How I Deal with Endo Belly
"Are you pregnant?" A line I dreadfully hear often. In all fairness, 99% of the time, I do look like I am carrying twins. So, I can see that being a legit question. But the sad truth is, no, I am not pregnant. In fact, for those wondering, there is a chance I may never be able to become pregnant. What you are seeing is my endo belly.
"Endo belly" is a term those with endometriosis use often when they are feeling bloated. Actually, 'feeling bloated' is not even the correct term to use to describe it. It feels more like a monster taking over. Pressing on every organ possible, stabbing you over and over again. Yeah, that sounds more like endo belly. And, unfortunately, is an every day occurrence for me. Some days are more tolerable than others, but that monster is always in there.
Our advocates share endo belly photos
I dread going out because I worry of the pain and discomfort, but I have begun to learn to just deal. Having endometriosis, "just deal" is a term I quickly had to add to my vocabulary. Some days, I "just deal". Other days, I want to disappear. Behind my smile are twinges of pain.
How I deal
Although every day is a constant struggle, I have found ways to cope with the bloat and pain. I had to get myself out of the 'I want to disappear' rut I was in.
Here are six things I do whenever my endo belly is out to get me.
1. Drinking a lot of water
Not only is this good for inflammation and bloating, it is good for your whole entire health. I have always loved water, even as a child. So drinking water comes easy to me. I find it soothing when I have cramps too. If you struggle to drink a lot of water, make it fun! I have all sorts of cute cups to drink from. And sometimes, I put fresh fruit in it, to give it some color and flavor.
I know a lot of chronical illness sufferers hate when someone tells them to do yoga. Believe me, I used to be one of them that hated it. That was until I actually tried to give yoga a chance. Of course, I do not do any crazy moves or bends. But in all seriousness, there are a few light stretches and moves that not only help with my bloat feeling but also help with any ounce of pain I feel. I have a few specific moves that I will bring up another time. But, I do suggest looking into light stretches and breathing when you are having an endo belly episode.
3. Light walking and cardio
When I am feeling bloated, my most absolute favorite thing to do is go for a walk. Sometimes, if it is nice out, I go outside for fresh air, or other times, I just walk on my treadmill watching Netflix. Either way, walking is the best medicine for my bloat. I try to switch it up sometimes too. I have a few very low impact cardio DVDs that I really enjoy. Anything too intense causes more pain for me, so it is important for you to find which sort of activity you can handle.
4. Comfy clothes
Stretch pants, yoga pants, baggy shirts, and anything loose. When I am feeling bloated, you can find me in those types of clothes. The tight feeling of clothes on me causes more pain and discomfort. So making sure nothing is tight around my belly helps keep the pain to a minimum. Baggier type shirts also help me hide the fact my belly is so bloated, leaving no room for anyone to ask me if I am pregnant. And if you are wondering, I don't wear jeans. Like ever. I cannot even remember the last time I did wear jeans. It's yoga pants and jeggings for this girl.
This is tricky. Most times, I am in the bloated situation because of my diet- I ate something I was not suppose to. However, these are the things I try to avoid whether I am bloated or not: Gluten, dairy, soy, salt, sugars, fried foods, red meats, and alcohol. Starting an endo diet isn't easy and neither is sticking to it. So mess up days are bound to happen. Just try your best to stay away from the foods and drinks that make your stomach angry.
6. Keeping a diary
How does this help? Well, every time I have a flare up, documenting the day, time, and what it was I did that day or ate right before, helps me better learn what I should probably stay away from.
Every woman is different
Although none of these are cures, I have found them to be very effective most days. It is not every day they help me, though. Some days, endo bloat is so bad, I truly need to just lay down and relax. Only you can judge what will be helpful for your body.
Have you shared your story with us yet on our community stories page?