GUEST POST: MY ENDO STORY - PART 3
guest post 01/10/2017
A personal story by Helena from Fertility.sk
I have the privilege to present a series of guest posts by Helena Bielikova, the creator of Fertility.sk. I truly believe that sharing our personal stories of healing can help us all find our own way towards high quality of life and vibrant health. I hope that this series will help you find inspiration and motivation for your own healing journey. Thank you, Helena!
A big thanks goes to Heather Jacobsen, author, nutrition researcher, poet and host of the Facebook Group Treat Endometriosis and Adenomyosis Naturally (NEAT), for kindly proofreading the English text!
Read Part 1 and Part 2 of this guest post series. And enjoy this last part, where Helena shares her Practical guide to managing endometriosis naturally!
Part Five - Practical Guide
Let me share a few observations from my personal experience. Although I’ve always been a fan of natural therapies, I used to have quite a rigid approach to applying them — I always applied one thing at a time, so that I could see and evaluate results properly. I wanted to be able to identify the winning diet/supplement/therapy. The problem with that attitude is that when you are in a really bad condition, one change at a time is hardly enough to make a difference. Imagine yourself as a big 3D puzzle consisting of mechanical, biochemical and mental pieces, all woven into one another with small invisible strings.
As long as you are in balance, these strings hold quite well, and withstand quite a lot of pressure without getting tangled or untied. But when you reach the critical point, or keep running along with some strings untied for a long time, imbalance starts slowly spreading, more and more pieces of your puzzle are displaced, more strings get untied. Until you literally fall apart.
When you reach that point, it is very irrational to tie one string at a time and wait a couple of weeks to see what happens. This won't be enough to even keep up with the ongoing process of your strings being unraveled. When you realize that you are officially unraveling while still alive, the best thing you can do is to take enough time to relax and gather your energy for the next battle. Don't freak out, just stand (or lay) still for a while, calm down, and then put together an action plan. When you are ready, go for it — start tying your strings back together one by one — steadily, patiently. Don't look up every couple of minutes to see what happens. If you get tired and need rest, do so, but then go on.
Be prepared for the possibility that you’ll miss an important string and you’ll fall apart again. Be prepared for the fact, that when your pieces start to get back in their place, they may hurt more than before (hence the healing crisis). If that happens, rest a bit, fix your plan and start over again.
Let me quote Wendy K. Laidlaw from the book Heal Endometriosis Naturally:
"Expect that you may get a little frustrated or despondent, and you may even fall off the wagon at times. Like falling off a horse or a bike, just get back on, (without beating yourself up) and keep going."
Don't be hasty, always, always take enough time when you need to rest, eat, drink, move. Go out and have fun if you feel like it. But keep tying your strings (and trying) whenever you have a chance. What's the worst thing that can happen to you anyway? We are all going to die one day and fall apart eventually :-) With a bit of luck, one day you tie enough strings right and then you will be healed. Or pregnant, if that's what you are looking for.
Remember, Thomas A. Edison said:
"I have not failed. I've just found 1,000 ways that won't work."
Don't worry, unlike Edison, you don't need to try 1,000 ways that won't work, but do be prepared for something between 10 and 100 failures. There's a lot of high quality information about natural approach to healing endometriosis, adenomyosis and infertility available on the internet and in books these days, and that will save you a great deal of time and effort.
I especially recommend the following:
The book Women's Bodies Women's Wisdom (Dr. Christiane Northrup)
The book Endometriosis - A Key to Healing Through Nutrition (Dian Shepperson Mills & Michael Vernon)
The book Period Repair Manual (Lara Briden, ND)
The book From Pain to Peace With Endo (Aubree Deimler)
The FB group Natural Endometriosis and Adenomyosis Treatment hosted by Heather Jacobsen
Helena Bielikova is a former endometriosis and adenomyosis sufferer. Her own experience with searching for the most effective natural treatment led her to create the websites Fertility.sk and Fertility.cz, providing information about available options for fertility issues in the Czech and Slovak language. Helena is an author, speaker, reproductive health coach and a big advocate of natural treatment of endometriosis, adenomyosis and other infertility issues. In private life, she is a mother of three children, a passionate cook, reader and gardener.
Part Six - Useful Habits
And last but not least, here is a list of useful habits, which I found particularly beneficial in my natural treatment of endometriosis, adenomyosis and infertility.
Depending on the severity of your condition, follow a moderate to strict paleo diet (the more severe your condition is, the more strict your diet should be). After you get better, it is often possible to "soften" your eating habits a little, reintroduce some gluten-free grains or goat’s or sheep’s dairy.
Take every meal as an opportunity to add in as many nutrients as possible. Eat a lot of nutrient-dense foods like dark green leafy vegetables, seeds, seaweeds, egg yolks etc.
When it comes to animal protein, prefer quality to quantity. It is not advisable to eat too much animal protein with endometriosis, as you are probably already deficient in proteolytic enzymes and therefore you may not able to digest large quantities of animal protein at once. Whenever possible, prefer animal products from grass-fed animals.
Look out for the glycemic index of every meal. Be careful not to eat too much food with high glycemic index (sweet fruit, starchy vegetables, potatoes, grains), and always balance high-glycemic food with a sufficient amount of low-glycemic food (fiber, healthy fat, protein).
Example: 1 tablespoon of honey or dried fruit can be balanced by an equal amount of nuts or seeds.
Eat plenty of healthy fats like raw organic coconut oil, butter from grass-fed cows or goats, olive oil, and foods rich in good fats nuts, seeds, avocado.
Use warming spices and herbs like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, parsley leaves. They stimulate the production of digestive juices, and have powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine they also support blood circulation and relieve blood stagnation. How great is that? :-)
For good digestion, always chew properly and avoid eating when you are stressed. Your last evening meal should be eaten at least 2 hours before bedtime. You can also drink a small amount of warm beverage stimulating stomach acid production 20 minutes or so before every big meal. It can be: green tea, ginger tea, bone broth or lukewarm water with 1-2 teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).
Take good care of your gut flora. Avoid medication and food additives, which damages your little gut friends. Whenever possible, choose natural treatment options instead of antibiotics. Replenish your gut flora by regular consumption of fermented foods with friendly bacteria, like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, and so on. Consider using supplements to add specific probiotic cultures like or to your gut flora.
To support proper detoxification, regularly drink dandelion root tea, take freshly ground milk thistle seeds, and eat foods rich in soluble fiber (psyllium, chia seeds), chlorophyll and sulfur (MSM). Heavy metal toxicity can be addressed by careful removal of silver fillings and taking zeolite. Drink plenty of fresh water, move and breath freely.
Take good care of your thyroid health. The thyroid suffers under both mental and physical stress (long distance running), toxicity (heavy metals, environmental toxins, endogenous toxins), sugar, inflammatory foods, gluten, alcohol, unfermented soy products, too much raw cruciferous vegetables, caffeine, low fat diets, low protein intake and not enough sleep. You can improve your thyroid health by eating real food rich in nutrients, healthy fats and protein, getting enough iodine (sea vegetables, unrefined salt), coconut oil, selenium (coconut pulp, brazil nuts), chlorophyll, MACA, Ashwagandha, turmeric and glutathione.
Always respect your individual food intolerances and allergies. Please note that food intolerances may change over time, according to your current health condition. The more stressed you are, the more likely you will react to problematic foods.
Castor Oil Packs - Warm castor oil packs are highly beneficial for any woman with endometriosis, adenomyosis or any other fertility issues. They stimulate blood and lymphatic flow, oxygenation, and local immunity, while gently warming organs troubled by cold (this often refers to the uterus and ovaries). When applied on the lower belly region under your navel, they help to heal reproductive issues, stimulate the production of healthy eggs, stimulate the growth of a healthy uterus lining, and balance local immunity (calm down autoimmune response and decrease inflammation). Castor oil packs also help to dissolve any redundant tissue like adhesions, cysts, endometrial lesions or fibroids. Many women even reported clearing up previously blocked tubes. Castor oil packs should be used 2-3 times per week. Due to their highly relaxing properties, I recommend doing them in the evening before you go to sleep. Do not apply castor oil packs at the time of your menstrual period or in pregnancy.
Breathing Exercises - Deep relaxation diaphragm breathing helps to calm down overactive sympathetic nerves (responsible for the fight-or-flight response) and supports parasympathetic nervous system, therefore is especially helpful to relieve stress and restore balance. If you often feel stressed, jittery, have trouble sleeping, have thyroid or autoimmune issues, then relaxation breathing might be the thing you need. Breathing exercises should be done ideally twice a day (morning and evening) for 5-10 minutes.
Systemic Enzyme Therapy (SET) - The enzyme Serrapeptase helps to dissolve excess fibrine, adhesions, cysts, endometrial lesions, or simply any kind of foreign bodily tissue. It also aids your immune system to get rid of infections, relieves inflammation, helps to clean your liver and blood, and improves blood circulation. From a fertility perspective, it improves the quality of eggs and sperm, and calms the immune system in cases when immunity issues prevent conception. SET can also help to resolve spontaneous miscarriages due to toxicity, blood clotting or immunity issues. To achieve the best results, please make sure you start with SET at least three months prior to planned conception.Systemic enzymes should always be taken on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before your next meal and at least 2 hours after your last meal.
And a few more tips to sum up:
Please note, that even if your doctor's examination results are OK, it doesn't necessarily mean that you don't have a problem in the pelvic area. It may be just below the threshold, or not showing at the time of examination. Whenever you are in doubt about your health, listen to your body and learn to understand its symptoms.
Almost every chronic condition can be treated naturally, without medication or surgery. Just google and you almost always get plenty of good options. Just be patient and persistent, treatment may take anything between 1 month and 1 year.
Learn to distinguish between the symptoms of a healing crisis and those of an individual intolerance to certain foods or supplements. Typical intolerance symptoms include: heartburn, upset stomach, and skin rash. Intolerance symptoms usually start showing up from one to several days after you start a new therapy. If you experience intolerance symptoms, it is advisable to stop your new treatment, take a few days until symptoms disappear and then try again with a lower dose. If symptoms come back again, this treatment is probably not for you. Healing crisis symptoms include headaches, loose stools, bloating, and worsening of your previous symptoms (pain around ovaries, menstrual pain and bleeding). Healing crisis symptoms tend to be most intense about 1 month after you start a new therapy, and usually improve within a few weeks. Remember, healing crisis symptoms are a sign that your therapy is working! Do not give up, just slow down a bit, if your symptoms are unbearable.
Don't forget about mental hygiene and positive thinking. Many women (including myself in the past) wonder how they can be so sick when they do everything so right - diet, exercise, supplements, therapies... Perhaps the only thing that hinders the progress of healing is stress and negative emotions.
Dr. Christiane Northrup says about endometriosis:
"The uterus is related energetically to a woman’s innermost sense of self and her inner world. It is symbolic of her dreams and the selves to which she would like to give birth. Its state of health reflects her inner emotional reality and her belief in herself at the deepest level. The health of the uterus is at risk if a woman doesn’t believe in herself or is excessively self-critical. "
Of course, we can't force happiness and balance onto ourselves, but we can do a lot to help our body and mind to process and release stress and negative emotions. Meditation, art therapy, reiki, women’s circles, coaching or classical psychotherapy — choose whatever is closest to your personal beliefs and vibrations.
Good luck to all of you, my endo and adeno sisters, on your way to healing. You don't have to spend the rest of your life in pain and darkness alone. There is light and hope for every one of you.
If you need some advice, don't hesitate to contact me — I'll gladly schedule a one-on-one individual coaching session with you, and discuss your specific needs in English, Czech or Slovak.
MORE ENGLISH ARTICLES
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How I couldn't get health insurance because of endo
How I sometimes feel before my period