I decided that it would be good to journal about my episodes with endometriosis in that it may in some way, help others out there who maybe looking for information on treating it. I was diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 26 shortly after suffering a miscarriage in the fall of 2006. Something deep inside me knew I had it – my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother all had it and I just knew I had it. My gynecologist didn’t think so, and after some going back and forth with her, she finally agreed to perform a laparoscopy. Low and behold, endometriosis and some small cysts on my ovaries were found.
Not knowing too much about it or how to treat it at the time except that it caused painful menstruation, infertility and could spread very easily to other areas of the body, I agreed with no fuss to my gynecologist’s recommended treatment: Lupron-Depot. Lupron-Depot put me into a menopausal state in which I stopped menstruating, suffered hot flashes, extreme bouts of depression and weight loss. Also, later on, I’d discovered through dental x-rays that I’d also experienced bone density loss.
Long story short, after 2 injections, I soon found myself pregnant soon after my then fiancé returned from his second tour in Iraq. Then, 9 months after the birth of my daughter, I was again pregnant with my son and the symptoms went and stayed away well past the time I was done breastfeeding. Late 2011, I was put on Nuvaring as a birth control (BC) method. Things were going well until about last fall when the old familiar pain started coming back and the development of very painful cysts that sent me back to the doctor. At the end of December, I decided to go off and stay off of BC because I didn’t like how it affected my mood and depression, and given past reactions to other forms BC (i.e. Mirena which almost ended in a mental breakdown and threatening the reluctant doctor in the ER to take it out or I’d find someway to do it myself) it just felt like the right thing to do.
So, it was time to move again and we are now settled in – I went back to the gynecologist on a referral from the ER two months ago in which I’d suffered some pretty intense pain that had me on my knees. Come to find out, I had a cyst rupture and after an ultrasound, the technician and examining physician gave me a possible diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
At my first consultation last week, the gynecologist was shocked and dismayed that I was put on Nuvaring based on its estradiol hormone which actually flares endometriois up! She gave me 2 options – a partial hysterectomy or hormone injections. Being that surgery is not an option for me right now and quite frankly, I’m not sure if I’m ready to part with my uterus just quite yet that left me with the other option, Depo-Provera; but still left me feeling quite uncomfortable. After writing about it on my other blog, one of my readers asked if I had looked into alternative therapies – which I had kind of – tried a few different herbs and supplements, but really never committed to it, so I thought it was unfair to totally discount that approach and really dive into what it entailed.
So far, here is what I’ve found: http://www.naturalnews.com/028673_endometriosis_natural_remedies.html
and this one: http://www.homemademedicine.com/home-remedies-endometriosis.html . I think I’m going to follow the suggested vitamin intake. I’ve also found that people have had success with progesterone cream (like Fertilica) vs taking the injections http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqHPaib2MEk
I also have found that the use of the following herbs seems to be universally accepted: chasteberry/vitex, don quai, milk thistle, wild yam, goldenseal, blue cohosh, dandelion, ashwagandha, and alfalfa. Also, evening primrose oil, though there seems to be some debate over this because “it has estrogenic qualities due to the plant estrogens found in it; while these compete and block estrogen receptors preventing the bodies natural estrogen from uptake; they eventually, after long-term use, cause an increase of estrogen within the body, much of it being stored in tissue.” (http://www.mothering.com/community/t/809195/evening-primrose-oil-wa…)
Also avoid lavender in all forms as it mimics estrogen http://www.hystersisters.com/vb2/showthread.php?t=414331
There is also a diet including detoxing, avoiding gluten (though I’ve never had any issues or reactions to gluten), eating things that support healthy liver function (will be drinking 2 cups of Lemon Detox tea a day) and eliminating red meat and ham from your diet (from hormones in conventionally raised beef I’m assuming)http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blo… and avoiding excess estrogens and xenoestrogens (i.e. BPA found in plastics and parabens found in shampoos and lotions). It all seems so overwhelming and complicated… I’ve found diet supplements with the combined recommended herbs (Woman’s Best Friend – http://www.naturalfertilityshop.com/Women-s-Best-Friend-p/104360.htm and Endo-Ex – http://www.amazon.com/Native-Remedies-Endo-Ex-for-Endometriosis/dp/… but haven’t found too many reviews on them.
I do believe I’m going to try the cream, vitamins, and try to find the herbs. Also, getting back into Yoga as that seemed to help the pain when I was doing it back in NY before I moved down here to GA. I found these videos on YouTube today for women with endometriosis and PCOS http://www.youtube.com/playlist?feature=edit_ok&list=PLKGFcq-fbtmis9urBOdliEQ8cd\ N61Plzk
Also these links:
Currently, I’ve started taking the following supplements split up twice a day:
Vit B6 – 100mg a day
Vit E – 800 IU a day
Co Q-10 – 100 mg at bedtime
Cranberry Extract with Vit C – 4 soft gels a day
Folic Acid – 400 mcg a day
L-Carnitine – 1,000 mg a day
Oscal Ultra as directed for 1,200mg calcium a day
Magnesium – 500mg a day
Selenium – 400 mcg a day
Evening Primrose Oil (still on the fence on this one) – 1000 mg a day
Flaxseed Oil as directed
Milk Thistle – as directed
Saw Palmetto – 360 mg per day
I’ve also started back taking 3 tbsp of diatomaceous earth (DE), drinking 2 servings of Garden of Life’s Perfect Food – Super Green Formula, and drinking 2 cups of Everyday Detox tea. I cut out parabens a long time ago, have decided to stop eating conventionally raised beef (as I already only buy organic dairy products), and sadly must part with my health and beauty products containing lavender. I plan to purchase progesterone cream, add Chasteberry (Vitex) and turmeric. I am also going to look into Don Quai, Blue Cohosh, Ashwagandha and Cat’s Claw, and Royal Bee Jelly.
I’ve been taking these supplements for about 4 days now. Overall, I feel really really good – lots of energy and my mood has greatly improved, quite remarkable actually. The only negative thing I’ve notice is that I’ve been having more frequent headaches – but my neck has also been out for a while (I have a chipped C3 vertebra) and keeps popping and grinding – so that may explain the headaches.
I’m scheduled to go back to the gynecologist next week for a mammogram, ultrasound and to have the injection administered and am kind of nervous about her reaction to me refusing the injection; but in my heart and in my gut, I know I’m taking the right approach.