When my period started, I used to miss days of work spending my time rolled up in a ball with unyielding pain, nausea and diarrhea that left me weak and bedridden. Something told me that this was definitely not “normal.” It was a co-worker who first suggested that I could have endometriosis. I had never heard of it. I took to Google and spent a good amount of time reading posts in online endometriosis support groups. I had all the symptoms. The Pain got Worse, this was definitely not “normal” I’ve suffered with extremely painful periods from an early age. I complained for years to my doctors about them, but no one paid much attention. One of my doctors prescribed me a high dose of ibuprofen, while another suggested I go on birth control. The birth control helped to control the pain, so I stayed on it. In addition to painful periods, I struggled with other symptoms such as migraines, and constant fatigue as a teenager and young adult. I got a headache just about every day, and constantly struggled with embarrassing digestive issues. I decided to get off of birth control late in my twenties when my prescription ran out, I was in between doctors, and I was concerned about the added hormones. I'd been on the pill for ten years - a third of my life! This decision awoke a whole new kind of pain. My periods became excruciating, and the pain extended to a point where I was struggling almost every day. I was exhausted, bleeding irregularly and had awful pain during and after sex. I also started having incredibly uncomfortable bladder pain. My Endometriosis Diagnosis: I had to have surgery I approached my gynecologist about it and she told me that endometriosis was definitely a possibility, but I’d need to have a laparoscopic procedure to be sure. The surgeon would go in with a small camera to look around inside my pelvic cavity. This was the only way to officially diagnosis endometriosis. Four months later I had the surgery. The surgeon confirmed that I did indeed have endometriosis. He found it on the outside of my uterus, ovaries and other parts of my pelvic region. I Was Told There Was No Cure and fell into Depression I was offered up two treatment options: get back on birth control pills or take Lupron, a drug that would essentially kick my body into menopause. Having read all the negative things about Lupron in support groups, I decided not to go down this route and I didn’t want to get back on the pill. I’d already spent years of my life on artificial hormones, and I didn’t want to go back down that road. The only other option suggested was for me to get pregnant as soon as possible, since often times this cleared up endometriosis. While the pregnancy route was an option, I couldn’t really fathom how that was going to happen, since sex was a very painful process. And what if the endometriosis did not go away? I could not imagine having to care for a small child with chronic pain and menstruation that left me completely nonfunctional. I fell into a deep depression. I was filled with such a strong sense of hopelessness coupled with daily pain that was simply exhausting. I was told that there was no cure for endometriosis and that my symptoms were only going to get worse and compromise my fertility. I couldn’t imagine things getting any worse. My Inner Warrior Took Charge and I FOUND A SOLUTION! After wallowing for far too long under the covers of my bed with my heating pad, my inner warrior stepped up and I decided to search for another way out of the pain. I took to the internet and continued researching. I came across stories of women who were able to control the pain from endometriosis with dietary changes. My world really opened up when I learned about the power of food in relation to the pain I was experiencing. With little other options, I decided to make big changes to my diet. I cut out gluten, dairy, soy and fried foods...all things that made up my normal diet. This was hard at first and at times very frustrating. But I stuck with it and started to feel better. My advances in well-being started with changes in my diet, but were maintained by managing my stress levels, which play a big role in hormonal imbalances. To help keep my stress levels lowered, I incorporated yoga and a daily meditations practice that expanded into living my life in a mindful, present manner. Another thing that helped me on my healing journey was implementing methods to clear out my detoxification channels with focus on my colon, liver and lymphatic system. I did a series of liver and gallbladder cleansings, juicing, colonics, dry brushing, castor oil packs, and the Ayurvedic herb manjistha. To avoid hormonally disruptive, toxic chemicals I invested more in organic foods and adjusted everything that came in contact with my skin. I really paid attention to what went in and on my body. My Virtually Pain-Free Life Currently, I have “a day of pain” with the start of my period, but it is manageable pain. My bladder pain and headaches are gone, and I don’t feel bloated and gassy like I used to. Due to all the lifestyle changes that I’ve made I was able to stop taking all prescription and over-the-counter pain medication. My journey of self-healing prompted me to want to share the lessons that I’ve learned on my blog at www.peacewithendo.com and in my first book: From Pain to Peace With Endo: Lessons Learned on the Road to Healing Endometriosis. Read more about what do to if you are struggling in my article: Just Diagnosed with Endometriosis? 6 Lifestyle Changes to Make Right now Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.