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More on the pill – endometriosis, p.c.o.s and the rest

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So I’m back with more on the pill. The response to last weeks post on ‘The Pill – is it for you‘ was so tremendous, I really wanted to get this next piece of the puzzle out as soon as possible, whilst last weeks information was fresh in your head. So as a woman of my word I want to share specifically about Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome or non syndrome (PCOS/PCO), Endometriosis, painful periods, lack of regular periods or even no periods – given that the pill is the only ‘treatment’ western medicine can offer sufferers. Chinese Medicine on the other hand does a brilliant job at treating these conditions properly – working on the root of the issue, and I have experienced many many times, first hand just how effective it can be.

But rewind a little and lets just talk about side effects again for a minute. Last weeks post was all about side effects. Side effects of the pill fall into two main categories – the first is hormonal, the second is nutritional disturbance; a direct result the pill has on your metabolism. As time goes by, this gathers momentum. We become nutritionally depleted in some areas and in other areas overabundant, which isn’t good news for your innards. This causes malnutrition. Various factors will affect the severity of this including the nutritional state of a woman pre pill, as well as her ongoing health. It is absolutely essential for women on the pill to be taking an A grade multi vitamin which will help with the imbalances to a degree, although it cannot be fully compensated. Now this malnutrition is essentially a contributing factor to these conditions we talk about – PCOS, Endometriosis and menstrual irregularities. Funny that!

I want you to think about this. Is your period really bad for you? Obvious answer no – unless you suffer dysmenorrhea and PMS then you might feel differently. So then ask yourself the question – Why do I feel BAD at my period time? This is the question you need to explore. If you dread your period because it is bad, heck – do something about it. It isn’t supposed to be bad. Do you remember your very first period? Was it bad? For me, aside from being so excited that I had it (finally) I had no other symptoms. My body was healthy and I hadn’t absorbed enough of my environment to have a negative effect on me and my periods. Fast forward to my uni days where health was (initially) on the back burner, I was young and ‘free’ (translated, I didn’t have to listen to my mum’s excellent teachings and wisdom if I didn’t choose to), I ate badly, was stressed to the earlobes and my periods were horrible. I wasn’t paying attention to my body and it was telling me so. So I got healthy – I mean really healthy and I have never dreaded a period or an ovulation since. And because I’m healthy, I know when I’m fertile, my cycles are regular, and I can do what need be, to ensure that I either do or don’t make babies – without contraceptives. I’m one happy little traveler here.

But don’t get me wrong – I did suffer from excruciating period pain. I would get to that day of the month and be so sick, if there wasn’t a box of naprogesic in sight I would freak out. I would get the hot and cold flushes, I would vomit, I’d have diarrhea oh and did I mention excruciating period pain. I officially hated my period in those years. These were all signs of endometriosis. Now I forgive anybody for thinking that taking a trip to the GP and being prescribed the pill for this is the solution because this is what we are lead to believe. However, it isn’t a solution. It is simply like putting one massive band aid over the uterus and leaving it there until it’s time to have babies. It isn’t a long-term solution. Truth be told, it isn’t until it’s time to make babies that you may find the problem is far bigger than initially thought – because your hormones have literally been the same for x amount of years, without a cycle or a rhythm. To add to this, once you decide to have a baby and decide to fix the problem – that takes time and often we don’t have time at this point because we are pushing 40 and our fertility specialists are telling us our time is running out! Whoa – what a terribly stressful situation. And of course, adding stress to the mix only makes you less fertile. Add it all together and you are as about as fertile as the Statue of Liberty.

Chinese Medicine is so specific in diagnosis and treatment that there doesn’t need to be a definite conclusion of PCOS or Endometriosis or similar – because even if we put 10 women in the same room with PCOS, the treatment wouldn’t necessarily be the same. This is why it works. It recognises that each women is an individual and to get fertility at optimal levels, her unique make up needs to be totally considered. So specific to any of these conditions, is firstly seeking out the correct diet and lifestyle advice for you individual presentation. One woman may be prescribed a gluten free diet, where another might be encouraged to eat more protein. Sometimes surgery/laparoscopy can provide excellent information to move forward with treatment. Combining western procedures with alternative medicines can be the best treatment plan to prevent endometriosis from returning, (depending on the severity) as TCM uses a combination of treatments to maintain and prevent it’s return.

There isn’t a single condition on earth that responds well to poor life style, no exercise, high stress and poor environmental factors. Your reproductive health isn’t any different. Of course genetics also play a role in our constitution, and something we can’t change, but we can always improve our living situation to greatly benefit our bodies. Here is modern medicines biggest downfall when it comes to hormonal disturbances. It blames the menstrual cycle for many issues a woman may experience and assumes if we simply ‘switch it off’ all our problems will dissipate. If you are using the pill for menstrual irregularities, PMS, terrible periods, PCOS or Endometriosis it’s important to realise that your problem hasn’t gone away, it’s under there somewhere. The only time I might say that the pill can be useful in this situation is to give you some space to think about what you are going to do to fix the problem – it can give you a few months to gather your thoughts and get on top to get a game plan in action.

If this is ringing home to you – it might be time to get a few professionals opinions together and work out for yourself how to better your health. You are absolutely responsible for this – not me or your GP or your health professional of choice. You know how bad or good you feel. There are several things you can start to do right now to improve your health. I’ve outlines several of them here before and here are a few specific ones.

1. Get to know your body type – we are all different. Knowing what is best for your body and what isn’t going to work so well, is the key to improving long term health and eradicating conditions like endometriosis or PCOS. Here is a great example. Women who have excess cold stagnated through their uterus very commonly experience horrible period pain. These same women crave cold foods at the period time. This combination can be the mix to the worst period pain. Adding more cold to what already isn’t moving leads to more pain. This is just one simple example of many, that correspond to this condition.

2. Exercise and regular intercourse – the best way to get blood flowing to your uterus, reproductive organs and every other part of your body. This means it has all the nourishment it can get!

3. Low GI and predominantly gluten free – there aren’t many people who don’t respond well to eating this way (whilst diets can always be tweaked) – increasing protein, keeping junky carbs on the low down, and aiming for low GI foods. Women with PCOS respond very well to eating this way, as do those with Endometriosis because it’s all about decreasing the inflammation.

4. Seek regular treatment to support your body function – Acupuncture is of my above all favourite treatments because it covers everything and doesn’t require the patient to do anything at all! Increasing blood flow to the uterus, moving any stagnation through the reproductive organs, working on the heart and the thyroid to balance hormones and maximise health and fertility is what it does best. It also helps rid the body of stress and quietens the mind. What’s not to like about it?

5. Slowly but surely – again, the key to fixing health is allowing the body to change and adjust to treatments and changes you are making. These changes are always long lasting as the body gets used to working properly.

My next post on the pill will talk about just how the pill affects fertility and pregnancy – so stay tuned and please, I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this. The emails I received last week from many of you would have been so useful for others to hear – so if your brave enough (and I’m not scary) please share on here, because more than likely somebody else can benefit from your ideas and experiences.

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14 Responses to “More on the pill – endometriosis, p.c.o.s and the rest”

  1. Kris

    Great post Nat!

    I was one of those girls who was put on the pill to ‘cure’ my horrible period pain from a young age. I totally understand why women feel as though the pill is their only option. It’s a quick fix. And it’s not until years later (over 10 years for me) that we start to realise the negative effects it is having on our bodies. It was only until I had a break from the pill in my early 20’s that I was diagnosed with PCO and Hashimoto’s Disease. How long I had suffered from these conditions is unknown, the pill seemed to mask any clues I would have otherwise gotten telling me that my body was sick.

    If we can educate our daughters and other young women on the alternatives to the pill I think we may just avoid some of the fertility issues we are seeing more and more of these days.

    Thank you for your very useful insights, looking forward to reading more!

    x

    Reply
  2. the pill – how it affects fertility and pregnancy | Melbourne Natural Fertility

    […] through them – you can find them here "the pill is it for you?" and here "more on the pill – p.c.o.s, endometrosis and the rest" . […]

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  3. Another Kris

    So great to find to find this post. I had taken the pill from mid-teens until early 20s for bad skin and after a couple of years of being off it, and a laproscopy, it emerged I had severe Endometriosis. The surgery happened in 2009 and I’ve been back on the pill since then. At 28 I’ve just decided that I don’t want to feel the way I’ve been feeling because of being on the pill anymore, and had been searching the web looking for some validation to stop taking it. And this is exactly what I need!

    Back to acupuncture, herbs, and healthy living for me and my uterus (and my future babies).

    Thanks so much Nat!

    Reply
  4. Sharon

    I was also one of those girls, given the pill, then another variation of the pill, then a mini pill. I became the psycho who was convinced the world was against me and I was crying for 14 days straight prior to getting my irregular period, anywhere from 35 days to 65 days, to not at all.

    I ended up going completely pill free. We just winged it. Then trying to fall pregnant, took about 10months, but still happened naturally and without intervention. A beautiful 42 wk gestation, then what to do about contraceptives again….? Was convinced by ob/gyn that Mirena was the way to go., Welcome back psycho, add that to being a sleep deprived new mum and you have mother&wife from hell. So not only guilt about being a terrible parent, also feeling like my marriage was falling apart.

    After deciding that we were ready for #2 baby, we found out that the strings for the mirena were retracted back up into the uterus. So, sadly, we were talking about General Anaesthetic for removal. Seemed a bit extreme. Got sent to a specialist ob/gyn who did an ultrasound and the sonographer established PCOS. Wow, instead of being flawed, I was overjoyed to find out the real reasons behind all my years of menstrual troubles and pain. I was lucky enough to have the IUD removed without anaesthetic (though alot of pain) and with the help of acupuncture, fell pregnant literally first attempt. Another 42wk gestation, and we have decided on no more kids. What to do next?

    Now I am in the bind where I have committed to a multiload IUD (has been in for about 18months now), but feeling not totally comfortable about it, but thought it may well be better for me as there were no hormones and my menstrual cycles are ‘normal’ again (well, for me!).

    After your post, I will resume my acupuncture sessions, as I do believe it really helped when I needed it, but obviously, I still do need it!

    Thanks for a great post and helping me understand my issue more than anyone ever helped me explain it in all my years. I will be taking this info and making some action towards feeling better and more comfortable with me! x

    Reply
    • admin

      Wonderful Sharon – it is all about what works for the individual. But power to you for listening to your body and what it was communicating to you.

      Reply
  5. Laura Pearson

    Thank you!!

    That was very helpful. I have dysmenorrhea. My doctor put me on the pill years ago to deal with it.

    But reading this has given me the confidence to treat what is actually going on naturally when I’m ready.

    A combination of a natropath, chinese medicine and a nutrionist should do the trick!

    Reply
  6. Carissa

    Wow! I am so glad I found your website! I was just diagnosed with Endometriosis this past November and I have been on the pill since then to prevent it from coming back. I am in my early 20s and feel like I haven’t been able to enjoy life since being on the pill. I’ve been battling depression, migraines, fatigue, constantly hungry and terrible mood swings. I was a little hesitant to stop the pill, since I don’t want my horrible periods and Endometriosis to come back. But after reading your info about the pill, I am more determined to stop taking it now. Thanks for your great advice!

    Reply
    • Laura

      I am also in the same situation, still unsure about what I should do as the fear and anxiety of my endometriosis and PCOS getting worse is in the back of my head. I wonder if you could speak more about the treatments, results and road to recovery from these situations, I am eager to go natural as I have been but again I really don’t want to have to go under surgery and suffer from any large cysts again!
      Thank you,
      Laura

      Reply
  7. Chantal

    Wow! I realize I’m a couple years behind on commenting on this great post, but THANK YOU!! I have been on the pill for over a decade and recently stopped for 5 months because I want to be hormone-free. I now know that it is not the answer to any of my problems. During those few months off the pill, I thought I was dying. I even had cramps with my “periods” while being on the pill, but being off led me to major digestive issues, vomiting, and the only way I could physically get through it was being drugged up on Naproxen all day long. After my first appointment ever with a gynecologist, I left even more discouraged. She advised me that my only options were to continuously keep taking the pill without ever taking that week off or get an IUD. Both options were definitely not options in my book. Feeling very frustrated (my skin is worse than it ever has been as well) I did go back on but only until my wedding. I’m supposed to get my period on my wedding day and I’m not spending it vomiting in the corner! (Just under a month now). I just started seeing a homeopath and have been highly considering seeing an Accupuncturist as well and your post has definitely encouraged me to get on that ASAP! I don’t even care for a diagnosis for what I have (endometriosis, etc) because that wont change anything-I just know that something is not right and you have given me hope that it really can be fixed! Thank you, so so much!

    Reply
  8. Grace

    What are your strategies to prevent pregnancy when not on the pill? Do you just follow your fertility calendar? Do you use condoms? Thanks!!

    Reply
  9. Melasund

    I was on the pill since I was 13 to help with heavy periods (due to a bleeding disorder) I stopped the pill 5 months ago, yet I have not ovulated!! but I get “breakthrough” bleeding every month (irregular though). plus my chin now breaks out in acne which I never had before the pill or while on the pill. Only post pill. I’m worried my entire body is ruined. I feel like I won’t be normal. I’m so tired of my skin break outs and the unpredictable bleeding “periods”. It is exhausting!
    For the past 2-3 months, I have been taking lots of vitamins and vitex and maca and eating healthy but nothing is working so far. I’m wondering if it is normal for it to take this long I’m dredding going back to the dr.

    Reply
  10. Natasha Meachin

    Hi Nat i just read your article in Australian Natural Health as a friend gave it to me and i could just cry. I have read so many of your blogs and don’t want to stop. I have had hormone issues since i was 16 with irregular extremely painful periods which then led to the pill. I then got mastitis at 17 which was a shock so once again the GP changed my pill. Then i would start spotting or lactating so the hormone dosage on my pill would change. I have recently been diagnosed with a condition where my cervix grows on the outside and has to be burnt off or i bleed mid cycle. I have so many issues hormone related and every gyno i go to jst masks it. I tried the Mirena which i had to get removed as it was painful and causing alot of spotting and irregular emotions. Due to other health issues i have now gone gluten n dairy free which has made a positive impact on my health. I would love to know how to come off the pill still go to work and not be in agony. Tash xxx

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