Natural Pain Relief for Endometriosis

Natural Pain Relief for Endometriosis

Natural Pain Relief for Endometriosis

 

Looking for a more natural pain relief? Here’s how I replaced painkillers with an all-natural remedy
that not only worked to uncurl me from the grips of endometriosis pain but also promotes deep relaxation.

*This post is strictly informational and not intended as medical advice, nor as a substitution for medical advice.

Mother nature gave you a uterus,

 

but she also gave you herbs!

We have used herbs are medicine for thousands of years, and pharmaceutical companies still do.

For four decades, I’ve been skeptical of a prevailing belief in Western medicine:  When a plant shows bioactivity in humans, we must attribute that effect to a single, predominant compound in the plant. We label that the “active principle,” isolate it, synthesize it, and make a pharmaceutical out of it. Then, typically, we forget about the plant. We don’t study any of the other compounds in it or their complex interactions. – Dr. Andrew Weil

…And since as you can’t patent a herb, the use of pure, whole herbs is nowhere near as profitable as drugs. So that’s why you don’t hear more about herbal medicine. Not because it’s doesn’t work, it just doesn’t have the marketing budget to compete. 

So as our society moves further away from our connection with the natural world, herbal medicine is often met with, “is a plant actually going to do anything?” Well, think poppies and opium, willow bark and aspirin, hemp and cannabis. Herbs are potent substances and their effects on the body can be profound.

How I Replaced Convential Painkillers

Realising the dangers of prolonged use of NSAIDs and other painkillers, I had simply stopped taking them – cue world of pain. This wasn’t the answer. Being in pain is traumatic for the body and the resulting stress can make your body more vulnerable to ill health.

I reached out to a medical herbalist and she suggested an acute pain mix for me to take for up to three days each month, since my pain occurred during the first three days of my period – you can work with a medical herbalist to create a mix for your particular pain (duration, intensity etc).

This acute pain mix proved more beneficial than painkillers.

Firstly, the NSAIDs and presciption painkillers I had tried were ineffective as acute painkillers when I was in extreme pain. They may work for general period pain but they don’t touch endometriosis induced period pain. I was once offered morphine by a paramedic after I had collapsed. Yikes. So to get in front of the pain, I could take NSAIDs for a number of days before my period and continue taking them during the first 3-4 days of my period. That’s a lot of NSAIDs!

The herbal acute pain mix, being in liquid form, makes it much quicker for the body to absorb and put to use than a pill. I was to take 2.5mls at the first sign of pain, every 2 hours (no more than 6 times per day), for up to three days.

So while this not a dissimilar dosage to NSAIDS (this is because my acute mix contains a schedule 20 herb which is restricted to use by only registered medical herbalists), it works on a deeper level than painkillers. 

The herbs used are potent uterine relaxants that relieve tension, tightness and spams, unwinding the source of the pain rather than just being a pain blocker (how NSAIDs work). Softening, relaxing and warming, they help dispel anxiety and instil a sense of relaxation. 

We worked through a few combinations to find one that worked best for me. I now have this acute pain mix ‘in my back pocket’. 

It’s important to note that the story doesn’t end here.

Resources for Endometriosis

While I have had a number of pain-free cycles, where I have barely used the acute mix if at all, I still need to remind myself (or be reminded by my mum) to keep on top of my self-care. Afterall, it’s what has gotten me to having pain-free cycles and endometriosis doesn’t end with pain relief. Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease that requires consistent management. 

It’s easy to get swept away by life. An acute pain mix can be there for you in your time of need, but if stress has accumulated, then extra self-care is in order redress the balance.

I have a daily herbal mix that I use to manage my endometriosis. I also use a herbal tea blend. Information on the supplements and herbal remedies I use for endometriosis can be found here. 

Beyond that, we’re taking an anti-inflammatory diet plus other self-care rituals such as yoga and salt baths. I’ll cover those in more detail in the coming months. Good news is – they’re all wonderful! Self-care shouldn’t be a chore – it’s a treat!

For now, I hope this has given you something to look into.

Here’s a map to find your nearest herbalist (this is predominately UK-based, though does list some herbalists in other countries).  

If you are unable to access a medical herbalist, you can make your own tea if you’d like.  The blend I use can be found here. You can purchase dried herbs online. Please do your own research on herbs for any contraindications and consult your doctor before use. 

Herbal medicine should only be used under the guidance of a registered medical herbalist.

the endo diet
 lifestyle

 

4 Supplements I Use To Manage My Endometriosis

4 Supplements I Use To Manage My Endometriosis

4 SUPPLEMENTS I USE TO MANAGE MY ENDOMETRIOSIS

 

We all want to pop the ‘magic pill’ and feel better from endometriosis and that’s the rub with many medical drugs such as painkillers and the contraceptive pill; they work (sometimes) but do so by masking the problem rather than addressing the root cause. …And the ramifications long term can be disastrous. But what if you have no alternative than to take painkillers or synthetic hormones? Well, herbal medicine and supplements can step in to provide a holistic approach to relieving (and resolving) pain and helping you manage your symptoms. It’s not quick and it’s not guaranteed, but for me, it has been worth it.

These are the 4 supplements I use on a daily basis…

*This post is strictly informational and not intended as medical advice, nor as a substitution for medical advice.

1. Herbal medicine

Herbal medicine, for me, has stepped in to replace NSAIDs and prescription painkillers all while working to harmonise my cycle, cleanse my body of excess hormones and relax and tone my uterus.

This has been extremely restorative for me and a key tool in managing my endometriosis successfully.

 

Daily mix

I have a daily herbal mix that contains a blend of calendula, cramp bark, astragalus, Chinese angelica and liquorice, as well as vitex agnus castus drops on the side.

This helps relax my body on a daily basis and support the cleansing process of removing excess hormones such as oestrogen.

 

Herbal tea

Raspberry leaves, yarrow, chamomile, rose, couchgrass and calendula.

This helps to relax and tone my uterus, and I find it makes my monthly cycle much lighter, shorter and more manageable.

Pain mix

My acute pain mix was a process of adjustment and currently contains a schedule 20 herb (restricted to use by only registered medical herbalists) as well as a number of other pain-relieving herbs.

This is my alternative to traditional painkillers that I keep in my back pocket, to be used at the first sight of pain; 2.5ml every two hours until the pain goes away (maximum usage: up to 6 times a day for up to 3 days).

How to

If you are in the UK, I’d recommend medical herbalist Caroline Bulter who practises in Dorchester and Bridport (Dorset, South West England). 

Don’t have access to a medical herbalist? You can always make your own tea blend. There are many online stores available that sell individual tea herbs such as raspberry leaf.

Note: Just because something is natural does not make it safe, while herbs are a wonderful alternative to synthetic drugs, herbal medicine should only be used under the direction of a qualified professional.

2. CBD oil

CBD oil is increasingly being used as an anti-inflammatory, stress reducer and natural pain reliever in chronic conditions and may help reduce anxiety too. For these reasons, it is quickly becoming popular with women with endometriosis.

 

 

While a powerhouse natural remedy, misinformation about CBD oil is rife. In short, CBD oil (cannabidiol) is not psychoactive.

Some CBD oils do contain trace amounts of THC (the stuff that gets people high), however, trace amounts (0.5% THC or less) don’t come anywhere near to getting you high.

If you are an athlete or get routinely drug tested at work, trace amounts of THC may show up if you consume a high dose of CBD oil, so be warned.

That said, herb.co say one would need to consume anywhere from 1000 to 2000mg of CBD oil in a day (that’s likely 1-2 bottles worth) to result in a positive for marijuana on a drug test. They say this, however,  would be a false positive – if the sample were to undergo further tests for verification purposes then it would be found to be negative, as this secondary test is more accurate.

THC-free CBD oil is available if you’re at all concerned about THC. 

 

 

Since I have only recently started using CBD oil, and as I still take my herbal medicine, I can’t definitively distinguish what is having what effect over time. 

My main reason for taking CBD oil is, first, as an experiment; I wanted to try it before I wrote about it, and second, anything I can do to reduce or eliminate chronic inflammation is a top priority for me.

3. Plant-derived minerals

Minerals such as magnesium are known for their relaxation and fatigue-lifting properties. I don’t like taking vitamins or minerals in isolation though, as this can disrupt the body’s delicate symbiosis so I take a full-spectrum complex that includes 75 minerals and trace minerals.

As a mineralised body is the foundation to good health, this is a good place to start. We often focus on the inflammation of endometriosis, as it presents the most pressing symptoms (pain), though rallying the immune system will help your body to strengthen and fight inflammation.

Unfortunately, due to many factors such as soil degradation, minerals that were found richly in our soils are now lessening. The quality of the food we eat is directly impacted by the quality of the soil, so while I promote a varied plant-based diet, it is important to me to ensure my body has the minerals it requires to function optimally.

 

You can more info on the plant-derived minerals complex I take here on my mum’s page (she’s a holistic health practitioner and creator of the Total Me Time system and promotes plant-derived minerals to help her clients with energy and sleep).

She can get you £4 (approx. $5+) off your first order (auto-ship only, cancel anytime), so if you would like to try them contact her here and she will hook you up with a code!

 

If you are interested in taking minerals, it’s important to know the difference between plant-derived minerals as opposed to metallic minerals (which are most commonly found).

Metallic minerals are cheap to source, however, contain limited amounts of major or trace minerals and are hard for the body to absorb. Plant-derived minerals, on the other
hand, are fully bioavailable. 

4. Curcumin

You’ll likely have heard of turmeric supplements – turmeric is well researched for its abilities as an anti-inflammatory.

…But it’s curcumin, the active compound found in turmeric, that is doing the heavy lifting – all while making up around just 3% of turmeric!

So if you want the most health properties, look to curcurmin rather than turmeric.

 

As well as fighting inflammation, curcumin is a potent antioxidant that helps to boost your body’s antioxidant activity all while neutralising free radical damage.

It’s important to note that curcumin is not easily absorbed by the body, so it is suggested to take black pepper alongside curcumin which enhances absorption by 2000%

 

Since curcumin is fat soluble, consuming it with a meal containing healthy fats can help.

If you forget to take it with a meal, no worries, you can chuck a few peppercorns and nuts down the hatch instead!

 

 

The curcumin product I use can be found here (this is an affiliate link, though not mine, this is the curcumin supplement my mum recommends to her clients).

 

the endo diet
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Words Your GP Didn’t Let You Finish #endometriosisawareness

Words Your GP Didn’t Let You Finish #endometriosisawareness

Words Your GP Didn't Let You Finish

#endometriosisawareness

Chloe Hodder

Founder, Green Body Mojo

If you have endometriosis or dysmenorrhea (painful periods), you’re probably a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to pain.

The word “pain” is a Pandora’s Box. Those four letters encapsulate so very much.

Inuit’s captured our imagination with their reported “Hundred Words for Snow”, but we too have different words for it – ask any skier or mountaineer. 

Yet pain is just, well, pain.

This is one of the pivotal problems we encounter when visiting the GP – it’s hard to get across your degree of pain. Their Scale of 1-10 is entirely subjective and you end up being demoted from “9 – my limbs are accounted for” to “a bit of a tummy ache”.

…This is not exclusive to male GP’s (though that line was a corker after I had been curled up in fetal position on the bathroom floor, shaking, vomiting, wet through from sweat and close to passing out). Sadly, I’ve known some uterus-bearing GP’s to be more dismissive, those who “have period pain too and just get on with it”. 

GP’s are under pressure, I appreciate that, but the pain of endometriosis can be extreme and that is not to be ignored.

Painkillers can be used as a stop-gap, as it is hard-impossible to function when you’re in pain, but I don’t believe in using them long term without first exhausting all other options.

Further reading: NSAIDS – The Painful Truth Behind Painkillers

The long and short of it?

Pain(ful periods) need to be investigated.

Recent research shows that there is now an average of 7.5 years between women first seeing a doctor about their symptoms and receiving a firm diagnosis.

endometriosis-uk.org

My diagnosis took over a decade.

…Yet, my symptoms of an acute attack were extreme.

  • Vomiting
  • Feverish (hot and drenched in sweat)
  • Prolonged period (mind the pun) of faintness.
  • Becoming unconscious on a number of occasions (and, again, prolonged unconsciousness, not just momentary).
  • Barely able to move.

…And then there was the pain.

  • The deep-seated pain that felt as if it were radiating out of my very my bones, like a constant low-level hum.
  • The sharp stabbing pain that felt like a frenzied attack.
  • The heavy pain that pulled me down to the ground, literally.
  • The toxic pain that felt as if my body was waging war on itself.
  • …And then there was the cramping pain that felt like my insides were twisting into knots. 

I could usually pre-empt an acute attack by the ominous, uneasy feeling that would build, call me Nostradamus, and would have to get myself to a bathroom ASAP to lay on the floor until it passed. The worst of which would burn through in 45 mins – 1.5hrs. 

But during those 2700 – 5400 seconds… All layered up, this became a monstrous pain that felt as if I wouldn’t survive it.

Afterwards, I would feel completely numb as if my body was in shock. It probably was.

This sounds all very melodramatic to anyone that has never experienced their uterus-gone-wild, but this is coming from someone who is pretty darn stoical and thinker-oriented (as opposed to Feely-McFeelerson). 

One time I went to deliver the village postscript to a certain house and their dog ran out and attacked my leg, and I was like, I’ll just leave this in the porch, shall I?

…Then hobbled into the porch with the dog still attached to my leg.

I’m not someone who likes to make a fuss. But I will here because I know I’m not the only one with this experience. 

So for anyone who has ever visited a GP and been patronised over their “bit of tummy ache” or cut off mid-sentence and told to “just take ibuprofen”, I’d like to offer you the space to say what your GP didn’t let you finish. 

…Because if you went to your GP with those symptoms, and left out the part about being on your period, you’d be sent straight to a hospital for tests. 

I was able to eliminate nearly all of my pain through a natural approach – but only after I dealt with it as “endometriosis” rather than “just period pain”.

This pain is not normal and raising awareness will help others to get a quicker diagnosis. So share this post with anyone you know who is quietly suffering and share your experience to help bring about awareness.

~ Further reading ~