176 million women worldwide suffer with endometriosis, a debilitating condition that affects all aspects of a woman’s life. With no known cure, more awareness needs to be made, the Australian Government took a step last year creating a national action plan for endometriosis.
She Society had a chat with Meredith East-Powell, a member of Endometriosis Queensland (QENDO) and the creator of The Healing Yogi. A blog that details her own struggles with endometriosis and her approach to living a holistic lifestyle to help combat the disease.
Constantly experiencing pain and crippling fatigue, Meredith said that there were times where she could barely work or go out socially. The Healing Yogi is Meredith’s way to share her knowledge on endometriosis, to help people better understand the condition. Once she’s a qualified nutritionist people will be able to book consultations so she can assist them in achieving their health goals.
She came to the realisation that a holistic approach was best when she found out that her doctor could only do so much. “I could either take pain killers continuously or have surgery. I was desperate to feel better, so I researched and educated myself about the possible treatments for endo and saw a naturopath, I started seeing some results which set the wheels in motion for me to makeover my diet and lifestyle.”
According to Meredith nutrition can help with reducing the symptoms of endometriosis. “Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease, it is also an estrogen dependent disease. By lowering the intake of inflammatory foods such as processed meat (or processed food in general), gluten, sugar and soy, and increasing our intake of whole foods (particularly vegetables and fruit) it will assist in reducing inflammation.”
Taking time to meditate also helps endometriosis sufferers, helping them to manage stress, anxiety and depression. “Meditation allows us to be more in tune with our body and helps switch on the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest), this is when our body can recover and heal, it can’t do this when we’re stressed out and in fight or flight mode,” she said.
With many misconceptions floating around, Meredith discussed the idea that pregnancy or a hysterectomy can cure endometriosis. “Even today I still hear that from people (including doctors). That bad period pain is just part of being a woman; pain that prevents you from functioning is not normal and requires treatment. Another one is that people believe a hysterectomy is a cure, it isn’t, in fact there is no cure.”
What’s your advice to other women suffering with endometriosis? Getting a team of health professionals in your corner who really understand and treat endo. Unfortunately there are still health professionals out there who don’t understand the disease. Ask questions and if you’re not comfortable with what is being proposed or the attitude being displayed by your health professional, find someone else, it’s not in your head and you deserve the best treatment available.”
What do you wish people knew about endometriosis? It affects more people than many realise, approximately 1 in 10 women. It is a physiological condition and the cause is not yet known.
What are you most proud of? To change and start living a heart centred life and according to my values, the best move I’ve ever made.
What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt? (in life or business) Not to underestimate yourself and that mistakes are ok; just learn from them, forgive yourself quickly and come back from them.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? To find three positive things to say (or think) about yourself everyday, it is a wonderful form of self-care.
QENDO is holding an endometriosis Education Series in 3 parts at the University of Queensland, tickets can be found here!