Get fit, get healthy, get well
Back in November 2007 I was diagnosed with a condition called endometriosis. It’s a condition where cells that should be in your uterus end up in the abdomen and reek havoc there. One in 10 women is thought to have endometriosis and it’s one of the most common causes of infertility and abdominal pain. Very little research has been done, so doctors don’t actually know what causes endo. Right now the only “solution” is frequent operations (I’ve had two since diagnosis) and pumping us full of hormones.
Thankfully there is a wealth of information available on the Web about alternative ways of dealing with the condition. I was determined not to let endo take over my life so I set about trying to find a way to make myself well.
Research suggests that exercise and weight loss can help with the symptoms of endometriosis so I decided it was time to get fit and lose weight. It was my way of taking control of the disease.
In November 2007 I had a BMI of 27 so I got myself signed up to Weight Watchers online and started to track what I ate. I also became a regular at the gym and weekly yoga classes. By April 2008 I was a healthy BMI of 21. Not bad going I thought, and I can’t recommend Weight Watchers enough if you have weight to lose.
However, despite all my good work I was still experiencing acute abdominal pains. One April day when I was off work in pain I turned to a book by nutritionalist Dian Shepperston Mills. Dian specialises in endometriosis–she actually has the condition herself. In her book, Endometriosis: a guide to healing through nutrition, Dian talks about how a large number of girls with endo are also intolerant to wheat. This struck a note with me, because the night before I’d had pizza, only to end up in excruciating pain the following day. The previous time I’d had such bad pains was after eating quiche. I decided I needed to stop eating wheat and to make an appointment to see this woman.
At my appointment Dian pointed out that there is also dairy in quiche and pizza. Suddenly I could see connections that I’d ignored before. I’d always overlooked the fact that ice cream gave me a tummy ache (well, it tastes so good!) … Now I knew I could ignore it no longer!
So following the appointment with Dian I went wheat and dairy free. And in a year and a half I haven’t experienced those excruciating pains that I used to suffer from. It has been easy to give them up because I am so scared of the pain I know eating them will cause.
Incidentally my mum mentioned a few months ago that when I was a baby cow’s milk made me very ill. I wish doctors in those days took intolerances seriously; I might have been spared year’s of pain.
And it seems it might even have spared me from endometriosis. Some research indicates that there is a connection between an ineffective immune system and endometriosis. It’s thought that all women have the condition, but in most the endometrial cells are whisked away from the abdomen by the immune system. If you are intolerant to certain foods your digestive system will not be able to absorb the nutrients that your immune system needs to function, and as a result these rogue cells are left behind.
If it has done one good thing for me, finding out that I have endometriosis has made me fitter, healthier, and now I have a top class immune system. I can’t remember the last time I had a cold (actually I can, it was October 2007).
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Thanks so much Karen for sharing this with us, especially from across the pond. If anyone is interested in writing a guest post for Go Fit Girl! let me know via comments or send me an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.