Living with Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a chronic disease that not only affects us from the physical point of view. For this reason, it's so important to include various strategies in the treatment.
Living with Endometriosis

Written by Maite Córdova Vena, 01 September, 2021

Last update: 01 September, 2021

It’s very common to think that the diagnosis of a chronic disease implies forgetting about well-being. However, this needn’t always be the case. In fact, with proper treatment and good lifestyle habits, living with endometriosis is certainly possible.

Endometriosis is a complex disease, but you can still cope with it and enjoy a good quality of life. In order to do this, in addition to following the doctor’s instructions, it’s essential that the patient herself understands that she can play an active role in her own well-being.

Although treatment is important, knowledge about the disease and self-care plays a fundamental role. To contribute to this, we’ll discuss what you should keep in mind when living with endometriosis.

Emotional health

Living with endometriosis may require mental therapy
If the intensity of the symptoms is strong, it can affect emotional health. Going to the psychologist or psychiatrist could be of great help for these people.

Living with endometriosis can sometimes be challenging on a physical level, but this is also so emotionally. As stated by various specialized sources, the disease can have a great impact on the quality of life, especially when it isn’t adequately treated comprehensively.

The intensity of the pain can become very disabling, and can promote great distress, a sense of lack of control, feelings of helplessness, and feeling unable to deal with symptoms and day-to-day situations. All of this increases stress levels considerably.

When a woman is unable to carry out her routine activities normally or is forced to cancel meetings and other commitments due to pain, fatigue, and other discomfort, she won’t only have high levels of stress. Problems such as depression and anxiety, among others, also tend to develop.

The support of a psychologist is essential when treating the disease. This isn’t only to manage any negative emotions, feelings, and thoughts that may arise, but also to prevent deterioration of self-esteem and even social ties.

  • A comprehensive treatment is very beneficial for women with endometriosis, as it not only addresses pain and physical discomfort, but also helps prevent the deterioration of psycho-emotional health.
  • Psychological treatment combined with other good life habits can promote well-being on a day-to-day basis.
  • It’s important for women to cultivate their hobbies and allow leisure and recreation in their lives, either individually or in groups, as this contributes to their well-being.

Physical health

In addition to following the doctor’s guidelines regarding pain management through drugs, it’s necessary to take care of physical health through simple habits such as a healthy diet and regular exercise, for example.

Diet

A balanced diet, according to the body’s needs, significantly contributes to integral well-being. When it comes to living with endometriosis, even when there’s no diet as such to “treat” it, there are some recommendations:

  • Get enough fiber on a daily basis
  • Prioritize the consumption of whole-grain cereals over refined ones
  • Regularly include fruits and vegetables in the diet
  • Moderate the consumption of red meat
  • Take regular advantage of sources of omega 3 fatty acids
  • Avoid ultra-processed food and sources of saturated and trans fats

With these recommendations, you can take advantage of foods that don’t only offer good nutrition, but which, due to their properties, also help to mitigate inflammation and the resulting discomfort.

Exercise

Although, at first, you may think that exercise will only cause pain and other discomfort, it can actually be very beneficial. The Center for Young Women’s Health ( CYWH) explains why:

  • Exercise helps release hormones (endorphins) that have an analgesic effect, which helps relieve pain.
  • It also helps improve blood circulation, which, in turn, promotes oxygenation of the entire body.
  • Also, exercise helps reduce estrogen levels.
  • Physical activity not only helps to alleviate physical tension, but also emotional tension. Therefore, it’s also useful to reduce stress and anxiety levels.

For all the above, experts consider that performing 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises daily allows you to obtain all the above benefits and, consequently, maintain a good quality of life. High-intensity exercises are not recommended.

Accessories

Sitz baths with warm water and hot compresses are complements that contribute to pain relief, as well as physical therapy and acupuncture (although the latter hasn’t yet been fully proven effective).

Social life

Living with endometriosis requires distraction
Strengthening social bonds, doing more enjoyable outdoor activities, and exercising are just some of the ways you can cope with endometriosis.

Living with endometriosis can be complex, and the disease can affect a woman’s social sphere in a number of ways. For example, the pain can become so severe that they have to cancel meetings or planned activities.

It can also mean that the woman doesn’t want to make any new plans, fearing that they won’t come to fruition. Thus, in one way or another, they isolate themselves and this isn’t at all beneficial.

It’s important for women to be transparent about their condition in their closest circles – family, friends, classmates or at work…

This visibility doesn’t only allow you to vent your frustrations, but it also helps to make those closest to you aware of the difficulties that the disease can pose. Talking with people who are close to you will help them to be more empathetic and understanding. It will also help you, together with them, to find a way to keep up the relationship and avoid isolation.

While rest may be necessary (and unavoidable) at times, it shouldn’t be allowed to lead to isolation. There’s always life beyond endometriosis.

There are support groups and online communities that don’t only offer informational resources, but also different activities, including chat sessions with other patients. Participating in them helps promote a positive sense of community and belonging that will benefit mental health.

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