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Shiloh’s Endometriosis Story

“Every since I got my period it was very heavy and I got terrible cramps. My doctors would just shove any form of birth control my way to stop the bleeding. Nothing ever worked. I was always so sad and moody, terrible pms, hormonal acne, and I still got my period as heavy and painful. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and sent to a rehab facility for suicide watch. They put me on even more medication which made me feel worse.

I decided to get the implanon (arm implant) and that made me feel a little better. I stopped getting acne and stopped having major depressive episodes. But then a year into it, I started getting heavy painful periods for a week every fortnight. My boyfriend thought that it was my birth control acting up so I ignored it and didn’t go to the doctor. Finally after enduring this for 5 months I get an ultrasound and they diagnose me with Adenomyosis.

My GP tells me everything is fine, puts me on a mini pill and says I don’t need to see an obgyn. A couple months go by and after doing extensive research I wanted more answers, like why would a healthy, active 20 year old have a condition most women get after childbirth or later on in life. I’ve been told it’s an autoimmune disease, I’ve been told it’s the precursor to endometriosis.

After going to doctor #2 I finally got sent to an obgyn who tried to put in the Mirena but it was too painful. And thanks to my student health care, I couldn’t afford to be put under anaesthetic. She decided to wait until my insurance will cover me and we’re going to do an exploratory Laparoscopy to see how advanced my condition is. They couldn’t tell me if I can have kids.

As a 20 year old with a serious boyfriend who I’ve been living with for over a year. It really put a halt in our relationship. He didn’t want to be with me if I couldn’t have kids, and I wasn’t able to tell him because I didn’t know myself. I wasn’t getting any support from him, and my family lives in America. They get so upset hearing about my suffering so I don’t tell them.

Listening to other women’s stories and how they are able to be strong every day has helped me through this period of uncertainty.”

— Shiloh, Melbourne.

 

Cassie’s PCOS, Adenomyosis & Endometriosis Story

Hi I’m Cassie,

I was only diagnosed with Endometrioses and Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome and may have Adenomyosis but won’t find out till I see a new gyno. last year I have two surgeries last year one in January for my cysts and also appendix removal but another one for my endo in July which didn’t overly help even with the nerve ablation.

I have had severe periods pretty much since I got it when I was twelve very heavy bleeding excruciating cramps and not exaggerating that either also large clots. I haven’t been able to work in a few years due to my health, with the endo and pcos I also have chronic fatigue I’m also in pain every day and I can’t get out of bed without pain killers I can’t work and have given up all my hobbies because of the pain and fatigue alongside mental health and my bursitis in my shoulder. I get constant cramping hip and pelvic pain, body aches, IBS l, back pain, headaches, leg pain ,dizziness/lightheadedness nearly all the time and also vomiting from the pain and how the chronic fatigue makes me feel. I rarely go out I’m very isolated and only seem to go out if absolutely necessary like groceries or appointments. My Gp has been quite nice about it has referred me to a new gyno and pain specialist but unfortunately they have both put me on category 3 even though my Gp stated I needed to be seen ASAP but they don’t care.

Alongside my physical health problems I have mental health issues as well and this constant pain and fatigue does not help it either, I’m not good around people and I’m very depressed all the time and quite stressed and can never relax because of all my health problems I haven’t been great on birth control as the women in our family it doesn’t seem to react well to, I haven’t been able to have kids and have had a few miscarriages can never seem to hold a pregnancy for anymore more than 4 weeks.
Despite all these problems the days I can get out of bed even though it takes me longer and have to have constant breaks I clean, I cook I make sure bills are paid and shopping is done I look after my animals also my dog and my bird. It’s been a really really rough several months first I lost my grandfather then my mother in March this year after watching her in severe pain and deteriorating bad and just watched her die and the hardest thing was not being able to help her or make it better she was 49, then her brother died Thursday just gone our family haven’t seemed to be able to catch a break. But I soldier on as best I can there are days where I want to lay down and give up on everything and just be done with it all if you know what I mean but I keep going I’m there for everyone as much as I can be, I’m kind and strong some days I think I am not but then I look back at everything I do, do daily and I’m a warrior as every other woman with this debilitating disease.

Rebecca Dimovski’s Endometriosis Story

Story by Rebecca Dimovski. Go and check out her instagram @Smekka and give her a follow and like. Also post features her AMAZING photography taken from her Project Endo check it out and support it.

“I remember the time I became a woman clear as day. It was Badnji Dan ( Orthodox Christmas Eve) 2003, I walked into my grandparents house after church and noticed a change. I thought, ‘This is womanhood! I can have children when I’m older! Wait….. Oh no i’m wearing a white skirt!!!’ All these emotions were so overwhelming as a eleven year old. I had it pretty easy back then. All I was really hiding was my period from all my classmates and trying to get out of swimming without making it so awkward.”

Things were about to change three years later. It was the first time I noticed something different with my body. I was in math class and had a substitute teacher looking after us when my body started to cramp up. I felt clammy, my palms were sweaty, I needed to dash to the bathroom. Said teacher didn’t let me leave though. He thought I was trying to get out of math class. Mind you, I was in Year 10, still yet to receive a detention in my life. 15 minutes passed and i started getting light headed and felt like I was going to puke. I knew the only way to do something was to humiliate myself. What teenage girl would want to openly let a grown male know she was on her period and felt really sick!? And that’s what I exactly did. I told Mr.Kumar that i bled through my clothes and to let me go to sick bay. I had a friend accompany me and stayed in the fetal position until i had one of my parents pick me up.
It only got worse from there.

It ended up becoming the norm you know, EVERY woman has period pains, maybe my pain threshold was weak. So I spoke to my family GP. She instantly wanted to put me on the pill. I was totally against it. With me rejecting that, she tried putting me onto natural remedies like sleep easing tablets and magnesium. I knew that alone would’t benefit me greatly.

Fast forward to around 2011-12, I am a barista working early hours. I used to like partying, I would stay up for hours and get home, work, eat, party, repeat. I loved having so many friends and a great social life! I can vividly recall my bosses at the time saying of all weekends they needed their girls at the store as they were attending an event. I ruined their plans. Both days. I was too embarrassed to tell them I had excruciating period pain so I made my mum call them. I was in hospital twice that weekend, having a reaction to medication the nurses gave me to stop excessive bleeding. It was hell. I also remember one of the nurses saying “we tested and you don’t have endometriosis” now…. what did that mean?! What was that word???? Do you think I remembered it when I got home? You bet I didn’t.

2013-2016 were years of slow-growing fatigue even when I wasn’t on my period and I started napping a whole lot more. Even more embarrassing stories came about. The fainted spells started. My body couldn’t handle the pain of dysmenorrhoea. I would push myself to go shower or get ready for work/day out with friends. It was rough. My brother found me the first time collapsed in the shower. My parents another time. That was so scary. This is where I became frightened of even menstruating, I lost all control of my body and didn’t know when and where it would happen.

These are the years I truly became passionate about focusing on Photography. So Barista and Photographer. Those are two hands on shifts usually involving long days. There were mornings I would brave the pain and go to work, only to last just over an hour or so and then I’d slowly find the courage to walk over to my car and get myself home to pass out for hours until I could even stand again.

These last two years were really where the ball started rolling. I often got asked by my mum about why I was always feeling and getting sick. I never had an answer. It felt like every 2-3 weeks there was something new that was wrong with me. Tummy bugs, low immunity, you name it. It really started to bug me the amount of times mum would say “Why are you always sick????” and I started getting frustrated. It wasn’t for something completely unrelated that I met my now GP who always had my back and wanted to get to the bottom of my ongoing health issues. We started playing and trying different pills, looked for deficiencies and while I was on the low end of normal for a lot of things. Nothing was alarming. Ultrasounds both external and internal showed nothing, other than tremendous pain after examination on my left side. Things were half kind of falling into place. So my GP did another round of blood tests. He found something to go by. He said my bloods showed that I had an infection/and a lot of inflammation in my body. The bad news was that he didn’t know where it was stemming from, though he was adamant it was gynecological. I was unaware of any Gynos as I never had to go to one, so I started asking. I was lucky enough for a friend to direct me to i’m lucky to call my gyno now because he is so in tune with how to treat women.



Mum had come along with me to my first consultation and he was asking me all types of questions, the ones I had answered countless amounts of times to doctors and nurses while trying to get someone to listen. He is the only one jotting things down, asking me to go in depth and really grasping everything I was saying. He explained what Endometriosis was and that I had a good case for it but the only proper way to diagnose it was through a laparoscopy. It was a lot to come to terms with, I’d never had surgery or been cut open before, why if they did’t find anything? What if it made my condition worse? All these questions needed to be filtered before I could give him an answer. This was November last year. I had my lap done Mid January and it was my Gyno operating on me. The one I trusted with recognising my symptoms was putting me under the knife. I was safe.

January 18th rolled around and I was in the waiting bay getting a cannula inserted. I was nervous. The anesthetist got too excited with my vein that she made me bleed all over the bed and floor. Funnily enough she was more worried than I was, blood red was my favourite colour and it weirdly put me to ease! Here walks in my gyno to talk me through what he’ll be doing while I would be under, i felt so reassured. I remember waking up to my gynecologist asking how I was feeling. I was nauseous, I wanted my mum, I wanted my boyfriend. I was zoning in and out. I heard “Endometriosis” You have no idea how liberating that moment was, in my high, and exhausted state. I finally knew what was wrong all this time! Thank you Lord!

This is where this project finally started to kick off, one of my best friends (you will see her story directly below) was diagnosed little under a year before me. It took us 11 years to get a diagnosis. 11 years of silent suffering. And you know what? That is the norm apparently. It takes 7-10 years for a woman to get a full diagnosis! Crazy!

I know there are so many brave women out there that maybe if I share my story that it may encourage others to join me. We can’t keep this silent any longer. We all have voices, We’re all warriors and we are all capable of creating a difference, for our future. ”

— Rebecca Dimovski, South Morang.

Endometriosis is more severe for obese women, study finds

Research finds average severity score for obese women is two times higher than for healthy weight women.

Obese women are more likely to have severe endometriosis, a misunderstood condition that affects one in 10 women, an Australian study has found.

The study of 500 women with surgically confirmed endometriosis found women with a healthy body mass index were more likely to have endometriosis, but obese women were more likely to have severe forms of the condition which causes chronic pain and inflammation.

The average disease severity score of obese women was two times higher than that of healthy weight women, according to the findings published in the Journal of Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Disorders.

The lead researcher, Dr Sarah Holdsworth-Carson, from the Royal Women’s hospital and the University of Melbourne, said the research corrected the idea that only “skinny” women get endometriosis.

“There’s been a social dogma that’s arisen that has basically started to describe endometriosis as a disease of skinny women,” she said.

That was not the case and endometriosis should not be excluded among overweight or obese women presenting with symptoms.

The findings also add to evidence the condition is linked to a woman’s metabolism.

Original article in the Guardian, found here

Tania’s Endometriosis Story

Story from Rebecca Dimovski’s website, used with her permission. Go and check out her Instagram @Smekka and give her a follow and like. Also post features her AMAZING photography taken from her Project Endo check it out and support it.

“Its common knowledge that with your menstrual cycle comes menstrual cramps. They go hand in hand… right?

I remember clearly in Year 8 my cycle had begun. The first 2 or so years it was smooth sailing. I questioned what other girls and woman or on about when they spoke about pain. Then from the age of 16 it hit and I learnt about this excruciating pain that goes along with “Aunt Flo”

I tried everything, being natural remedies or just your usual panadol and nurofen to take the edge off. Im not a fan of medication so even though friends that suffered similar pain would recommend them i am always reluctant.

I knew what was coming every month and around the same time and same duration. It was always severe and always debilitating for at least the first 3 days. Yr 12 trying to write and essay on Frankenstein i will not forget that pain that hit me out of no where and gave me sweats, nausea and just wanting to scream in a quite testing room. Obviously you don’t want to make a scene and people always thought you were over reacting or trying to get of something. They always offered that damn hot water bottle. They claimed it was the ultimate cure. NO! i was already so hot! Clutching that damn thing and almost in a fetal position i wrote the never ending essay on Frankstein. Happy to be done I went to sick bay and my mum found me there tucked underneath the seat as i couldn’t even bear to sit up or lye down. I got a C on that essay, gee just imagine if i
was well!

There are stories that it all goes away once you have a baby. This too was a lie. Maybe it did for some, but definitely not for me. I have heard of endometriosis. As of recently a lot more light is being put on it and it maybe something to consider getting tested for. Like i said many girls suffer thinking it is just the way it is. This is not the case.

Thank you to Rebecca for being so strong and educating myself and others on this disease.”

— Tania M, Epping

Chronic fatigue an under-recognised symptom of debilitating endometriosis, study finds

Treating symptoms alongside disease could improve quality of life for millions of women.

Fatigue is an under recognised symptom of endometriosis which could help identify the condition and improve the quality of life for millions of women, a study has said.

Women diagnosed with endometriosis were twice as likely to also have chronic fatigue, researchers found, even when tiredness caused by other symptoms like pain or depression was accounted for.

“These findings suggest that endometriosis has an effect on fatigue that is independent of other factors and that cannot be attributed to symptoms of the disease,” said Professor Brigitte Leeners, of University Hospital Zurich, who led the research.

It also means treating fatigue in medical care for the disease could significantly improve the wellbeing of women with the condition and should be a routine part of their medical care.

Endometriosis is a gynaecological disease which affects between 6 and 10 per cent of women and means cells which usually grow inside the womb develop elsewhere in the pelvic region.

It can cause agonising pain and infertility if these cells, which build up and break down in line with hormones released throughout the menstrual cycle, develop in structures like the fallopian tubes.

 

However, because of the wide variety of symptoms and the various places cells can develop it can be difficult to diagnose. In some cases it requires keyhole surgery to remove the endometrial cells.

For the research published in the journal Human Reproduction Professor Leeners’ team recruited 1,120 women, including 560 diagnosed with endometriosis, from hospitals in Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

It found 50.7 per cent of women with endometriosis suffered with chronic fatigue, compared to 22.4 per cent of those without.

Fatigue also made a host of other conditions more likely, including a seven-fold increase in chances of insomnia and a four-fold increase in depression.

However, fatigue was common even without these symptoms and Professor Leeners said this is likely to be down to the repeated inflammation caused by endometrial lesions activating the immune system. Chronic fatigue, sometimes referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis, was long thought to be a mental health condition but recent studies have linked it to cell signalling molecules called cytokines which are part of this immune response.

“We believe that in order to improve the quality of life for women with this condition, investigating and addressing fatigue should become a routine part of medical care,” Professor Leeners added.

“Doctors should investigate and address this problem when they are discussing with their patients the best ways to manage and treat the disease.”

Original article from the Independent found here.

 

Period Pants Review

Hi all, hope this gorgeos weather is filling you up with heat and love and light, to help you shine brighter in the days to come.

I have been fortunate to be sent some period pants from the wonderful company ModiBodi. Have you heard of them before? I am sure you have seen the ads floating around in facebook and instagram about ‘period proof pants’ and I also be you thought ‘ no way! thats not possible’ I did too! Or thought ‘but they would never hold my heavy flow’ yep I thought that too! So I gave them ago, and here is what I found. (haha I feel like a period pants investigative journalist writing this blog post!)

MODIBODI IS MODERN, PROTECTIVE, LEAK-PROOF APPAREL,UNDERWEAR & SWIMWEAR, FOR PERIODS & INCONTINENCE THAT WORK! NOW IN THE UK

Voted the #1 Period Underwear & Incontinence Underwear Brand, we’re now in the UK. We are here to give all bodies more confidence and comfort, as well as a more sustainable solution to disposable hygiene.

From periods & discharge, light bladder leakage and weak pelvic floors to perspiration and pong, and pesky breastmilk leaks, we’ve got your back!

It’s time to ditch your tampons, liners, and pads and join the Modibodi Movement. Our sustainable, luxuriously comfy underwear & water repellent swimwear protects you from all of life’s unmentionables.

 

First things first. Here is what the period pants had to deal with…

  • I am a yoga teacher, sometimes teaching 4 classes a day, so lots and lots of movement
  • I drive around 200+ miles a week to clients and events, so lots of sitting in the car (this is often one of my most prone ‘leak’ times)
  • I have Endometriosis and Adenomyosis, which often can mean mid period I have 2 days of uncontrollable beading and clotting (TMI?) , which often results in my having to sit in the bath for hours until it has calmed down.

 

These are the two pants I tested…

  1. Classic Bikini size 16- black- light to moderate absorbency
  2. Classic Bikini size 16-black- heavy to overnight absorbency

The pants feel lush! Silky smooth, super comfortable and no cutting into your leg stuff going on here at all! I went straight into wearing the heavy-overnight pair as it was my heaviest day and also a big unsure if they would work. I was also on a date that day, going for a walk on the beach etc, and I wanted to doubly make sure I didnt leak. And the verdict is that they were perfect! I had to keep checking them a million times ‘just to make sure’. But they held me for 4 hours on my heaviest day, no leaks, no blood smells, no weird russelling sound coming from my knickers!  Winner winner!

The next day I then wore the lighter pair and I was teaching three yoga classes in the evening, and again they held up perfectly. No in the past its been like playing a game of marble run in my knickers while teaching yoga on a heavy day. I would line my knickers with three over night sanitary liners, two in the middle and one along the back. And then when a certain move meant that I flowed a little heavier, I would fine myself having to change the flow of the class, as I knew that if I sat down next that I would leak onto my yoga mat. Ow the joys! But with these period pants, I could take this worry out of my mind and just focus on the class.

Washing

I rinsed them under cold water then popped them in a cold wash and hung them out to dry and they were ready to go again. No stains, no smells, no worries, no extra money to be spent, no rushing to the shops to buy more pads.

I think the main hurdle in these, is the teaching yourself to let go and constantly checking if you have leaked or not. Its like we are so programmed to hide our periods from everyone, that we must be hyper vigulent when we are ‘on’ to make sure that no one can tell! But these Modi Bodi pants allow you to relax when you are ‘on’ and get on with topping up your self care tank, easing your cramps and enjoying life. And if you are an endo sister like me, then these pants will help you to have one less thing to think about, so on those really high pain and inflation days, you can just focus on being you and easing your symptoms without the worry of bleeding out in the car or on the super market floor!

 

Period Pants – Have Legit Changed My Life For The Better

I am so pleased to announce that I am collaborating with Modi Bodi and reviewing their period pants and swimwear to let you guys know how the hold up and my experience of them. Here is me unboxing them and talking about being a yoga teacher with Endometriosis and Adenomyosis and what happens when during a yoga class and your heavy flow takes over! Full review in the form of a blog post coming soon!

Dont forget to hit subscribe and like 🙂 #periodpower

 

 

 

Review

Hi all, hope this gorgeos weather is filling you up with heat and love and light, to help you shine brighter in the days to come.

I have been fortunate to be sent some period pants from the wonderful company ModiBodi. Have you heard of them before? I am sure you have seen the ads floating around in facebook and instagram about ‘period proof pants’ and I also be you thought ‘ no way! thats not possible’ I did too! Or thought ‘but they would never hold my heavy flow’ yep I thought that too! So I gave them ago, and here is what I found. (haha I feel like a period pants investigative journalist writing this blog post!)

MODIBODI IS MODERN, PROTECTIVE, LEAK-PROOF APPAREL,UNDERWEAR & SWIMWEAR, FOR PERIODS & INCONTINENCE THAT WORK! NOW IN THE UK

Voted the #1 Period Underwear & Incontinence Underwear Brand, we’re now in the UK. We are here to give all bodies more confidence and comfort, as well as a more sustainable solution to disposable hygiene.

From periods & discharge, light bladder leakage and weak pelvic floors to perspiration and pong, and pesky breastmilk leaks, we’ve got your back!

It’s time to ditch your tampons, liners, and pads and join the Modibodi Movement. Our sustainable, luxuriously comfy underwear & water repellent swimwear protects you from all of life’s unmentionables.

First things first. Here is what the period pants had to deal with…

  • I am a yoga teacher, sometimes teaching 4 classes a day, so lots and lots of movement
  • I drive around 200+ miles a week to clients and events, so lots of sitting in the car (this is often one of my most prone ‘leak’ times)
  • I have Endometriosis and Adenomyosis, which often can mean mid period I have 2 days of uncontrollable beading and clotting (TMI?) , which often results in my having to sit in the bath for hours until it has calmed down.

These are the two pants I tested…

  1. Classic Bikini size 16- black- light to moderate absorbency
  2. Classic Bikini size 16-black- heavy to overnight absorbency

The pants feel lush! Silky smooth, super comfortable and no cutting into your leg stuff going on here at all! I went straight into wearing the heavy-overnight pair as it was my heaviest day and also a big unsure if they would work. I was also on a date that day, going for a walk on the beach etc, and I wanted to doubly make sure I didnt leak. And the verdict is that they were perfect! I had to keep checking them a million times ‘just to make sure’. But they held me for 4 hours on my heaviest day, no leaks, no blood smells, no weird russelling sound coming from my knickers!  Winner winner!

The next day I then wore the lighter pair and I was teaching three yoga classes in the evening, and again they held up perfectly. No in the past its been like playing a game of marble run in my knickers while teaching yoga on a heavy day. I would line my knickers with three over night sanitary liners, two in the middle and one along the back. And then when a certain move meant that I flowed a little heavier, I would fine myself having to change the flow of the class, as I knew that if I sat down next that I would leak onto my yoga mat. Ow the joys! But with these period pants, I could take this worry out of my mind and just focus on the class.

Washing

I rinsed them under cold water then popped them in a cold wash and hung them out to dry and they were ready to go again. No stains, no smells, no worries, no extra money to be spent, no rushing to the shops to buy more pads.

I think the main hurdle in these, is the teaching yourself to let go and constantly checking if you have leaked or not. Its like we are so programmed to hide our periods from everyone, that we must be hyper vigulent when we are ‘on’ to make sure that no one can tell! But these Modi Bodi pants allow you to relax when you are ‘on’ and get on with topping up your self care tank, easing your cramps and enjoying life. And if you are an endo sister like me, then these pants will help you to have one less thing to think about, so on those really high pain and inflation days, you can just focus on being you and easing your symptoms without the worry of bleeding out in the car or on the super market floor!

Vegan & GF Banana Bread Recipe

This is my go to favorite dish for Vegan and GF comfort food, and for when I am trying to get more fiber into my diet. When I first when Vegan and GF I really struggled to master the changes in my baking, but this was the first recipe that I mastered and its super easy and quick to do, plus no crazy ingredients you can pronounce let alone find in the supermarket.

How to eat your Vegan & GF Banana Bread

  • Fresh from the oven
  • Toasted with vegan margarine
  • With coconut yogurt and blue berries

vegan banana bread recipe
PIN ME FOR LATER

 

Ingredients for your Vegan & GF Banana Bread

  • 170g gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 75g Vegan Margarine
  • 4 ripe/over ripe banana (medium to large in size)
  • 200g Non refined sugar (any brown sugar works well)
  • 1 tsp Chia seeds mixed with 4 tbls of water and left to soak for 10 mins (= egg replacement)

vegan banan bread

 

CLICK HERE FOR ALL INGREDIENTS & UTENSILS USED ON AMAZON 

 

How to bake your Vegan & GF Banana Bread to perfection!

  1. Preheat oven to 180c/160c fan/Gas 4
  2. Grease a 23 x 13 x 6 cm bread tin
  3. Mash the bananas and poor into your mixing bowl or food mixer
  4. Mix in the margarine, sugar, chia seeds
  5. Add in bicarbonate of soda, salt and flour
  6. Pour into tin
  7. Bake for 1 hour

 

Subscribe to  FLOW. GROW. GLOW. for recipe card download

 

 

Having PMS that makes you feel suicidal or makes you want to run away every month is not ‘just PMS’

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe and disabling form of premenstrual syndrome affecting 3–8% of menstruating women (that’s A LOT of women!).

Severe psychological symptoms can include mood swings, depression, tiredness, fatigue or lethargy, anxiety, feeling out of control, irritability, aggression, anger, sleep disorder, and food cravings that recur monthly during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Some women also suffer from chronic physical conditions. Research released in January 2017 shows that PMDD is caused by a genetic malfunction. This causes a sensitivity to the fluctuation of sex hormones. It is NOT a hormonal imbalance.


 

I thought I was weak for feeling suicidal every month

 

It’s PMS on steroids…

For a long time, I thought it was ‘normal’ to suffer from severe PMS. I thought I was weak for feeling suicidal every month. I would just go to bed for a few days as I could only face sleeping. I’d been to the GP time and time again over the years to get help with panic disorder and depression. Not once did anyone ever suggest that hormones could be the problem. I also had bad reactions to different contraceptive pills over the years.

I remember in my 20’s when I was living with a partner. He told me that it was ‘like living with a different person for one week a month’. I would get chronically depressed and I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed for a few days each month. In the build-up to that, I would have panic attacks and big rages. There was a big knock-on effect. It made it difficult to hold down a job, so I always worked part-time or took on temp work.

PIN ME FOR LATER

In my 30’s this got worse and I had the Mirena coil fitted to help my cycle. This, it turns out, is a big no-no for women with PMDD. Many of us have a bad reaction to Progesterone. In my case, I ended up signed off work for 18 months with crippling anxiety and depression.

I did some research and realised it may be down to the coil. Doctor’s, however, told me this was not possible. They advised that the coil only acts locally and no hormones travel into your system. In my case, this turned out to be total rubbish. The day after I had it removed was the first day in years that I woke up without that buzzing anxiety feeling in my arms.


The ‘lightbulb’ moment

It was only when I got home from another GP appointment I thought to myself ‘this can’t be right’. I acted and Googled ‘Severe PMS’ – up popped information about PMDD. When I identified with the symptoms it was a life-changing moment. I joined a support group on Facebook (UK PMDD Support) and I finally started to piece together everything that had happened over the past 18 years.

 

Speaking to other sufferers

Joining the support group was invaluable to me. There were SO many women out there who had been through (and are still going through) the same as me. It was a revelation. I learnt about treatment plans and specialists from these supportive women. They also gave reassurance that I wasn’t ‘broken’ or ‘useless’.

The crunch point came when I got so low that I almost walked out in front of a lorry when I was with my boyfriend

 

Although I had finally found support, unfortunately, my health kept getting worse. I was losing about three days on the descent into PMDD. It knocked me out for a week and then I needed a good few days to recover. The crunch point came when I got so low that I almost walked out in front of a lorry when I was with my boyfriend.


I can only liken it to feeling like I was going through a bereavement every month. It was exhausting. That incident scared me enough to go to my Doctor and tell them (not ask!) that I needed a referral to a specialist. My Doctor approved and I now see the amazing Dr Panay in London. I’m going through chemical menopause whilst on HRT. Fingers crossed that it all goes well and I will be having a full hysterectomy in the future. It’s important to point out that the operation is only the case in the most chronic cases. It’s for women who do not respond to the other treatments in the treatment plan.

 

Helping others…

I now run the UK PMDD Support group and we have over 900 members. It still shocks me that no medical professional picked up on my reactions to hormones/my cycle earlier on. I still have only met one GP who has even heard of PMDD.



Alongside the support group, I wanted to raise awareness of PMDD. I worked with my lovely friend, Celia Hyland (also a sufferer) to create the “Vicious Cycle: Making PMDD Visible” project. We’re asking sufferers, along with their partners, friends and family to put their thoughts, words and art onto postcards and send them in. It will accumulate into an exhibition which will highlight the effect of PMDD on women’s lives. The exhibition is at the core of the project. There will also be lots of awareness projects running alongside it.

 

If you have any concerns please do read up on PMDD, talk to your GP and look after yourself.

This blog was written for TOTM by Laura Murphy, PMDD Awareness Promoter. Follow Laura on Twitter to keep up with her story. To find out more about Vicious Cycle: Making PMDD visible project, check out the Twitter page. Further reading about PMS and PMDD can be found either via the National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome website or via Gia Allemand Foundation. Be sure to check out our Q&A with Laura

laura-murphy-my-bloody-pmdd

*Disclaimer: This blog is based on my personal experience. My comments are based on what I’ve personally gone through and what I have been told. I’m sharing this personal story with the aim to help others in the same situation and to raise awareness. I have no medical experience or qualifications and I don’t pretend to be giving medical advice. If you are concerned about any of your period symptoms you should contact your GP for advice.

For more information on PMDD and other menstrual and reproductive health conditions, visit TOTM health and wellness section.

Self Care in Dorset with Dorset Hideaways

You will be seeing a lot more in the press and on social media and maybe even your friends, family and health professions talking about Self Care. I was visiting my Doctors the other day and they were talking about how to bring more self care into my life and even advised me to drink Chamomile tea, explore essential oils and take a mini brake! What a great Doctor!


So I have stocked up my cupboard with Chamomile tea (known to be great for its anti inflammatory properties), dusted off my essential oils, ran and bath and searched the internet for a mini brake.

I live in beautiful Dorset and feel very luck to do so. At first I was searching for my mini brake in places like Barcelona and Croatia (I have glamorous travel plans). And then a company called Dorset Hideaways popped up in my search and I have decided to explore my home county on my mini brake. And I released that there are great benefits to this…

1) Less travelling (which is better for my Fibromyalgia and Endometriosis)

2)The luxury cottages are all embedded in beautiful nature which means I can re connect and slow down

3) I am supporting a fellow local business which feels great

4) The cottages I have my eye on all have beautiful outside space, so I can start my day with yoga outside in the fresh air, which makes me a very happy lady

5) I can search on Dorset Hideaways for all things I have on my self care tick list such as ‘hot tub’ and ‘open fire’ which are two very key ingredients to my self care mini break!

Dorset Hideaways
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So I am a very happy bunny, thank you Dr and thank you Dorset Hideaways


About Dorset Hideaways Luxury Cottages

Dorset Hideaways is a Holiday Cottage Agency showcasing a range of properties from cosy cottages crammed full of Dorset charm to luxury retreats oozing with coastal chic.

Our aim is to make it easy for everyone to find their perfect hideaway in Dorset. Be that a cosy cottage for two, a dog friendly house, luxury barefoot retreats or a family friendly property close to the beach. Our team have expert knowledge of all the cottages and the beautiful area they are located in.

Let the team take all the stress out of finding the right cottage, just give them a call on 01929 448738 (or click on the Live Chat box) and let them know what you are looking for and they will do the rest.

We are proud to offer a selection of cottages that are cared for by a dedicated team who are here to help both before and during your stay.

A lot of our Dorset holiday cottages are dog-friendly, suitable for young children, or perfectly located for walking, birdwatching, cycling or sailing. We also offer many short-let opportunities in holiday accommodation suitable for different sized groups: cute cottages for a romantic weekend, or larger properties for a group or family gathering, wedding or special occasion.

Our aim is to find everyone their perfect self-catering holiday cottage in Dorset for an idyllic coastal holiday.


 

Map of Dorset

PERIOD + FLU: TIPS TO HELP YOU FEEL BETTER

Forget that ‘time of the month’ it’s that ‘time of the year’ when flu viruses and colds sweep across workplaces, friendship groups and generally the UK population!

Nobody likes feeling rundown or ‘full of cold’ but it can be difficult to avoid. Unless you have a super strong immune system that can battle bugs like it’s nobody’s business. Studies show that during ovulation our immune systems are weakened due to heightened levels of oestrogen.  So, there’s a chance you could get your period AND a bout of that dreaded Winter cold/flu.



 

Stay strong my friend

Before I divulge some tips to help you feel better if you do get your period and a Winter cold at the same time, it’s important to consider prevention tactics. If you’re ovulating or are due to ovulate then take care of your body. Top up on nutrients and avoid burning the candle at both ends. Consider tracking your period, so you can understand your menstrual cycle and plan accordingly. I love this tip from one of our #TalkingPeriods bloggers Taslyn Martina. She explains how a week before her period she prepares “wholesome meals like soup or something warm like a stew.” This is useful advice to ensure you get your nutrient fix before and during your period. It will keep your immune system strong!



When the plan fails…

If your planning and prepping just isn’t enough and you do get a cold before/during your period (life sucks, it happens), then try these 3 tips to feel better:

 

Eucalyptus bath:

This will become one of your favourite tips! If you’re suffering aches and cramps plus a blocked nose from your cold, run a bath and add an essential oil with eucalyptus. The steam from the hot bath will infuse the air around you with the eucalyptus. It can unblock sinuses to help ease nasal congestion. The hot bath water will also soothe the period cramps so it’s a win, win situation! If you’re not so keen on eucalyptus, then also try a camomile essential bath oil. A study has showed that inhaling steam from camomile essential oil can ease cold symptoms.

 

PERIOD + FLU: TIPS TO HELP YOU FEEL BETTER

 

Take your herbal tea up a level:

Herbal teas are great when on your period. Peppermint tea is a well-loved natural remedy to soothe period cramps. If you have a cold AND you’re on your period then take your love of herbal tea up a notch. Combine blends to get more from your brew! Try ginger and peppermint for example. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory which is can soothe sore throats, whereas peppermint can ease menstrual cramps. Combined they can ease both cold symptoms and period discomfort.

Look for natural tea blends and you’ll never look back! Also, top tip that I swear by, careful rest the hot mug by your tummy. Another way to apply heat to your menstrual cramps.



 

Get an early night:

When you’re run down, rest is so important. If you can take time out to rest and stay in bed all day then that’s a fantastic way to look after your body. But at the very least, go to bed earlier. Rest can not only help you battle a cold/flu but it’s also crucial when on your period. You need rest to support your immune system! So, grab 2 hot water bottles (one for your lower back and one for your tummy as we learnt from blogger Shay), and climb into bed an hour or so before your usual bedtime.



Original article by TOTM. Found here (click me).

 

Top 5 Nutritioinal Tips For Endometriosis Management

  1. Avoid refined sugar as much as possible. This includes foods such as biscuits, cakes, chocolate, sweets and sugary drinks. Sugars are hidden in unlikely products such as breakfast cereals and bars, yogurts, juices and sauces so be sure to check the nutritional information on labels. If sugars are showing as high then its best to avoid that food or keep it a minimum. I have a massive sweet tooth so to satisfy this I bake my own reduced sugar treats and always keep a bar of dark chocolate stashed in my fridge which naturally contains less sugar than regular milk or white chocolate.
  2. Keep processed foods to a minimum. This includes foods like microwave meals, pizzas and convenience take away fast foods. These foods often contain a lot of ingredients that can irritate Endometriosis, therefore leading to potential bloating, nausea and pain. So I don’t feel like I’m missing out I like to bake my own pizzas at home from scratch, creating a gluten free base and fresh toppings of my choice like lean meat and vegetables.
  3. Include oily fish in your diet on a regular basis. Fish like salmon or mackerel are great choices. If you’re not a fish eater it can be taken via supplementation in the form of liquid or capsules. The fatty acids found in oily fish are said to help reduce inflammation in our systems, subsequently helping to reduce pain which is associated with this condition. I tend to consume 3 portions of oily fish on a weekly basis.
  4. Ensure to include foods which are high in iron in your diet on a regular basis. This will help to replace iron that may be lost through prolonged heavy periods which are a common symptom of Endometriosis. Dark green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, spinach, broccoli and kale are iron rich foods. Try to include at least two servings of these in your diet on a daily basis.
  5. Alcohol consumption is thought to irritate Endometriosis and add to the symptoms and side effects. This is because alcohol can be extremely inflammatory and affects the livers function in a negative way.  The liver detoxifies waste products form our bodies including excess hormones, so a healthy well-functioning liver is very beneficial for sufferers of Endometriosis.

 

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As a rule of thumb a healthy, balanced predominantly plant based diet which incorporates the pointers above will benefit anyone who is suffering with Endometriosis. Consistency over time is key to feel the benefits. It’s also important and beneficial to compliment a good nutrition plan with regular gentle exercise and a positive mindset.

Much love Bridie x

Chemicals in our Environment Linked To Endometriosis and Fibriods

So I was having an Endometriosis internet binge day the other day and I was watching ‘What The Health’ on Netflix this evening, and I had to hit pause and rewind and played over the same section again and again, as a Mike Ewall from Energy Justice Networks opening interview line was ‘Dioxin exposure causes Endometriosis.’..STOP THE FRICKEN PRESS! Who else has read/heard this? Well I certainly hadn’t and I am still being told by my medical professionals and reading in the papers that there is still no known reason/cause why Endometriosis exists…

Yet after watching What The Health I have dug a little deeper into the internet and put my old academic research hat back on and found a shit ton of research papers on it. The article below is the most ‘normal speak’ article I have found so far. I am going to read up more on the research papers and translate them into normal language so we can all understand them. Its making me want to go back to university and finally get that Doctorate and study this further. As who knew that this quest into healing my own Endometrisois and Adenomyosis would lead me down the path of reading about nuclear power, clean energy solutions and Dioxins in our lives.

Original article from CNN found here.

Hormone-disrupting chemicals are everywhere — in plastics, pesticides and makeup — and two of them, phthalates and DDE, have been particularly strongly linked with common female reproductive conditions, such as fibroids.

Endometriosis

In a new study, researchers estimate that the problems caused by these two chemicals alone could cost the European Union at least 1.41 billion euros a year, the U.S. equivalent of about $1.58 billion.
A panel of experts previously estimated the health cost of a range of endocrine-disrupting chemicals — of which bisphenol-A, or BPA, is probably the most infamous — based on a slew of conditions they have been associated with, including obesity, IQ loss and male infertility.
The economic toll attributed to the chemicals in that analysis was 157 billion euros, or $177 billion.
For the current study, the researchers turned their attention toward fibroids and endometriosis, two common conditions that affect an estimated 70% of women and are leading causes of female infertility.
The researchers looked at studies of many different endocrine-disrupting chemicals and determined that the strongest evidence, albeit still from only a handful of studies, implicated a role for DDE, or diphenyldichloroethene, and phthalates in fibroids and endometriosis, respectively.
“There are substantial human and toxicological studies (in mice and other lab animals) that suggest that exposure to these endocrine-disrupting chemicals, many of which are increasing in use, are contributing to female reproductive conditions,” said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, associate professor of pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine.
Trasande carried out the earlier study on the economic impact of these chemicals and is the lead author of the new study, published on Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
DDE is a breakdown product of the insecticide DDT that, although banned in the United States in 1972 and in Europe starting in the 1970s, still lingers in the environment and enters our body through food. The main exposure to phthalates is through eating food and drink stored in plastic containers that have phthalates.
Trasande and his colleagues determined that 56,700 cases of fibroids among women in Europe were probably due to DDE exposure, and 145,000 cases of endometriosis were probably caused by phthalates. The researchers arrived at these estimates through studies that looked at typical DDE exposures in women of reproductive age in Europe and the association between DDE levels in the blood and fibroid diagnoses.
In a similar way, they relied on a study that linked higher phthalate levels in women who had been diagnosed with endometriosis compared to healthy women.

Calculating the economic toll

The researchers estimated the economic burden of these extra cases of fibroids and endometriosis based on the typical cost of treating these conditions, such as by surgery, in European countries. The cost for fibroids was 163 million euros, or $183 million, while endometriosis cases racked up a bill of 1.25 billion euros, or $1.4 billion.
However, as the researchers noted in the study, the costs would be even greater if they had factored in infertility associated with fibroids and endometriosis, and the other health problems those conditions can lead to. For example, endometriosis can increase the risk of cancer and autoimmune disorders.
“In so far as Europe is actively considering criteria for endocrine-disrupting chemicals and they are about to pursue action to limit exposure to chemicals in that category, this work is likely to be extremely important in shaping European policy,” Trasande said.
The European Union and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have already banned the use of certain endocrine disruptors, such as BPA, in baby bottles, though research suggests alternatives to BPA might not be safe.
Although the United States is not as far along in considering restrictions on these chemicals, it could get a jumpstart from European legislation.
“Potentially some of the progress in European activity could actually bring the key stakeholders, such as environmental public health groups and industry, to the table in considering U.S. legislation,” Trasande said.
A study by Trasande and his colleagues estimating the health and economic burden of endocrine disruptors on fibroids and other conditions among women in the United States is slated to be published this summer.

Reducing exposure to endocrine disruptors

The health burden — and healthcare cost — of endocrine-disrupting chemicals could far exceed what the current study captured looking at only two chemical groups. As Trasande and his colleagues point out in the study, several other chemicals, such as PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, have been linked with female reproductive health problems.
Some of these chemicals, including PCBs and dioxins, have already been restricted through a treaty called the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which went into effect in 2004, said Linda S. Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program.
The current study is important because it focused on chemicals that have not been restricted, and in the case of DDE — which persists in the environment — are not able to be restricted, Birnbaum said. However, she said she was surprised the researchers did not include an analysis of chemicals such as BPA, which has also been linked to endometriosis risk.
Endometriosis
“This study is kind of a wake-up to say endocrine disruptors impact the female reproductive system, and we have some evidence they are associated with an increase in endometriosis and fibroids and it costs a lot of money,” Birnbaum said.
However, Birnbaum added that despite the research linking endocrine disruptors with these health problems, “studies are not great and are mostly in animals and experiments on cells (in Petri dishes).”
More studies need to be carried out to look at exposure to endocrine disruptors over a lifetime, from womb through adulthood, because the chemicals could be affecting people differently at different stages of their lives, Birnbaum said.
Although current thinking is that the chemicals are dangerous to girls in the womb because they affect their developing reproductive system, studies have not been done to address this possibility.
Even with all the questions that remain, and few regulations in place, “there are safe and simple steps that families and women can take to reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals,” Trasande said.
“They can eat organic, reduce canned food consumption, which reduces exposure to BPA, and avoid packaged or highly processed food, which is a major route for phthalates to enter food. They can also open windows to allow chemical dust, which accumulates on the carpet and electronics, to circulate out of homes.”