Endometriosis: Life Hacks for Coping With Chronic Illness in a Big City

Endometriosis, or "endo," is a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus.

Endometriosis: Life Hacks for Coping With Chronic Illness in a Big City

Endometriosis, or "endo," is a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. Dealing with the symptoms of endometriosis can be mentally and physically draining, especially if you're living in a big city. However, learning how to cope with endo can improve your quality of life, manage your symptoms, and help you function in day-to-day life. Here are some of the best life hacks for coping with endo.

Eat Mindfully

A recent study by the National Institute of Health linked diet to processes influencing endo, including inflammation, prostaglandin metabolism, and estrogen activity. According to HealthSoul, an online directory of hospitals, travel insurance, health insurance, and doctors, reducing your consumption of gluten, red meat, processed foods, and caffeine can help improve your overall health and reduce the painful symptoms of endometriosis.

If you're always on the go, eating mindfully might seem unrealistic. But making simple changes to your diet can reduce chronic pelvic pain and positively influence your health. If you're not sure where to start, try increasing your fruit and vegetable intake and saying no from red meat. According to a 2004 study, a high intake of fresh fruit and vegetables can reduce the relative risk of endometriosis by 40 percent, while a high intake of beef, red meat, and ham can increase the relative risk between 80 and 100 percent.

Another study on dietary fat consumption and endometriosis risk found that the type of fat included in your diet can affect your risk of endo. According to the study, diets heavy in trans fats increased individuals' risk of endo by 48 percent, while diets rich in Omega-3 oils lowered the risk by 22 percent. Incorporating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, including salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts, may be able to help you manage the symptoms of endo.

Start Exercising

If you're dealing with chronic pain, it's normal to feel exhausted. If you don't exercise regularly, physical activity can worsen your symptoms or cause more problems. However, over time, regular physical activity can help decrease your overall pain and discomfort.

Physical activity can help with endo by encouraging the circulation of blood to your organs, maintaining nutrient and oxygen flow to your body systems, decreasing estrogen production, reducing stress levels, and releasing endorphins.

According to a 2003 study, women who regularly exercise are less likely to develop endometriosis, and women who engage in frequent high-intensity exercise are around 75 percent less likely to develop the condition. High-intensity physical activity, including running and swimming, may help to reduce your symptoms. But if you're struggling to fit exercise into your schedule, walking in the park, taking a yoga class, or biking to work can also provide relief.

Manage Your Stress

Living with endo can make your stress levels can skyrocket due to the control that painful symptoms can have over all aspects of your life, including family, personal relationships, and work. Because your stress levels can be heightened by endo, and endo can be exacerbated by stress, finding healthy ways to cope with stress is essential.

Although surrounding yourself with social support can be a valuable coping mechanism, sharing your experience with endo with close friends and family can be difficult. According to endometriosis sufferer and writer Shylah Saunders, endometriosis is a complicated issue, and friends and relatives may dismiss your condition as “an exaggeration“ or a “painful period.“

If you're experiencing anxiety, depression, or social isolation due to endo, don't hesitate to reach out for professional help. The professionals at the Therapy Group of DC, a therapy group based in Washington, DC, provide confidential, personalized treatment for every patient. Meeting with an expert specialist can help you discover the necessary resources to face the challenges of endo with tenacity, calm resourcefulness, and love and respect for yourself.

Between big city life and endo, life can be stressful. All in all, eating mindfully, exercising, and managing your stress levels can help improve your overall quality of life and reduce chronic pelvic pain.

Read next: Best Running Shoes for Women
Carlos Fox
See all posts by Carlos Fox