5 Positives Endometriosis Has Given Me
It's easy to dwell on all the bad that comes with endometriosis: constant cramps, fatigue, painful sex... But if I didn't have a chronic condition, I don't think I would know my body so well or spend so much time taking care of it. While I'd prefer not to have endometriosis, it has resulted in some surprisingly good things.
Here are five positives endometriosis has given me.
Research shows those with endometriosis often report painful sex.1 While surgical removal of scar tissue made penetration possible, sex still isn't always a walk in the park. My comfort level changes throughout the month, so I have to be vocal about my needs. If I'm having an endo flare — like the week before my period — I'm not hesitiant about bringing a clitoral vibrator into the mix, changing positions as much as I need, or taking sex off the table completely until I feel better.
Having sexual agency improves my sex life during my good weeks, and it keeps my partner informed. Thankfully, my husband is an understanding endo ally.
Healthy dietary habits
I gave up animal products a long time ago, but recent research shows eating red meat can be a risk factor for endometriosis.2 And since endometriosis is an inflammatory condition, limiting processed sugars and refined carbohydrates helps manage my pain.3 Instead, I eat an anti-inflammatory plant-based diet focused on food that comes from the ground and not out of a package.
A reason to wear comfortable clothes
My endo belly pops up at predictable times like after I eat, when I'm ovulating, or before my period. Other times it seems to come out of nowhere. Since I can’t always pinpoint what will lead to bloating, I rid my closet of anything that’s tight or uncomfortable. (Something everyone should probably do.)
Everything feels worse when I'm stressed out. If I'm constantly worried or upset, my cramps feel worse, I get a headache, and I start getting depressed. It's not surprising, since chronic stress leads to inflammation in the body.4 So when I feel myself going down a rabbit hole of rumination, I take a deeper look at what’s going on. If I need to, I'll take a 20-minute meditation break or go for a walk.
An interest in exercising
I've always been active. Maybe it's because going for a run or hitting the gym has always made me feel better. Studies show I’m not the only one benefitting from getting sweaty. Exercise decreases inflammation5, and strength-training can help reduce symptoms of depression6.
Having endometriosis will never be fun. But if you focus on some of the positives, you might be able to look at it in a different light.
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