Written by: Lisa Kelly
THIS BLOG CONTENT IS STRICTLY BASED ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND CONDITION OF THE WRITER, VITAL YOU DOES NOT MAKE ANY MEDICAL CLAIMS IN THE CAUSE OR CURE OF THE CONDITION AND TREATMENT.
-Tell us a bit about your condition: When did it begin? What symptoms do you have?
I was diagnosed with endometriosis, virtually from the day I got my first period. From the beginning, I had extremely long, extremely painful and heavy periods, and my mom knew something wasn’t right. I would barely be able to get out of bed, would miss school and sometimes had periods that lasted 2-3 weeks which made life really miserable. Heavy periods, bad cramping and lower back pain were all indicators that endometriosis was the case, and luckily, I grew up in Boston where there was one of the leading endo specialists in the country. I got a laparoscopy as a teenager which confirmed severe endo.
-How has this condition negatively impacted your life? What emotions come along when you are having a “bad” day with your condition?
Endo has made every period excruciatingly painful. It prevented me from a lot of social events. I didn’t want to sleep over friend’s houses as a kid because I didn’t want to be sick from period pain, because I never knew when, or how hard, my period would hit. It also comes with a lot of digestion issues, which also made me nervous going out for too long because I never knew when I’d have a flare up. Even now, I know I can’t plan hiking or camping trips around my period because I know I’ll be absolutely miserable.
The emotions tied to it are mostly helplessness and frustration these days. The pain is still excruciating, but I’ve grown accustomed to it. But it’s upsetting to feel like you have no control over your body, and no matter what I do to try and treat it, nothing seems to alleviate the pain, which leads to a whole bunch of consistent anger and sadness.
-How has your condition positively impacted your life?
Endometriosis was a blessing in that it really made me look at my diet. At the beginning of my diagnosis, doctors recommended mostly bread, rice, carbs and cheese to treat symptoms. After doing my own research and working with natural health practitioners, I found that the OPPOSITE is true. I learned what worked for my body, and that gluten, soy and dairy really triggered my pain. I built an entire vegan personal chef business off of this dietary switch to plantbased! It also fueled my skepticism of western medicine and I approached all aspects of my life in a more holistic approach, after too many doctors put me on hormones and put me through too many surgeries that didn’t work. Overall, it’s defintely made me more resilient and strong, and over the past year, have really started to form a community around endo support which is also SO wonderful.
-How do you find emotional/communal/informational support with your condition?
I’ve found that almost ALL of my friends, suffer in some way, which is sad, but also a type of bonding between us. Things like cysts, PCOS, endo, so many of us have been suffering for so long and either haven’t opened up about it, or didn’t even realize there were so many of us going through the same thing. I’ve found a big community on Instagram and Jessica Murnane of One Part Podcast and Jessica Duffin of This Endo Life are my favorite podcasts!
-How do you find relief of physical symptoms? What holistic/home remedies do you use? What specific products/brands help you find support and relief in your condition?
In addition to altering my diet, especially prior to and during my period, raspberry leaf tea has been my go-to for years, along with abdominal application of peppermint oil. THC oils have also been really useful, but it’s short lived. Nothing truly helps with the cramping and pain, most just temporary soothing of abdominal and lower back pain. I recently found Boulder based Chica, which are herb infused chocolates that help with my mood swings and skin, which have been amazing. I recently had a friend make me teas and tinctures with this like cramp bark, so I’m hoping that helps!
-Has the Vital You products aided your condition or mindset in any way?
I am typically skeptical of most CBD products, but the Warrior bath bomb from Vital You has been a godsend! It was a HUGE help with back pain and really helped me sleep better, too, which is typically hard to do when I have my period.
-Is there anything else you wish to share about your condition?
Mostly just that if something feels off in your body, trust that. Most of my friends have written off severe periods of cramps and think “everyone has a brutal period” when there could be so many underlying conditions that need to be addressed. I’ve had friends who went 20 years without a diagnosis. I’ve been told my whole life that this would prevent me from getting pregnant, which also was not true. Doctors can get you a diagnosis, but I think it’s really important to take your health into your own hands and figure out practices that work best for you.