronic illness. I've learned a lot from her and always find relief in being reminded that I'm not alone. Jessica's mission is to...


"empower people all over the world to create a happier and healthier life with endometriosis."


You can also find This EndoLife on instagram, twitter, and facebook. The podcast can be found here.

Endometriosis UK


Endometriosis UK is the leading UK charity dedicated to endometriosis. The Endometriosis UK website has some really important and useful information about endometriosis. The charity aims to...


"provide vital support services, reliable information and a community for those affected by endometriosis." 


You can also find Endometriosis UK on twitter, instagram, facebook.

Endometriosis UK Support Groups



It can be really tough for those with a chronic condition to find others who understand what we're going through, sometimes we just need someone to say "me too!". This is why I recommend finding a support group. I've recently started going to Endometriosis UK's Support Groups; I go to the ones in London. You can find a list of support groups and their locations here.


"Endometriosis UK Local Support Groups offer anyone who is affected by endometriosis the chance to meet each other locally for information, support and friendship."

Upcoming Endometriosis Events in London



11th October 2018 (Thursday) 6:30pm - 8:00pm - Dr Natalia Zarate-Lopez is a Consultant Gastroenterologist at UCLH who will be speaking on bowel symptoms and endometriosis.
Address: UCLH - University College London Hospital, 235 Euston Road, London NW1 2BU (Meeting held at Clinic 3, LG Floor, EGA Wing).
https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/support-group/36583


08th November 2018 (Thursday) 6:30pm - 8:00pm - Dr Natasha Curran, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine at UCL will be speaking about endometriosis and pain management
Address: UCLH - University College London Hospital, 235 Euston Road, NW1 2BU (Meeting held at Clinic 3, LG Floor, EGA Wing).
https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/support-group/36583


17th November 2018 (Saturday) 9:30am to 4:30pm - Endometriosis Research Now Conference
Address: 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS
Notes: For more event information and to register click here -> https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/civicrm/event/info%3Fid%3D627%26reset%3D1#.W6oZimhKjIU.
Delegate fees, including refreshments and lunch:
Individual - £38.50
Individual, unwaged - £10.00


20th November 2018 (Tuesday) 6:30pn – 8:00pm - Maria Elliot (from Simply Women’s Health) will be speaking about women’s health physio and the benefits for endometriosis. Partners / family / friends / colleagues etc are all welcome.
Address: Guy’s Hospital (London Bridge), Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9RT ( Meeting held at McNair Centre, Southwark Wing).
If you have any other suggestions in terms of information and support for those affected by endometriosis, please do share it with me :) You can leave a comment below, or message me on instagram or on unapologeticallyelly@gmail.com.

Endometriosis: Additional Information

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Please note, I am not a healthcare professional. I'm just someone who lives with endometriosis, and the information I'm sharing here comes from my experience, from knowledge that has been shared with me by healthcare professionals, and also from studies, articles, films, and podcasts that I've come across. This shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Please consult your doctor if you're unsure about anything or want to know more.



Did You Know?


Endometriosis in men:
There have been reports of endometriosis in men, this was reported in men who were given high dosage of oestrogen to treat prostrate cancer.

Endometriosis and cancer:
Scientists in Vancouver have found cancer-causing gene mutations in pelvic lesions of women with endometriosis. Although a very low percentage of cases of endometriosis are linked to a type of ovarian cancer, the condition is considered as non-cancerous.

But this study - Cancer-associated mutations in endometriosis without cancer - showed that most of the tissue samples had mutations linked to cancer. This study suggests that endometriosis "may share the same features and molecular makeup as cancerous growths that lead to tumours in other areas of the body – without it being cancerous."

Dr Paul Yong adds that "It is possible that mutations usually associated with cancer may not always be so menacing as to cause cancer. But scientists needs to learn more, through a bigger, longer study, about what puts the brakes on the mutations, especially if there are certain “micro-environments” that hinder the transformation of growths from being merely abnormal to becoming malignant."

Dr Aglesio concludes that "These mutations are a first step in understanding the breadth of symptoms and outcomes that affect every woman with endometriosis differently. Finally, we have a roadmap towards finding better treatments."

So, it may all sound scary but it is also a step forward in understanding endometriosis. Yay(!)

10 Lifestyle changes that help me manage my Endometriosis

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Please note, I am not a healthcare professional. I'm just someone who lives with endometriosis, and the information I'm sharing here comes from my experience, from knowledge that has been shared with me by healthcare professionals, and also from studies, articles, films, and podcasts that I've come across. This shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before beginning new treatments or making lifestyle changes.


Lifestyle is important

"Historically medicine has really separated mind and body; you have your psychologists, your psychotherapists, then you go to your physician for your body. It is so important to bring those aspects together" (Endo What? film). Mind & body are one, and we need to address both to have a healthy life; we definitely need to address both to manage endometriosis symptoms.

Endometriosis can affect those with it in so many ways; in addition to the symptons, it can affect your family life, social life, work. I find it helpful to know that I can do more than just take pills and pain killers, makes me feel like I have some control. It's important to understand that there is nore cure for endometriosis and so far, I've not found something that has eliminated the pain completely.However, there are many things we can do to reduce the severity of endometriosis symptoms ~ I've tried a few things and actually find that I am now having pain free days!

I've found that in addition to the endometriosis diet, these lifestyle changes can really help too:


1) Self-love & Self-care

One of the most important things is self-love and self-care; you must take care of yourself. Prioritise comfort, make sure you rest, and do your best to reduce stress and relax as much as possible. This could even be just getting a hot water bottle or asking someone to help with daily tasks you may be struggling with; or letting yourself have a good Netflix binge; or cooking a lovely meal for yourself.

Prioritising my mental and physical health has been key to my wellbeing, and the best way to do that is through self-care ~ I try to always ask myself "is this good for my heart, mind, body, and soul?" It helps me make the best decision for myself. Pausing to question if things are good for me has really changed my life, it may sound easy and like a small thing to do, but it is no small task, and I wouldn't be able to do it without talking therapy and support from loved ones (I talk more about this later in this post).

Choosing self-love and self-care has resulted in me getting better sleep, taking the right medication, seeing the right professionals, eating healthy meals, avoiding harmful products and people, focusing on my health, asking for help and accepting it. And all of this has contributted towards the reduction of endo pain I experience.


2) Reducing stress levels

"The body produces stress hormones ~ cortisol. And when the cortisol rises, it also increases the cytokines ~ which is an inflammatory protein that causes inflammation. So, stress has a direct correlation to inflammation" (Endo What? film).

I have noticed that whenever I am stressed, my endo pain gets worse ~ not only that, but I get aches and pains all over my body too Stress affects my sleep, affects my self-care routine, and once that goes then all my health issues deteriorate. Not only that but I end up getting new health issues! By prioriting self-care and self-love, my stress levels have gradually decreased. And thanks to talking therapy, I can now manage stress in a more effective and healthier way.

Mindfulness & yoga can be helpful too, or even doing things like setting up a Trello account where you can schedule your days, and organise your diary and time better. I'm someone who likes to visualise things so I've found it helpful to be able to see my weekly schedule in front of me.


3) Sleep 

Sleep is extremely important, it is recommended that we get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every day. If you're not getting enough sleep, you won't feel well.

I try to get at least 8 hours every night ~ I aim to be in bed by 10-11pm as often as possible. And I've noticed that when I don't get enough sleep, I end up really tired and stressed which has a knock on effect on my general health, including my endo pain; it gets a lot worse when I'm tired and stressed. Feeling too tired and stressed also gets in the way of my self-care, so things start to spiral rapidly.


4) Exercise 

Exercise can help some people, and it can worsen symptoms for others. You must listen to your body and find out what works for you.

I used to think that exercise had to be strenuous and in a gym. But, luckily, I know better now; exercise doesn't have to be a struggle, it doesn't have to be complicated or boring or in a gym! Exercise is as simple as moving your body a little extra ~ it's that simple, I KNOW! It can be yoga, or gentle stretching, or walking. When I found that out, I let my body tell me what it wanted to do, and that is how I've quit the gym and fallen in love with walking. That's what works for me, but there is nothing wrong with the gym, if that is your thing then go for it!

Lately, I find myself walking for 2-3 hours most days. This works for me at the moment but once this is no longer convenient, I will adjust and not force myself to keep walking 2-3 hours most days. Walking has really helped me with my symptoms. I have noticed that the more often I walk, the less endometriosis pain I feel ~ but I still feel pain, and some days are worse than others, so listening to your body is key in deciding when and how to exercise. I listen to my body and rest when I feel the need to and walk when the pain allows it; if moving is too painful then I don't force my body to move.

I spent most of my life beating myself up for not being able to do difficult workouts, but now I understand that self-care is listening to your body and not punishing it. So, if you don't do well with more complicated workouts, just find a form of exercise that works for you.


5) Talking therapy

Anxiety and depression can be a huge part of life for those with endometriosis. I've struggled with my mental health for a while, and I do believe that my endometriosis contributted to my mental health deteriorating. Yes, there were many others contributers, but it's important to acknowledge that endo can play a big part in our mental health.

Having regular sessions with a good therapist has changed my life massively, in a really positive way. I actually believe that if it wasn't for my therapist and for all the work I've done thanks to therapy, then I wouldn't have received my endometriosis diagnosis when I did; I think it would've taken many more years for this to happen. And diagnostic delay results in delay in treatment.

Talking therapy has taught me how to prioritise self-care and self-love, and given me the strength I needed to fight for my health. I used to do my best to suppress and ignore my health issues or I simply let others make decisions for me, now I'm taking charge of my health, and I've seen a huge improvement in the severity of my symptoms.


6) Support  

What I mean by this is the support you have in your life such as family, friends, healthcare professionals, support worker(s), community & support groups.

It can be really tough for those with a chronic condition to find others who understand what we are going through, sometimes we just need someone to say "me too!". This is why I recommend finding a good support group. I've recently started going to Endometriosis UK's Support Groups; I go to the ones in London. You can find a list of support groups and their locations here. But there are other support groups out there.

I've learned so much from others sharing their stories and what they've learned. It's also been empowering to share my story. Plus, it's a great way to learn more about what other options and support is out there. Just be careful and make sure that you are attending a good support group where you feel safe and understood, and not somewhere that makes you feel worse or that gives you wrong information and unhealthy coping habits.

I've also found many others writing about their experiences with endometriosis on social media and blogs ~ I'll be sharing a list of blogs, pages, websites that I've find helpful later today. I actually found out about the Endometriosis UK support groups from an endo blogger.


7) Healthy hobbies

I used to have unhealthy hobbies and ways to pass time and "relax", like drinking lots of alcohol or binge eating lots of processed foods. These things all have a direct effect on endometriosis symptoms, as mentioned in 'the endometriosis diet' post. Since starting therapy and beginning my recovery journey, I have picked up some new healthy hobbies which have been so important in helping me manage my health, thus resulting in not so unbearable endometriosis symptoms.

Some of my new hobbies include the following: 

  • Journalling & Writing ~ this is so cathartic and has led to me now working on my memoir 
  • Photography ~ either using my phone or my camera; it's been wonderful to focus on the world I live in and has me really noticing the beauty around me 
  • Walking ~ as mentioned above, under 'exercise', I've noticed that walking helps reduce my endo pain, and it's contributted to the drastic improvement in my mental health 
  • Researching ~ by this I mean researching endometriosis, healthier ways to live and eat., and just doing my own research on things I am interested in. I've recently been doing some research (just for fun) on the current state of social justice in my birth country; Brazil, and so far it's been mind blowing
  • Cooking ~ one of the best hobbies I've ever taken up! I've learned so much about nutrition thanks to my new love for cooking, which has led to me following the endometriosis diet. Also, I see cooking as science now ~ so the kitchen is my tiny laboratory; where I mix foods & spices and end up with some amazing healthy homecooked meals. And it's really rewarding to also say "Hey! I did that!"

I'm hoping these can give you some ideas of healthy hobbies you can take up, or that it triggers your own ideas of healthy hobbies you'd like to try.


8) Mindfulness

When most people hear Mindfulness they think they have to sit in silence for hours with their eyes closed. I do try to sit and meditate regularly ~ from anything between 5-20 minutes every other day ~ but what I've found most helpful and effective is to actually be mindful by bringing my awareness to what I'm doing or experiencing. Some examples include the following:

  • Walking mindfully is a great way to practice Mindfulness ~ I love to close my eyes when walking (when possible! Please don't close your eyes and cross the street), whilst listening to sounds around me and feeling the wind on my face, and it's interesting to notice how with each step my body feels and moves differently 
  • Eating mindfully ~ I try to eat slowly and chew each mouthful 20-30 times ~ this aids digestion and helps me get better at listening to my body
  • Listening to the different sounds around me ~ I mean really listening; maybe even try to challenge yourself to find the lower hidden sounds. Right now I can hear kids talking outside my window, and the wind blowing the leaves on the tree outside my house, then I try to identity distant sounds...Ah, there's a car beeping on the busy road a few minutes away from me, and a train moving away from nearest train station 
  • Showering mindfully ~ I find it helpful to really feel the water; is it warm or too hot? Can I feel the drops landing on my body? 
  • Cooking mindfully ~ one of my personal favourites, along with walking 
  • Brushing my teeth mindfully
  • Doing any activity mindfully works! 

The opportunities to practice Mindfulness are endless. We can do this daily, and it can start with something simple like just breathing mindfully; listen to your breath and pay attention to how your body moves with each breath.


9) Keeping a diary

I often journal on a gorgeous glittery notebook ~ I love a good notebook, and it makes me happy that I get to journal on something so beautiful and special. So, I do recommend finding a notebook or journal that you love. I also use an app on my phone called Journey, this app allows me to write whenever wherever. I try to do this daily; noting my emotions, moods, endo symptoms, any events that may have come up during the day and how I feel about it. This has helped me to learn to better identify my emotions, as well as be more aware and in touch with what I'm feeling. Rather than have an automatic reaction, I now stop and think about what that emotion is trying to tell me and why I'm feeling it. It's helped me massively when it comes to managing my mental health, which has a direct impact on my stress levels which links to pain levels.


10) Reducing exposure to chemicals 

There are environmental toxins that are considered to act like oestrogen. This is known as hormone disruptors. Hormone disruptors are not our own hormones, they are chemicals in every day objects and foods that mimic our own hormones; they're synthetic hormones, which our bodies absorb daily. They can magnify, block or alter our own hormone function all together.

From the moment we wake up, we are exposed to these hormone disruptors. For example, our toothpaste has these chemicals in it, as does most soaps, deodorants, cosmetic products ~ I could go on and on. Non-organic foods have these chemicals in them too. But we can do our best to change what we are exposed to in our own home.

Ideally, we should reduce these chemicals in our lives. We can avoid these chemicals by eating organically as much as possible, and using products with less chemicals in them, such as natural products and non-toxic products, or you can make your own.

Helpful tip: It is a costly process to obtain organic certification, so some organic products have 'natural' or 'wild', rather than 'organic', on the label.

I'm trying to use "clean" products; products with less chemicals in them. It's quite daunting so I'm taking my time with this change; I'm starting with toothpaste, soap, hand cream, and food.

You can use the Environmental Working Group website to see how harmful your cosmetic product is. You need to click on the Skin Deep section, which has a cosmetic database where you can search a product and find out its rating between 1-10 with 1 being low hazard/less chemicals and 10 being high hazard/more chemicals.

The Endometriosis Diet

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Please note, I am not a nutritionist or food expert, my words are all based on my experience, research and advice from healthcare professionals. I'm going to share what I've been eating and what I've been reducing or avoiding altogether here, but I'm not saying you should follow this too. Personally, I've found that reading about other's experiences and what they've learned has really helped me explore things for myself and find options that work for me, but it is not a rule for others to follow; we're all different and what works for one person may not work for another. This shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before beginning new treatments or making lifestyle changes.

One of the first things I did after my diagnosis, was book to see a nutritionist that specialised in endometriosis, and I found this very helpful. So, if you have this option available to you, I do recommend going for it. Just make sure that you see someone who will give you appropriate information regarding food, and not just prescribe supplements.

Even though I am no longer seeing that nutritionist, I did learn a lot from her in terms of anti-inflammatory foods. The experience also kick started my journey into nutrition, it's now something I take very seriously and it has changed my health for the better; my mental health has improved, I have more energy, and the severity of my endometriosis symptoms has improved too. For me, nutrition has been key to managing my endo pain.

As mentioned before, the endometriosis diet works for me; it's helped reduce the severity of my symptoms, as well as increased my energy levels. And when I don't follow the diet for a few days, I feel that my symptoms deteriorate. However, we're all different, so listen to your body and do what's best for you.

The Diet 

The endo diet is all about avoiding foods that cause inflammation and foods that can increase oestrogen levels. Addressing inflammation and oestrogen levels is really important to reduce pain.

More research is needed, not only on endometriosis but also on how food and lifestyle choices correlates with the development or worsening of the condition. There seems to be little agreement amongst doctors that the endo diet works, but many people (including me) have found that following an anti-inflammatory & low oestrogen diet has helped reduce the severity of endometriosis symptoms.

With this in mind, it is recommended that someone with endometriosis reduce or avoid the following:

  • Gluten/Wheat ~ this triggers an inflammatory response in the body, and is often laden with pesticides, which adds synthetic hormones to the body and increases oestrogen levels. This includes bread, pasta or couscous. Wheat free pasta such as red lentil pasta may be used. But, gluten free/free from bread may still be harmful ~ however, this may be fine for you, it's important to listen to your body when exploring the endo diet, to identify what helps and what makes you feel worse
  • Soya ~ contains phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds that can mimic oestrogen. However, some studies claim it could help endometriosis. There is a lack of research on this, so I recommend educating yourself as much as possible and choosing what is best for you. Personally, I avoid soya 
  • Dairy ~ can cause inflammation, and the majority of dairy products contain growth hormones and antibiotics, which can increase oestrogen levels and cause other hormonal health issues. I use only unsweeted plant based milk ~ my favourite is unsweetened almond milk, but I have oat milk with coffee (I drink decaf coffee maybe once every fortnight, and I make sure that this is with oat milk rather than cow's milk or soya milk, for the reasons mentioned here) 
  • Red meat ~ it is suggested you avoid red meat, as many studies link red meat to inflammation and an increased risk of endometriosis. However, I have found that grass fed organic red meat is fine for me, as long as it's in moderation (I have red meat once or twice a week), it is important that the meat is organic and therefore has not been given/fed chemicals like pesticides. These pesticides act as synthetic hormones which can increse oestrogen levels 
  • Caffeine ~ can cause inflammation, and depletes vitamins and minerals. It is also an stimulant so can trigger anxiety, which is often associated with endometriosis. I have struggled to give up coffee completely, so I have decaf coffee with almond or oat milk, once a fortnight or once a month, and that's worked really well for me. Explore and find out what works for you 
  • Alcohol ~ can increase levels of oestrogen in the body, depletes the body of vitamin B, can have a negative effect on liver function. In addition to making my endo symptoms worse, I've also had a tricky relationship with alcohol, so I avoid it  
  • Trans Fats ~ new research links trans fats to inflammation and an increased risk of endometriosis. Predominantly found in fried, processed, foods 
  • Refined/ Added sugar ~ this is highly inflammatory. Choose unsweetened products, reduce use of sugar in baking, coffee, tea etc. (alternative to sugar include honey or dates ~ in moderation)
  • Processed foods ~ such as bacon, ham, sausages, canned fruits, canned vegetables, canned soups, quorn, ready meals. If you have to use a can opener to open it, then it is processed. These foods are often high in trans fats and sugar, low in essential nutrients and may cause inflammation. Processed foods can actually displace healthy nutrients from the foundation of your diet. Recommendation is to eliminate these foods from your diet, especially ones that contain long lists of chemicals in the ingredients list.

Some suggested foods and anti-inflammatory foods include:

  • Eat organically as often as possible*
  • Fruits 
  • Vegetables 
  • Wholegrains ~ like organic Quinoa, organic gluten free oats and wholegrain rice. I really enjoy black rice such as Biona Organic Black Venus rice, and Alara organic gluten free Scottish Oats Porridge
  • Avocado ~ this is good healthy fat 
  • Garlic ~ I use garlic to cook almost everything, from rice to kale. I also like to throw in some whole garlic cloves when roasting potatoes (sweet or white potatoes) 
  • Berries ~ blueberries, raspberries and blackcurrants are some of my favourites 
  • Lemons ~ I drink hot water with lemon juice (I squeeze half a lemon) every morning before breakfast, and I also like to add lemon juice to roast chicken 
  • Green leafy vegetables ~ like Kale and Spinach 
  • Wild/Organic fatty fish (high in Omega-3 fatty acids) ~ like wild salmon, sardines and mackerel 
  • White meats such as organic free range chicken is fine ~  it is important that the meat is organic and therefore has not been given/fed chemicals like pesticides. These pesticides act as synthetic hormones which can increse oestrogen levels  
  • Pulses ~ Lentils and beans are a good alternative source of protein to meat 
  • Plant based foods with Omega-3 fatty acids (and low in oestrogen) include chia seeds and walnuts. I eat chia seeds regularly, usually mixed with organic natural yoghurt for breakfast 
  • Nuts ~ unsalted nuts (not peanuts) are very useful for snacks. They are a good source of protein, minerals and essential fatty acids 
  • Herbal teas ~ like green tea, ginger tea, peppermint tea and fennel tea (peppermint and fennel teas can help with bloating, which is common with endometriosis) 
  • Turmeric ~ has strong anti-inflammatory properties 
  • Plant based butter such as cashew, hazelnut or almond butter 
  • Lots of organic vegetables ~ around 50% of what I eat every day is either vegetables and fruits; I also try to use a large variety 
  • Oils ~ I struggle to not use oil so decided to add this here for those that are like me. I usually cook with Organic Rapeseed oil, and occasionaly (maybe three times a month) use Coconut oil 
  • Moringa powder ~ I've recently started having Moringa powder with my daily smoothie (I've started with 1 teaspoon added to my banana, blackcurrants and almond milk smoothie ~ it's really good. I'm planning on gradually increasing the amount of Moringa powder to 2-4 teaspoons a day). This is something I do, and I've noticed a reduction in my endo symptoms since doing this.

*Eating organic foods as often possible can really help. Organic foods are free of GMOs, man-made fertilisers, pesticides, growth regulators and additives - these chemicals are harmful for us all, but they are particularly harmful for those with endometriosis. These chemicals add synthetic hormones to the body, which can result in excess oestrogen. Which can worsen and result in growth of endometriosis.

Helpful tip: It is a costly process to obtain organic certification, so some organic products have 'natural' or 'wild', rather than 'organic', on the label.

I try to live by this diet 100% of the time, but I manage to do it probably 70-80%(ish) of the time. It varies for me; if I'm going out a few times in a week then I find it really difficult to stay on top of it, as it's really difficult to find meals that are endo diet friendly when eating out. Be kind to you, and allow yourself to go step by step.

I also understand that people have different relationships with food, so please tread carefully and be gentle with yourself. If possible, start this process whilst working with a therapist. Remember, stress can make endometriosis worse and lead to depression and anxiety. Go step by step, slowly and tread carefully, and try not to be hard on yourself; it's difficult enough to live with this condition, we don't need to beat ourselves up for not strictly following the endo diet; it's a learning curve.


The Gut and the Immune System

One way to treat endometriosis is to calm the immune system down. Our immune system starts in the gut, and in order for the immune system to be healthy, the digestion needs to be healthy. This is because you're not going to be able to absorb nutrients unless your intestine is working, and we need those nutrients for a healthier immune system. So, it is very important to eat a diverse range of fresh, whole, foods, as above, and to consume unprocessed, unpasteurized, traditionally cultured and fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kambucha, and fermented vegetables of all kinds.

Consuming fermented foods can encourage more diverse gut flora to grow, and "generally speaking, a diverse gut flora is considered to be a healthy one. This is because the more species of bacteria you have, the greater number of health benefits they may be able to contribute to." (Ruairi Robertson, PhD) Some recommend around a tablespoon of fermented foods per day, some recommend more ~ this can differ for different people, so do your research and listen to your body; if you're getting tummy aches then cut back, but if you're fine with it then have some more. I try to stick to 75g per day at most, but do explore what's best for you.

Water

Yes, I'm going to nag you about drinking water! Aim for around 2-3 litres a day ~ this is what was advised by my doctor to me. Water helps maintain balance of bodily fluids; the functions of these bodily fluids includes digestion, circulation, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature (for those of us who experience hot flushes thanks to endo ~ oh hey!).

I try to drink between 2-3 litres of water a day, and recently got into fennel tea (which helps with bloating) and berries & echinacea tea, just cause I like the taste :)  I try to not have water with food, so that I don’t dilute the digestive enzymes.


Supplements

It's important to eat a diet rich in nutrients, but it can also help to take supplements such as:

  • Vitamin B6 ~ has anti-inflammatory effects, assists liver enzymes with the removal of bad oestrogens, improves immune function, and is necessary for the formulation of progesterone and serotonin. Low levels of progesterone can lead to oestrogen dominance, and low levels of serotonin leads to depression 
  • Vitamin B12 ~ helps the blood carry oxygen, is essential for energy and nerve health, has anti-inflammatory effects, and is extremely important for mental health as it supports our cognitive functions and moods 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids ~ play a role in controlling pathological inflammatory reactions 
  • Iron ~ Menstrual blood contains high levels of iron, so losing a lot of blood (Oh hello heavy periods) can result in low iron levels. Low iron levels can lead to fatigue and even anaemia, so it's important to have regular blood tests done.

For more on my experience and on what has/is helping me, click here

Period Pain Relief: Castor Oil Transdermal Packs

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I've found this to be quite effective in pain relief. When something works, I'll be sure to share it here ~ you know, cause sharing is caring.



Castor Oil Transdermal Packs


At the beginning of the menstrual cycle, when the first symptoms of cramping become noticeable, a castor oil transdermal pack can dramatically reduce the severity of symptoms throughout the cycle. This is the basic procedure:

  • A wash cloth should be soaked in pure, cold-pressed castor oil that is obtained from a health food store
  • The wash cloth should be placed on bare skin on the lower stomach
  • Put a piece of plastic on top of the cloth, such as a plastic grocery bag or cling film
  • Place a hot water bottle on top of that. The water should be made as hot as possible, so long as you can tolerate it
  • Leave this in place for at least 30 minutes.

This procedure can also be done repeatedly during the cycle to provide relief. However, one treatment is usually enough to provide massive relief. Castor oil packs have been said to help detoxify the liver naturally, support uterine and ovarian health, improve lymphatic circulation, and reduce inflammation.

Women should use only dioxin-free, unchlorinated feminine products, especially tampons. Consuming Brazil nuts is ideal too, because they contain folate, selenium, and magnesium, which have all been shown to reduce menstrual cramps.

It worked for me, and if you decide to try it, I hope you have a similar result.

Castor oil can also be massaged directly into the abdomen - but if you're like me, your abdomen will just be too sore for a massage. You can mix the castor oil with a few drops of a relaxing essential oil like lavender, too, to help relax the pelvic muscles.

For more on my experience and on what has/is helping me, click here

Endometriosis Treament

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Please note, I am not a healthcare professional. I'm just someone who lives with endometriosis, and the information I'm sharing here comes from my experience, from knowledge that has been shared with me by healthcare professionals, and also from studies, articles, films, and podcasts that I've come across. This shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before beginning new treatments or making lifestyle changes.


Treatment Options for Endometriosis 

There are some common options when it comes to treating endometriosis. And your gynaecologist should discuss all options with you; your treatment should be decided in partnership between you and your gynaecologist. It's important to bear in mind that treatments are there to reduce the severity of symptoms, but they won't eliminate the symptoms completely, as there is currently no cure for this condition.


Surgery

Surgical treament of endometriosis is carried out during a Laparoscopy.

There are now various different options in terms of surgery to treat endometriosis, including the following ~ please note most of the following info is taken from the Endometriosis UK factsheet on laparoscopies for endometriosis. It may be helpful to read through the factsheet:

Endometrial ablation
This is when the womb lining is removed or destroyed using a variety of methods including lasers, electric currents, being frozen or using heat. This is a treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding and can permanently stop periods and prevent future childbearing. 

Electrocoagulation/Diathermy
This is the use of electrical heat as used in general surgery. It can be used to destroy and remove endometriosis, as well as control bleeding.

Excision Surgery
This involves actually cutting out areas of endometriosis using either scissors or lasers. This is known as the best way to treat endometriosis.

Helica Thermal Coagulator
This uses Helium gas and a small electric current to dry out endometriosis using a process called fulguration.

Harmonic Scalpel/CUSA (cavitron ultrasonic surgical aspirator)
These are devices with a vibration tip and can be used in the treatment of endometriosis.

It is important to be aware that not all of the above mentioned techniques are available at all hospitals. Do discuss your options and preferred method with your surgeon beforehand. However, bear in mind that you may not be able to choose the type of surgery carried out, as this depends on the surgeon's experience, training, equiment and your disease.

If endometriosis is found during a laparoscopy, surgeons should have the skills to treat the disease so that they can go ahead and treat it during surgery; ideally they should cut out the endometriosis - this is known as an excision (mentioned above). The surgeon must completely excise the lesions, not just burn the "tip of the iceberg" (Endo What? film). Which is what I had done in my first laparoscopy.

However, "The vast majority of surgeons use lasers to burn the surface of endometriosis, rather than cut it out" (Endo What? film). It is better to not burn/cauterise/laser the endometriosis away (although this is needed in some rare cases). "When you remove or destroy using energy, you leave a burn tissue behind. That burn tissue at times still has residual endometriosis on it" (Endo What? film). Plus, often the endometriosis is deeper in the underlying tissues than the energy penetrates. Either way, "the fibrotic scar tissue left behind is the soul of endometriosis itself", as it can form adhesions. Therefore, burning/cauterising/lasering does not effectively treat the disease.

Excision of endometriosis ~ cutting it out rather than just burning the surface ~ is considered the best treatment on offer. It has been reported that 60% of women have improvements in symptoms/pain scores after excision of endometriosis. This is across all types and severity of endometriosis.

Surgery can provide some relief from symptoms, but endometriosis can continue to grow. It surgeons have treated your endometriosis by burning it, then it is likely you will need to have this surgery done again. "Even after surgery, you still have the disease and you've got to know the disease well, you've got to know your own enemy in order to manage it" (Endo What? film).

I've also found out that some doctors may suggest operation to remove part or all of the organs affected by endometriosis - such as surgery to remove the uterus (hysterectomy) or surgery to remove the ovaries (oopherectomy). This may be needed in some rare cases, but please do thoroughly research, consider and discuss your options with your gynaecologist and surgeons, as in reality a hysterectomy or similar is a permanent change to your body and does not cure or eliminate endometriosis.

There is also a theory that pregnancy cures endometriosis, some people have reported an improvement after pregnancy but this is not guaranteed, so having a child because of your endometriosis is a very bad idea. Even if your doctor suggests it!

Some questions you can ask your surgeon(s): What exactly will happen during my surgery? What are the outcomes? What are the possible complications/risks? What are the complication rates? Do they work collaboratevly with other specialists when doing this surgery?


Hormone Treatment

As mentioned in "What is Endometriosis?", it is believed that endometriosis responds negatively and grows when exposed to the female hormone oestrogen, and that people with endometriosis have a hormonal imbalance, mainly oestrogen dominance.

Hormone treatments attempt to reduce the growth of endometriosis by blocking or reducing the production of oestrogen in the body. The following hormone treatment options are available to women with endometriosis:
  • Combined oral contraceptive pill (‘the Pill’) ~ this is the treatment I'm currently trying* 
  • Mirena Coil ~ I've tried this in the past* 
  • Progestogens ~ usually in the form of progesterone only pills or 'the mini pill' 
  • GnRH analogues 
  • Testosterone derivatives 
  • Danazol 
  • Gestrinone (Dimetriose) 

If hormone treatment is an option for you, it is important to research, ask questions and discuss it thoroughly with your gynaecologist, as the potential side effects with this form of treatment can be severe. You really need to understand the Pros and the Cons.

*I've written all about my journey with endometriosis, including treatments I have tried and treatments I am trying ~ 'Endometriosis: My story & what has helped me'.


Pain Relief

Other treatments are there to help with pain relief, this includes pain-killers and anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, Mefenamic Acid (Ponstan), Codeine, Tramadol, Voltarol.

I'm currently trying Magnesium Spray and so far, it's been helpful in reducing pain. CBD oils have been recommended to me as an endo pain relief option too, but I've not yet tried this myself. This EndoLife wrote a great blog post about natural pain relief where she talks about Magnesium Spray and CBD Oil ~ My Top Five Natural Remedies for Endometriosis Pain Relief.
Using heat in the form of a hot water bottle or taking a hot bath can also help with pain relief. Some people find wheat bags to be effective. Personally, I've found that Castor Oil Transdermal Packs treatment, can be quite helpful with pain relief.

The endometriosis diet has also proved effective for some, me included. In addition, comfort, healthy diet, rest and reduction of stress (as much as possible) can also really help with endometriosis pain. Reducing stress helps as "the body produces stress hormones - cortisol. And when the cortisol rises it also increases the cytokines - which is an inflammatory protein that causes inflammation. So, stress has a direct correlation to inflammation" (Endo What film). I talk more about this in the 'Endometriosis Diet' and '10 Lifestyle changes that help me manage my Endometriosis' posts.


Tranexamic Acid

I've also found Tranexamic Acid very helpful when it comes to managing the heavy bleeding; I used to get very stressed with the constant heavy bleed, managing this has helped me feel more comfortable, thus helping with pain management too.

This is not a pain-killer or a contraceptive. These tablets work by slowing the breakdown of blood clots, as a result it helps to reduce bleeding.

Endometriosis: What is a Laparoscopy?

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Please note, I am not a healthcare professional. I'm just someone who lives with endometriosis, and the information I'm sharing here comes from my experience, from knowledge that has been shared with me by healthcare professionals, and also from studies, articles, films, and podcasts that I've come across.  


Laparoscopy 

A laparoscopy is a surgical procedure in which a small telescope (laparoscope) is inserted through the abdminal wall to view the organs in the abdomen. In this procedure, small incisions are made in the lower abdomen and the abdomen is carefully filled with gas to lift the abdomen wall from the bowel to help insert the laparoscope. Endometriosis UK have provided a helpful and thorough explanation of what happens during the operation...

"At the start of the operation, the bladder is emptied (catheterised). A fine needle is then inserted inside the belly button (umbilicus) and the abdomen is filled with carbon dioxide gas. The gas flow is carefully monitored throughout. The carbon dioxide gas lifts the tummy wall away from the bowel to make introduction of the laparoscope safer. Two other small (approximately 1cm) cuts (incisions) may be made, usually one just inside the belly button and one on the bikini line for an instrument to assist with visualising the organs. A careful inspection is made of the womb (uterus), ovaries, fallopian tubes, Pouch of Douglas, bowel, bladder and all surrounding areas and a record of the severity of the disease is made by either drawing, photographs or video. Many different appearances of endometriosis have now been recognised. In some cases, if the tissues are stuck together (adhesions), it may not be possible to see some or all of these organs."


At the end of the operation, the small cuts will be closed with a stitch, tape or glue. The stitches will either dissolve or can be removed after a few days.

Laparoscopies are carried out under general anaesthesia, and during a laparoscopy the surgeon can destroy (by burning the surface) or remove (by cutting it out) endometriosis, endometrial cysts or release scar tissues. Ideally, surgeons will cut out endometriosis rather than burn it. I talk more about the reasons for this in
 my 'Endometriosis Treatment' post.

As mentioned in the 'Endometriosis: I think I may have it - what now?' post, the only way to be certain you have endometriosis is to have a laparoscopy.

You must see a surgeon that is an expert in this type of surgery, and ensure that they aren't only going to do a laparoscopy to diagnose the disease, but that they are also going to treat the disease during surgery, if endometriosis is found.

Good to know: To confirm endometriosis, a sample must be taken during a laparoscopy and it must be sent off to pathology, the pathologists will then have a look under a microscope and confirm if it is endometriosis.



Pre Op  

Prior to the day of the surgery, you may have to attend a pre-op assessment where nurses will check your blood pressure, weight etc. This is also a good time for you to ask questions and ensure you are prepared for the surgery.

Laparoscopies are often day case surgeries; meaning you're in hospital just for the day, but do take an overnight bag just in case you end up having to stay in hospital overnight.

As you will be given general anaesthesia, you shoud fast for at least 6 hours prior to your surgery, but your hospital should give you all the information you need before your surgery.

Before being taken into theatre, you'll be asked to change into a hospital gown, and nurses will wrap a wristband around your wrist and ankle ~ this wristand should have your name, hospital details, and any allergies you have. You will also be given compression socks, these are used to prevent blood clots.

Although laparoscopy surgeries are regularly and frequently performed, there are risks attached. Most of these are minor, but others are more serious. Your surgeon and anaesthetist should speak to you before your surgery, and ask you to sign a consent form where you confirm that you understand the risks involved with your surgery ~ use this time to ask them about risks and any other questions you may have.


Post Op

Once the surgery is done, you're likely to be transferred to a recovery room, where nurses will keep checking on you until you are fully awake and feel okay. As the anaesthia wears off, you'll begin to feel more awake. You may feel nauseous, in which case inform someone so they can bring you something to help ~ I was given a disposable tray to throw up in and some anti sickness tablets, which was very helpful.

The surgeons will have given you painkillers during surgery, so these should still be in your system when you wake up. However, I woke up in quite a bit of pain and after speaking to a nurse, she gave me more morphine. Bliss. So, if you feel pain, tell a nurse and ask for pain relief.

The area around the incisions can be quite sore, swollen and bruised for a couple of weeks after surgery. For me, this pain was quite strong for around 2 weeks and faded over time. As the abdomen is carefully filled with gas during surgery, you may experience some pain and discomfort in your ribs and shoulders post op, which should disappear within days. If you are in discomfort and pain, do tell the nurses so that they can give you painkillers and make you as comfortable as possible.

The incisions should be kept clean and dried carefully after a bath or shower. Occasionally, wounds can become infected; if the cuts become red and inflamed or there is an unusual discharge, you should contact your doctor/GP urgently. 

Laparoscopies are usually day surgeries ~ which means that you go in, have the surgery, and go home, in the same day. However, you may need to stay in hospital overnight. It all depends on the following:


  • The time you have your surgery ~ if it's too late in the day and doctors want to monitor you, they may advise you to stay the night
  • Whether there are any complications during or post surgery
  • If you don't feel well enough 

You will have to bring someone with you to hospital, as you will need assistance getting home after your surgery. You should not drive or do much other than rest for around 2-7 days after surgery, but this depends on the amount of work undertaken during surgery and how you're feeling. You could start feeling better within 2 weeks, however the rate of recovery varies from person to person so you need to be guided by how you feel as well as the advice of your doctors. It's very important you listen to your body and be kind. 

The pain post surgery can be intense, and some doctors only prescribe paracetamol for you to take home ~ this is shocking to me, as I really don't see how anyone could rely on just paracetamol after having surgery! My surgeon tried to only give me paracetamol, I wasn't having it as I was in agony, and so I demanded codeine, which is what was eventually prescribed for my pain. Codeine can cause constipation so please do speak to your doctor about taking a laxative or something similar. 

I had quite a bit of bleeding after this surgery ~ from the vagina and from one of my wounds ~ and I was told by my doctor that this is completely normal and nothing to worry about. However, sometimes it can be an issue, so do contact your nurse or doctor if you're experiencing the following:


  • Severe pain or fever after going home
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Increased bleeding from the cuts
  • One or more of the cuts become painful
  • Smelly vaginal discharge
  • Smelly discharge from the cuts

I've written all about my journey with endometriosis, including treatments I have tried and treatments I am trying ~ 'Endometriosis: My story & what has helped me'.

Endometriosis: I think I may have it - what now?

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Please note, I am not a healthcare professional. I'm just someone who lives with endometriosis, and the information I'm sharing here comes from my experience, from knowledge that has been shared with me by healthcare professionals, and also from studies, articles, films, and podcasts that I've come across.  


Getting a Diagnosis 


If you are experiencing endometriosis symptoms, please do see your doctor as soon as possible. Tell them your symptoms fit endometriosis and ask to be referred to a gynaecologist.

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, and may ask to examine you (this may include examining your tummy and vagina). They may also recommend treatments if they think that you have endometriosis.

But you really need to see a gynaecologist.

Endometriosis often goes misdiagnosed (which obviously delays treatment), and even though it affects 1 in 10 girls, women and trans men, on average, individuals wait 7.5 years from the moment they begin to experience symptoms to the moment they're diagnosed. And women see an average of 8 doctors in 10 years before diagnosis. It took me 19 years to get a diagnosis, and I've lost count of how many doctors I've seen.

Doctors may refer you for tests and scans, but the only way to be certain you have endometriosis is to have a laparoscopy. And only a gynaecologist can arrange that for you. To confirm endometriosis, a sample of the tissue must be taken during a laparoscopy and it must be sent off to pathology, the pathologists will then have a look under a microscope and confirm if it is endometriosis.

Unfortunately, most doctors will likely fob you off, as they simply don't understand endometriosis. I'm sorry that this may be necessary, but you may have to demand to see a gynaecologist, and you may have to demand to have the right procedure (a laparoscopy) done to confirm if you have endometriosis or not. You have the right to know, and only when you have this diagnosis, can you then begin to treat the condition. It sucks that this is the reality and that most doctors are very difficult and dismiss your symptoms, which leaves you without a diagnosis and without the appropriate treatment. I'm guessing this happens because they want to save money but also because doctors just don't know enough about endometriosis.

Know that you're the expert on your body, so listen to your symptoms and fight for your health. I wish I'd demanded a laparoscopy years ago. Also know that you should not be in agony, such painful periods are not normal; it is not supposed to be this way. 

Doctors don't know what it's like to live in your body, only you do. Ultimately, the highest level of wisdom comes from your body, you are your own expert, so educate yourself and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Don't just accept what doctors say, especially when you feel like something is wrong. Learn about possible treatments, keep pushing for diagnosis and treatment, get other opinions.



I've written all about my journey with endometriosis, including treatments I have tried and treatments I am trying ~ 'Endometriosis: My story & what has helped me'.



What are the symptoms of Endometriosis?

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THIS IS ENDOMETRIOSIS by GEORGIE WILEMAN 

Please note, I am not a healthcare professional. I'm just someone who lives with endometriosis, and the information I'm sharing here comes from my experience, from knowledge that has been shared with me by healthcare professionals, and also from studies, articles, films, and podcasts that I've come across. 


Symptoms Include

We're individuals and so are our experiences, meaning that symptoms vary from person to person.

However, common symptoms may include:
  • Pain in your lower tummy or back (pelvic pain) ~ this pain can be present at all times, and is usually worse during periods
  • Pain in your legs ~ between or during periods 
  • Period pain that stops you doing normal activities
  • Pain during sex or after sex
  • Irregular periods  
  • Painful bowel movements 
  • Pain when urinating 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Unstable moods 
  • Nausea
  • Constipation, diarrhoea, or blood in your pee or poo during your period 
  • You may also have very heavy periods ~ you might use lots of pads or tampons, or you may bleed through your clothes
  • Severe bloating
  • Hot flushes 


Associated Conditions

People may also develop the following:  
  • Chronic fatigue 
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Organ dysfunction 
  • Infertility or difficulty getting pregnant ~ "About half of women with unexplained infertility have Endometriosis" (EndoWhat film)
  • Interstitial Cystitis (IC)
  • Pelvic Floor Muscular Dysfunction
  • Thyroid Problems
  • Gastritis 
  • Adenomyosis 

If you'd like to read about my experience with endometriosis, I've written all about it here.  

What is Endometriosis?

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Please note, I am not a healthcare professional. I'm just someone who lives with endometriosis, and the information I'm sharing here comes from my experience, from knowledge that has been shared with me by healthcare professionals, and also from studies, articles, films, and podcasts that I've come across.  


What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis, or "endo", is a condition where cells similar to those in the lining of the uterus (the Endometrium) is found elsewhere in the body, outside the uterus. It is most commonly found on other organs of the pelvis. "Misdirected" stem cells can become endometriosis in very remote places" such as the lungs or the brain (Endo What? film). These cells behave like the lining of the uterus, so they build up, break down and bleed - like a period does. However, unlike a period, the bleeding has no way to leave the body, and this can cause inflammation, adhesions, the formation of scar tissue and severe pain. "A major cause of pain is inflammation" (Endo What? film).

Despite this, Endometriosis does not depend on a period, so it can still build up, break down and bleed in the absence of periods. Meaning it can continue in menopause and if, like me, you are taking the contraceptive pill back-to-back to stop your periods, endometriosis is still present. The process of stopping your period by taking the pill back-to-back only slows the growth of endometriosis, it does not stop it. 

It is believed that endometriosis responds negatively and grows when exposed to the female hormone oestrogen, and that people with endometriosis have a hormonal imbalance, mainly oestrogen dominance. I talk more about hormone treatment in my 'Endometriosis Treatment' post. 

Endometriosis is a misunderstood and under researched condition. It can be debilitating, and unfortunately, there is no cure for endometriosis but there are some treatments that can help reduce severity of symptoms.


Classification System

ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine) classification system divides endometriosis into 4 stages; simply labelled 1,2,3 and 4, with 4 being the most severe. 

It is important to note that there is no correlation between the stage (observable endometriosis) and the severity of pain. Actually, "as many as 10% to 20% of women with Stage 4 endometriosis may have no pain" (Endo What? film). 

The stages are an indicator of how much endometriosis is found, not a description of how a person experiences endometriosis or how badly it affects their lives. This staging system is not used as often as it once was. I, for example, was not given a stage.



Please note, I've written all about my journey with endometriosis, including treatments I have tried and treatments I am trying ~ 'Endometriosis: My story & what has helped me'.

Endometriosis: My story & What has helped me

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Please note, I am not a healthcare professional. I'm just someone who lives with endometriosis, and the information I'm sharing here comes from my experience, from knowledge that has been shared with me by healthcare professionals, and also from studies, articles, films, and podcasts that I've come across. This shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before beginning new treatments or making lifestyle changes.


Getting a Diagnosis

In February of this year I had my first ever laparoscopy, and was subsequently diagnosed with endometriosis. Getting a diagnosis was not as simple as it sounds though. Actually, it took 19 years for me to get that all important diagnosis. My experience seems to be a common one, so here's how it happened...
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