Stress and Endo

This often misunderstood condition can not only cause increased levels of stress, it can actually be worsened by stress – leading to a vicious circle of pain – stress- increased pain – increased stress and so on.

Endometriosis effects millions of women worldwide, from all walks of life. With and without children, professional busy women and stay at home Moms. This is a condition that can negatively affect all aspects of their lives – physical and mental wellbeing, productivity in the workplace and their relationships.

A recent scientific trial on rats, some were induced with Endometriosis cells and then all were subjected to a stress test (swimming). The Endo rats were biopsied and were found to have not only developed larger endometrial cells, they also showed higher levels of inflammatory stress in their colons, and more inflamed immune systems.

This indicated that, if you have Endometriosis, you are more susceptible to stress related disorders. Not great news given having this condition itself is highly stressful.

So what are some of the things women with Endo can do to help reduce their stress levels and help their body reduce the inflammatory responses to stress?

Here are some tips:

1. Watch your food?

Avoid foods that can place a load on an already stressed system – these include caffeine, dairy products, refined sugars and carbohydrates.??Take a look at your normal daily intake. If your average day consists of a sugary cereal and milk, followed by white toast and a coffee, you are probably not giving your body the best start to the day. Follow that up with more caffeine during the morning, energy drinks a bread sandwich for lunch then a quick pasta for dinner with a glass of wine, and you have simply stressed out your system even further through eating the wrong food.??Try switching to green tea, add more fruit and vegetables – especially the leafy green ones and take a break from dairy for a few weeks, then slowly add one or two back in and see how your symptoms respond.

2. The Good Oil?

Most nutritionists will also suggest you have fish oil in your daily diet – it reduces inflammation and can help estrogen be cleared more efficiently from the body. Omega 3 supplements with DHA & EPA is particularly good. If you can’t stomach fish oil, you can also find Omega 3 fatty acids in walnut oil, flaxseed and olive oil.

3. Take it easy

Most women feel they are under pressure each and every day with the responsibility of managing a household, children, study, work, relationships, family, cleaning, catering, cooking, the list goes on. In reality I believe we put ourselves under pressure and it is a natural response as we are predominantly ‘nurturers’, driven by looking after others.??It takes dedication and training to teach ourselves to manage stress and to find a steady and healthy pace for life.

It’s all very well to say “I’ll schedule in some ‘me’ time” however, what really needs to happen is for a mind-shift to take place that taking time for you is incredibly important for us to properly function. The trouble is, “Me” time is often portrayed in the media as a group of women flippantly drinking bubbles and painting their toes and getting facials.??In reality, if you don’t take good care of you, how on earth do you expect to look after others?

Here are some de-stressing tips:

Exercise: Make sure you schedule 20-30 minutes each day – set the alarm 30 minutes early and go for a walk, jog, cycle. Go out in your lunch-break and walk to the nearest park, take in some fresh air, feel the grass beneath your feet. Grab the family after dinner for a walk to the local beach, river, park. Mix it up and make sure you do it each day until it becomes a habit. If you exercise first thing in the morning, you are up and gone before you can consider all the reasons why not to go, and you feel great for the rest of the day.

Breathe: Sit for just 5-10 minutes and listen to your heartbeat, breathe evenly and gently from the stomach. Find a yoga position you like, or some music to listen to. Even sitting at a park bench with your iPod will do. Find your pace, release the tension, take a deep breath and get going again.

Sleep: Burning the candle from both needs does not mean you are getting more done. It means you are not managing your time properly. Chances are, your productivity has decreased, the quality of your work is lower than normal and at some stage in the not-too-distant-future you are going to crash and need to take time off anyway. Your body repairs itself while you sleep and the hours before mid-night are especially important. Make sure your room is dark and to help de-stress even further, have a notepad and pen by the bed, so if you do wake up with lots of stuff in your head, you can write it down and get rid of it, enabling you to sleep better.

Sex: This releases natural endorphins into the system and can hep to reduce the levels of the stress hormone, Cortisol. Making sure you go to bed before you are tired will help with desire levels too. There are also a number of herbal supplements that help reduce and control Cortisol levels.

Drink: Plenty of water, especially at night. If you do have alcohol, match it glass-for-glass with water. Not only is it great for your skin it also helps your body flush out toxins, which it does mostly while you sleep.

Lisa J Faith

Best Selling Author- Beat The Pain. Heal Yourself With Nutritional Therapy.

5 Replies

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  • On the take easy what about work as I get very stressed? And also I am hard of hearing and cannot use ipod!!! But very good and if feeling tired I take magnesium vitamin and I only drink decaff tea 1 every morning and water all day but take 1 hot chocolate to keep warm and try not to take water at night as u be up in the middle of the night.... I hate it...

  • Thanks for your advice and tips ;0)

  • I agree with much of the advice above. However, being an animal lover I find it upsetting to casually mention that 'animal testing' is used or even necessary! I strongly believe we should be using non animal testing methods. The Lord Dowding Trust is breaking ground worldwide using human stem cell research and thus less side effects to humans as animals are fundamentally different. Also, as was outlined in the Mail 'Health' articles recently, it was found by a Boston University researching endometriosis that apparently some dairy products actually benefit endometriosis! I am a vegetarian myself, so this relevation is a difficult one for me as the dairy industry is not particularly ethical, however, this the latest research. Strangely perhaps, I find that strong coffee (caffeine) actually 'kick starts' my sluggish bowel in the mornings, due to adhesions from endometriosis and diverculitis. I realise of course, this may not be the case for the majority of endometriosis patients. I totally agree with the concept of daily exercise as this not only releases pain killing endorphines but can help 'stretch out' scar tissue (adhesions) which often accompany endometriosis, especially after repeat surgeries where they can proliferate. Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga is incredibly beneficial for endometriosis and adhesions. Management of endometriosis and adhesions is the key to what is often believed to be a condition with no cure.

    In some cases surgery can be successful but for others prone to adhesions it can be a 'merry go round' as each surgery can produce further scar tissue. Zoladex type injections that send a sufferer into pseudo menopause by starving the oestrogen that feeds it, can be very successful if endometriosis implants/lesions are found early, but unfortunately the average time for confirmation of the presence of endometriosis is currently 7 to 10 years! By this time scar tissue has often become an issue and endometriosis over time can involve other organs and Zoladex type monthly injections (often administered with synthetic hrt such as Tibolone) can be ineffective if inflammation triggered adhesions have become the dominent factor. The key is early diagnosis and treatment at the onset of endometriosis!

  • Thank you for your informative advice. It will be very helpful in future.

  • Some great feedback ladies, glad some of the info helps. I also find ensuring you have lots of anti-oxidants going into my body helps - I was recently introduced to a South African tea called Rooibos, very high in antioxidants (more than green tea) and no caffeine. You might want to look out for this if you are not already aware of it. I find it easier to drink than green tea (less bitter).

    If you are interested in knowing more about which vital nutrients we need, what they do for us and where to get them in our food, you can download a free book from my website: lisajfaith.com/

    To the best of your health,

    Lisa

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