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The Alternative Therapies That Worked, and The Ones That Didn’t

With endometriosis, it’s more a quest for managing the symptoms, rather than trying to find a fix-all solution. As it turns out, there is no lack of alternative treatments or procedures that can potentially help. And like with everything in life, there’s no black or white. Some treatments seem to work for while, until they don’t. Some treatments help with some symptoms, while others make no difference. This is what I’ve tried, what worked and what didn’t.

Acupuncture

How it helped

I went to see an acupuncturist when my shooting leg pains became unbearable. From the first treatment, it really made a difference. While my leg was being covered in needles, it felt as if someone had opened a tap, and a rush of blood moved through my leg. As long as I returned regularly, my leg pains seemed to vanish.

How it didn’t help

I also used acupuncture to treat my awful periods. I had needles placed all over my abdomen. It was extremely painful, and traumatic. Contrary to what my acupuncturist had assured me, it didn’t get rid of my adhesions or improve my periods. Every time I came to my appointment and reported no changes, she had a reaction similar to my regular doctors: either she didn’t get what I meant, didn’t believe me, or was just so sure that acupuncture would work, that she was completely confused when it didn’t.

As much as it really did help with my shooting leg pains, emotionally, every session felt like a losing battle. It was also expensive, so I gave it up after a while.

Dietary changes

The positives

Before dietary changes, I suffered from very painful bloating. Sometimes it felt like someone was stabbing me in the stomach. Avoiding gluten, dairy, and sugar has meant less bloating, and much less pain.

The not-so positive side

Gluten-free options sometimes cause my stomach to swell as much as foods containing gluten. Gluten-free options generally use several types of flours and chemicals to resemble the real stuff, which means, there could be other ingredients contributing to my discomfort, including added sugars. I now eat sourdough bread which, while not gluten-free, is easier to digest because of how it’s made.1 I also don’t over-do it with the slices.

CBD oil

How it works

CBD is great at reducing stress levels, and keeping my nighttime anxiety at bay. When it comes to its pain relief properties, it helps take the edge of the discomfort.

How it doesn’t work

It doesn’t eliminate severe pain. When my period cramps get truly bad, CBD helps me stay less anxious, but it does very little for the high levels of pain I’m in. In fact, when it gets really bad I reach for my TENS machine, instead of the CBD.

Yoga

The positives

Yoga is a fantastic form of relaxation and can help reduce anxiety. It can also do wonders for lower back pain, and because exercise in general is great for our bodies, it’s hard to find fault with it.

The negatives

Not only do I practice yoga, I am a certified instructor of this discipline, but to me, expecting someone suffering an endometriosis flare-up to do yoga is a big ask. While there are countless benefits to practicing it regularly, and its breathing styles can be very soothing, it will not make a bad flare-up less painful. It will also take a certain amount of energy that someone experiencing pain and heavy-bleeding for days may not have.

It’s worth remembering that no matter how bad it gets, there is always something that can be done.

Some alternative treatments will not take all of our issues away completely, but they may reduce the pain a little, or give our mental health a little break. We must not beat ourselves up when something doesn’t work, and remember that just because it’s not helping today, it doesn’t mean it won’t work tomorrow. Our bodies are constantly changing, and sometimes it’s just a case of it being the wrong remedy for the moment we’re at, and that is OK.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Endometriosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Oksman O. Could sourdough bread be the answer to the gluten sensitivity epidemic? The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/mar/23/sourdough-bread-gluten-intolerance-food-health-celiac-disease. Published March 23, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2019.

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