My period used to be incredibly painful. The best way for me to describe how they felt was like being ripped apart by Freddy Krueger from the inside. I didn’t know anyone who had as much pain as I did with my menstrual cycle.
I did the usual things like taking lots of over the counter painkillers and hot packs. These would only take the edge off the intense pain I was experiencing. I knew of no other tools to try.
When I finally spoke with my doctor, she had the usual recommendations. We spent about nine months trying different pharmaceutical treatments such as antidepressants and oral birth control pills. The oral birth control pills help to reduce my pain from 10 out of 10 pain to 7 out of 10 pain. This was considered the best possible outcome.
Within a couple of years the pain I was experiencing began to worsen once again. But this time, it was even more painful than before, occurring throughout the month and was no longer just happening when I had my period.
At the age of 19, after five years of debilitating pain, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I was told my only options were to continue with the oral birth control and have surgery to remove any cysts that had accumulated in my abdomen. I took these options. Again, my pain lessened but was not totally gone.
My hormone balance changed again with continued use of the birth control pills, my PMS worsened, and my skin began to breakout. I began to wonder if the external hormones were actually making me worse rather than better. I started to explore other options to help my body heal.
I removed caffeine and my pain reduced.
I began to explore removing inflammatory foods and my pain reduced even more.
I cultivated my meditation practice and my pain reduced yet again.
I began to realize there were so many other ways I was unaware of that could help me be the healthiest version of myself. I dove into learning everything I could about herbs and inflammation.
When I started medical school, I paid close attention to everything addressing hormones and pain reduction. I learned how to use nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathy, and herbs to boost healing.
It’s been a long journey with lots of trial and error. Looking back I’m saddened I thought that period pain was considered “normal”, but it is not. All of my pain was a symptom of deeper imbalance.
I’ve dedicated my life to helping women learn how to care for their minds and bodies so they don’t have to suffer in the same way I did.
If parts of Dr. Allegra’s story sound like your own personal journey, or you think you may have Endometriosis, we encourage you to seek the advice of a physician. You may also be interested in our Endometriosis: Fact or Fiction guide, which helps to break down common misconceptions about the disease.
Don’t go it alone! There are many resources and support groups available to those with Endometriosis.
Dr. Allegra Hart is a naturopathic physician, speaker, author of Nourishing Space Within: Essentials of Self-Care, and founder of Naturae Naturopathic Clinic. She specializes in helping you cultivate natural self-care, rebuild your health from the inside out by empowering you with more energy, better digestion, better moods, tools to defeat chronic disease, and greater flexibility-mentally, physically, and emotionally. Dr Allegra’s new course The Natural Woman’s Guidebook to Defeat Chronic Disease with Real Food is here to help you reset your health. Learn more at naturaeclinic.com