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Lisa De Jong
This Wellbeing Coach specializes in menstrual cycle wellness and nervous system regulation. De Jong helps people to manage energy levels, emotional wellbeing, chronic pain, endometriosis, PMS and mental health challenges around the cycle.More by This Instructor
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Hello everybody, my name is Lisa DeYoung, and welcome to this online course, Endometriosis, a Self-Care Journey. This course is for anyone who has been diagnosed with endometriosis or who has symptoms of endometriosis or who is on a journey of being diagnosed with endometriosis. So whether you have it or you don't have it, or you're not sure, or if you're here because you know somebody who has endometriosis, you are so welcome, we're gonna learn so much about endometriosis on this course. We're gonna learn about what it is, how it's treated in the medical system, holistic treatment and self-care options for endometriosis and how we can manage our pain in our daily lives. And we're also going to be debunking a lot of the myths and misinformation about endometriosis that are out there in the world as well. All of the information, the tools, the tips, the tricks that are provided in this course are all rooted in evidence-based practice. So you can rest assured that you are not gonna get anything misleading in this course, and rather education, empowerment tools, and things that you can try for yourself at home, or that you can encourage your loved one who has endometriosis to try in order to feel better in our bodies, to reduce our pain, to feel more empowered in ourselves in our journey with endometriosis, and to feel hopeful. So let's get started. - So first, I'm gonna share a little bit of my own personal journey with endometriosis because I've learned so much on my own journey and I think it's helpful to share what I've been through. So I started to get period pain very badly when I was probably about 14, not long after I first started menstruating. And it was particularly bad and I knew it was particularly bad because my mother used to have to come and collect me from school. And I ended up going to my general practitioner, my doctor with my mom, several times throughout my teens. And I was put on the pill, taken off the pill, put back on the pill. And the pill helped with pain, but I always had a lot of side effects from the pill in other areas of my life. So then when I was about 21, 22, I decided to come off the pill long-term and try to manage my menstrual pain, try to find an alternative way to heal this problem. I had a deep sense, a deep knowing sense that there was something not right with my menstrual cycle and the word endometriosis had never been mentioned in the doctor's office. So I'd come off the pill. I changed my lifestyle. I changed my diet. I changed the way I lived, my cosmetics even I changed. I started to manage my stress levels a lot better, and that helped a lot with menstrual pain, but it never really cured it. And there was only so much I could do by myself. So long, long story short, I ended up then training in these various practices that I now bring to you here today and these tools. But ultimately, my own personal story was such that I did decide to get what's called a laparoscopy surgery when I was in my mid twenties, here in Ireland. I'm based in Dublin in Ireland. And I got the laparoscopy. Didn't really know much about that process. Didn't really know much about what it was. All I knew was that if you go to a gynecologist, they might have the answer and maybe the gynecologists can fix me, can help me with my problem. So I went for the surgery, which is where it's a keyhole surgery, where they open you up. And the gynecologist has a look around (chuckles) to see if they can see endometriosis. And she diagnosed me with endometriosis. So that happened in Ireland. And that was now about five, six years ago. And I continue to live my life in a very particular way. I eat in a very particular way. I manage my stress. I regulate my nervous system regularly and do all the things that I'm gonna teach you in this course. But when it comes surgery, what then happened was, as I began to learn more and more and more about endometriosis in the medical system, I realized that that particular gynecologist who operated on me in my twenties wasn't actually a specialist. And she's what's known as a general gynecologist who also works in obstetrics, so delivering babies and looking after childbirth, and endometriosis would only be one small area of her career. And what I found out was that there's actually expert surgeons all over the world who specialize only in endometriosis. And they practice a particular technique that I'm gonna talk about in a later video, as well, that wasn't practiced in Ireland at the time. So I made the decision to travel to an expert surgeon in London, and then in my thirties, and I was then diagnosed again with endometriosis, but this time they treated it properly and they found endometriosis in four areas of my pelvis that had been missed by the medical team here in Ireland. And because in Ireland they just didn't have the techniques, the tools, the expertise, and sadly that's a very, very common story for a lot of people all over the world who are struggling with period pain. A lot of people are getting and misdiagnosed. They're getting misinformation. There's a lot of, sadly, there's a lot of gaslighting that happens, a lot of medical misogyny as well. And so these are the kind of areas that I'm gonna be talking about in this course. I'm gonna go a little bit more deeper into the medical system. And there's even a video on how to speak to your doctor, how to empower yourself, and also how to set ourselves up for success in this journey of endometriosis because it is a debilitating disease. It is a debilitating condition that just happens to be affecting women because of our menstrual cycle. And it can have a really big impact on our quality of life. So there is a lot of help out there. There is a lot of hope. It's just a matter of are you putting the work in learning about it, educating ourselves and having a toolkit, a self-care toolkit. So we're gonna walk through all that together in this course. You're not alone in this. It's really important to get support, especially if you are suffering and you're in a lot of pain every month. And it does take time. It takes time because what we're doing is we're going from our head down into our body. We're embodying knowledge, so we're learning stuff, and then it can take time for the things that we learn in our heads to become embodied so that we practice them and that they're implemented in our behavior weekly, monthly, daily. So where does that leave me now with my story? My pain has drastically reduced since all of the work I have been implemented myself, since seeking out an expert surgeon abroad and investing in that and getting the financial means to do that as well, that took some time, and committing myself to self-care and to looking after my body and to, like I said, eating in a particular way, managing stress and having healthy nourishing relationships. Not overworking, as well, is really important. And these are important things to think about for your long-term health. We live in a very busy, stressed society. It's very easy to eat on the go and not choose the most nutritious foods, which once in a while is, obviously, no problem, but in the long-term, especially if you have a chronic pain condition like endometriosis, it's really important to take that seriously and to put the work in for yourself, 'cause it's gonna make your life a whole lot better when you feel better in your body. And something I really advocate for is that you do seek help, that you don't do this alone. So seek help with myself. You can reach out to me for coaching. I do courses and one-to-one coaching, or someone else in your life who can help you because getting that support, we're gonna talk about the nervous system later on, helps to, what's called, co-regulate our nervous system, and it makes change and making self-care much more sustainable in the long run. I really highly recommend that you invest in support and you already are by taking this course. So well done for doing that, and keep going. - Okay, so this is one of my favorite topics when it comes to self care, particularly for people who have endometriosis or any kind of chronic pain condition, or even mental health difficulties in our lives. And it is what makes my coaching and my courses really transformational is looking at these five pillars of self-care. So the first pillar is personal responsibility. This is so important to consider when we are someone who has endometriosis, because what can happen is because it is a very under-researched area in medicine, because the implications are so drastic on our health. It can really affect all areas of our health, including our mental health. And because like I said before, there's a lot of gaslighting that's happening. And there's a lot of medical misogyny that happens in the medical world, all over the world. And it's very, very easy and it's natural to slip into a kind of a victim mode. And what I mean by that is, is that we can take like a psychological role where we feel like a victim and it's very true, I've been there. (laughs) And I can go there still with my endometriosis. Okay? The problem with when we get stuck in the victim mode is that then we don't take personal responsibility for our self care, for our health, for advocating for ourselves. And then what can happen then is we tend to blame others. We can blame the medical system. We can blame our family. We can internalize blame and blame ourselves, even unconsciously. And that then even makes self-care even harder because we're then resisting. We're resisting self-care, then. 'Cause it's really, really hard to look after ourselves when our pain is bad. And I get that. That's why it's so important to do courses like this and to lean into the work and to continue getting support. Now, that being said, I also think there's something about victim blaming in the women's health space. And this is not about not being a victim at all, because I do think it's important that when you are diagnosed with endometriosis, you are a victim because you haven't gotten, most of the time, like I can only imagine, you haven't gotten the correct care. It's taken years to be diagnosed and you were misled with different information. So in a way, you were a victim. So it's important to allow yourself to feel that, to grieve that, to move through that, to process that. And once you're done, then to empower yourself and to take the position of self responsibility. So that is all about being responsible for our health. That deciding and realizing that no one is really gonna look after us except for ourselves, in the case of adults, of course, and that it is our responsibility to everyday show up for ourselves, to choose the self care that works for us, to say no to things that don't work for us and to make decisions around our health and you know, the choices, there's gonna be a lot of choices that you're gonna make in terms of your endometriosis journey when it comes to holistic health and when it comes to the medical system. So what are, what do you need in your life to help you get clarity on those decisions? You might need to speak to a coach like myself or someone else who's been through it. And so that's taking personal responsibility for your process, for your process and for your health. The second pillar for self care in this context is self advocacy. And what I mean by that is, is not being afraid to speak up for yourself. It means preparing your questions in advance before you go into your gynecologist or your doctor. It means researching. It means listening to podcasts. It means speaking to other people who have endometriosis, it means continuing through with this course until the end, it means reaching out to me and asking for support. Self advocacy is really about believing in yourself, putting yourself first, taking your self-worth seriously when it comes to your health and not allowing endometriosis to rule your life and getting the things that you want and you need in life in order to feel good. Despite having endometriosis. Pillar three is self-care. All my work is about self-care. And sometimes that might mean a bubble bath or getting your nails done, which is great. But self-care also means saying no to things, putting up boundaries, having only nourishing romantic relationships and friendships, working on your family dynamics so that you're not being stressed every time you go home to see your family. It means doing your accounts. If you have a business, doing your accounts in advance and staying on top of your business so that you're not getting stressed with that, with the last minute. It means taking your supplements. It means going to bed on time, getting exercise, all those things that are difficult when we are someone who has chronic pain and that it's easy to rebel against, but self-care can sometimes be the difficult things. And self-care also means regulating our nervous system and getting to understand our nervous system so that we know what we need on a weekly, on a daily basis in order to feel regulated, in order to feel nourished. Knowing when we need some alone time is also really important. I work with a lot of people who fill their schedule with all sorts of social things and work things. And, you know, we just, we need to build more alone time or quiet time into our daily lives, into our weekly lives. So planning your self-care in your diary. So self-care is a really, really important pillar of health. The fourth pillar of endometriosis, a self care journey, is courage. So courage. What comes up for you When I say that word? you know, there is a hashtag on the internet about people who have endometriosis, which is hashtag endowarrior. And we are. People who have endometriosis are warriors. We have to pluck up a hell of a lot of courage to go through this journey. It takes courage to implement self-care every day. It takes courage to advocate for ourselves. It takes courage to take responsibility for ourselves and our health. Because what's happening is when we're so used to being in victim mode. When we're so used to being in a doctor's office and having gaslighting going on, or being dismissed by all sorts of people, including the medical profession, we can internalize that and we can blame ourselves, or we can just assume that we did something wrong or it is psychosomatic and it's all in our head, but it's not. Endometriosis is a very real, very serious health condition that has chronic implications for people's health and daily well-being. So it does take a lot of courage to step into a position of empowerment in your life. And the last pillar of this work is kindness. And what I mean by that is really kindness towards yourself, because like I said before, it takes courage to take personal responsibility, to advocate for yourself, to practice self care and on what can happen is it's not linear. Healing is not a linear journey. And we need to be mindful of our expectations with our goals, with where we want to be, with the pressures we put on ourselves in terms of our journey with endometriosis. So even when we do all the work and we do all the mindfulness and we do all the diet and the self-care and the self-advocacy, sometimes we can still get a pain flare. And that's the mysterious thing about endometriosis, it really is quite insidious and chronic. So in those times where it's so difficult and painful, and our moods are up and down and our hormones are up and down, it's important to start to practice that muscle of inner kindness towards ourselves, to be kind to ourselves, to be patient. that it's okay. You are allowed to have difficulties. You are allowed to have really dark thoughts. You are allowed to have outbursts with family members, you are allowed to have terrible moods and pain flares. You have not failed. And it's really important that the kindness piece becomes a regular practice in the way that you speak to yourself. - In this video, we're going to talk about what endometriosis is. So you might have already researched endometriosis, and what it is, and read a couple of definitions, so I'm not gonna go into a huge amount of detail, but I am going to debunk a few myths and perhaps give you some information you may not have heard from your doctor or read on the internet. This again, as I said, is all evidence-based and I'm gonna provide a further resources document at the end of the course for you to read up on more if you're interested in more detailed reading. Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition. It's an immune dysfunction that impacts people who have a menstrual cycle, and it is where there are tissues and cells that are similar to the uterine lining, so they're the walls of the womb or the uterus, that have somehow found themselves displaced and outside of the uterus. So the cells that are kind of, they are microscopically very similar to the uterine lining are found outside the uterus. Now, why does this cause pain and what happens then? What's wrong with having displaced cells? Well what happens then is because every month when a woman menstruates, when estrogen drops, when progesterone drops, when hormones drop, the brain sends a message to the womb to shed the lining of the womb, and that is menstruation, that's a woman's period. And so the uterus starts to contract and then we have our period. The problem is is that when we have cells outside the uterus that are similar to uterine cells, they also pick up the message from the brain that those cells also need to shed, and those cells outside the uterus then start producing their own estrogen supply, they become inflamed, and the whole area becomes an inflammatory area. And what happens is is there's a lot of nerves in the pelvis where those different cells are placed that are linked to the nervous system, the autonomic nervous system, and so what then happens is the immune system sends a message to the body, to the brain that there's an invader in our body and it needs to be attacked. So it's kind of like the immune system starts to attack the cells to try to get rid of them, but it can't get rid of them 'cause there's nowhere for them to go. So that then causes even more inflammation. It causes what's called an autonomic nervous system response in the nervous system, and causes various types of pain symptoms, which I'm gonna go into in detail in a minute. So how do these cells get there? There are some theories that the cells outside the uterus get there through something called retrograde menstruation which is where menstruation flows backwards up the fallopian tubes and out, but there's not a lot of research to support this. There is actually new research which is super interesting that supports the finding that these uterine cells outside the uterus are actually placed and displaced in utero, meaning that when you were a baby in your mother's womb, it's kind of like a little bit like a birth defect. When the uterus was being created in your mom's womb when you were a tiny baby, the cells just got displaced and then what happened then was as you entered puberty in your teens, those cells started to respond to the hormonal changes in the brain and then they start to create a lot of inflammation and pain. The average diagnosis period for endometriosis is between seven and 12 or 13 years, depending on what country you are in, and the reason for that is is because the only way currently to diagnose endometriosis in most countries is through what's called a laparoscopy, which I'm gonna talk about in the next video, which is the surgery that I mentioned before. And so when the gynecologist operates on you and looks for endometriosis, what they're looking for is kind of like these black dots, these cells in and around the uterus, around the ovaries, at the back of the uterus near the bowels as well, but in reality, it's not true that there are only endometriosis that presents in black form. So endometriosis can actually present in all different shapes, sizes, and different colors, which is why, like I said before, general gynecology unfortunately aren't skilled and trained enough to properly treat it, whereas expert surgeons have the tools, and the expertise, and the experience to recognize the different ways that endometriosis can present. It can even just present as like quite fibrous kind of tissue that looks healthy but actually isn't, and once the doctor does what's called a biopsy and runs tests in the lab after surgery, they can then confirm if it's endometriosis or not. So lastly, I'd like to talk about the different types of symptoms that you can get with endometriosis. So the first one is pain, chronic pain. If you are someone who had to miss school because of your period pain or you had to miss a lot of hours in work, it's highly likely that you might have endometriosis. You could also have another gynecological condition, but it is very lucky that you have endometriosis. You do not have to have an irregular cycle for endometriosis. People who have endometriosis have regular cycles and irregular cycles, so that is not a classic symptom of it. Other symptoms include pain with urination, pain with bowel movements, particularly around menstruation, pain with sexual intercourse, pain with ovulation as well, and a lot of bloating, especially in the pre-menstrual phase. So let's talk about pain in a little bit more detail. There's a few different types of pain. So one type is called somatic pain. That's where you get, for example, if I was to cut my hand, I would have a pain here. It's very localized and it's clear that my hand is sore. My brain is sending a message to my hand that there is something happened here that needs to be cared for. So that's called somatic pain, and that can happen with endometriosis. You might get a pain in a particular part of your tummy when you're going to the toilet or if you're having sex. It can be very specific area that you get pain, so that's somatic pain. But then there's also something called visceral pain, which is where the, like I said before, when the nodules of endometriosis in the pelvis are responding to hormonal fluctuations and they start to get very inflamed and sore, and then the immune system starts to attack them, the autonomic nervous system starts to come in and wants to protect us. So that will throw various symptoms such as fainting, feeling very, very fatigued, feeling lightheaded, having dilated pupils, sweating, a lot of thirst, being dehydrated. Those kinds of like nervous system symptoms are also indicators of endometriosis because it's the autonomic nervous system that is responding to the invader, the threat, the inflammation in the pelvis, and the pelvis is actually where we do have a lot of nerve endings that are linked to the autonomic nervous system. So I really hope that helps you understand a little bit more in detail about what endometriosis is, what it isn't, the various symptoms that can present, and how it would look as well if you were going to get surgery. So it's really important to know these facts about endometriosis because sadly, it's my professional experience and the experience of many, many people around the world that general practitioners, so doctors aren't trained enough to understand all those symptoms, and then what happens is then people are getting misdiagnosed or it's taking them a very long time to get diagnosed. One example I have is a client who does have endometriosis where she was diagnosed eventually, but her original doctor who she went to said that she didn't have endometriosis because if she did have endometriosis, she would have pain all month long, and that's not true. There's many people who have endometriosis who only have pain when they're menstruating, or there's people who have pain all month long, or there's people have pain at ovulation. There is also lots of teenagers who have endometriosis. Sadly, there's a misconception that teenagers don't have endometriosis, but it is not true, and there's lots of research to show that. So again, it's really important to take personal responsibility to learn about this condition and to advocate for ourselves. - So let's talk about how endometriosis is actually treated in the medical system. So first, the first option is via medicine, so that would be the contraceptive pill or some kind of hormonal medication. This can be a really, really good option if you don't wanna get surgery and you're in a lot of pain and it's affecting your mental health and you're busy and you don't have a lot of time to, you know, look into self care and those other things. Or you can do medicine and surgery and self care, you can do it all together, which is also a really nice option. So when we take the contraceptive pill for chronic pain, endometriosis type pain, what happens is it changes the biochemistry of our menstrual cycle, and in most cases will stop ovulation and then changes the hormones so that when we have our period, it's a lot lighter and a lot less painful. So there's multiple options you can talk to with your general practitioner, with your doctor about hormonal contraception for endometriosis pain. So you can take, what's called the combination pill, which is a combination of estrogen and the hormone called progestin. You can take various different brands, different types of that. You can take a progestin only pill. You can also get the contraceptive patch or the IUD, like the Mirena coil. And they will have various and pros and cons, so lots of people like to get the Mirena coil inserted, which is a device that's inserted into the uterus, and behaves like hormonal contraceptive. And it's handy for a lot of people because you don't have to do anything. And I think it's there for maybe four or five years, but then some people like to have a little bit more control, because if you got the coil put in, you have to get it removed by a doctor. So, it really depends on like what's important to you? What matters to you? Do you prefer to take a pill everyday or do you prefer to not have to do that? So those are important questions to ask yourself when it comes to medical treatment of endometriosis. And there is no shame in taking hormonal contraception for this condition. It is like I said before, a chronic painful condition, and I believe the hormonal contraception can really save lives. This journey, this self care journey is not about doing it right, it is about how you get the best quality of life given a diagnosis of endometriosis. And so it's important to again, take personal responsibility, read up on different options and inform yourself. And then what you then do is you take a position of informed consent with regards to your choices, your body, your decisions for your health and how you can get the best out of your body, out of your life while you journey the path of endometriosis. So the second option is painkillers, that's also a medical option in the medical system to manage pain. So I'm sure if you have endometriosis, you've probably figured that out already, but there's a few different options when it comes to painkillers. And I'm gonna specifically talk about over the counter medication, which you can get in most countries in just a pharmacy. So ibuprofen, which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. In my country, that's called ibuprofen, and you can also get it in the form of aspirin as well. That's really good for bringing dine inflammation. My tip with that is to, if you have a regular cycle and you're tracking your cycle, then you know when your period is due, don't be afraid to take a painkiller a day or two before your period starts, or even with the onset of your menstruation, because what happens is when we begin to demonstrate, our periods, and then the nodules that we have cause of endometriosis, they begin to release a hormone called prosthetic landon's and it's the prosthetic landon's that cause the uterus and the pelvis to contract. So what happens is when you take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, ibuprofen, it brings down the level of prosthetic landon's, it reduces inflammation, and so it actually prevents the need to have to take more painkillers. So don't be afraid to take painkillers if it works for you, do it as soon as you get pain, and then that's gonna prevent you from needing loads and loads and loads. You can also take paracetamol. You can take paracetamol and ibuprofen together, there is no danger in that. Another option is to take codeine. I do not recommend codeine if you have endometriosis because one of the side effects of codeine is constipation. And if your bowels are regularly getting constipated, it actually contributes to the symptoms of endometriosis, so that's one painkiller I don't recommend taking regularly. But again, speak to your doctor, speak to your pharmacist about all this, in case you're on any other medications that your doctor needs to be aware of. And then lastly, in the medical system, the third option is surgery. So in most countries, there are two methods of surgery to remove and treat endometriosis. The first is called ablation surgery, that's where they do like a key hole, ideally minimally invasive surgery, and ablation is where they use tools to burn away the nodules in the pelvis. There is no research that shows that that is not very effective for endometriosis, and it is more likely that endometriosis will return in the coming years, months after using this particular method, because what happens is it's just burning away the top of the endometriosis from the surface of the skin. And then it grows, it grows back, so it's not ideal to get ablation, but if that's the only option you have, and if you've done enough reading around it, then when you wanna do it, then do it. But there's a second option which is called excision surgery, which is where the surgeon cuts the endometriosis out from the roots, okay? And they remove it. It's kind of like weeds, like they remove the whole weed, so that it's a lot less likely that the endometriosis is gonna grow back. And if it does grow back, it grows back in a much longer period of time. So that's really, really important to consider if you are looking for surgery, I highly recommend seeking out a surgeon who practices only excision surgery for endometriosis and not ablation, so that you have the best possible chances of recovery in the longterm and that you don't need repeat surgeries. And that's the problem with ablation is that there are in my country, there's a lot of women who get repeat surgeries because they're struggling to get access to excision surgery, which is difficult because surgery in itself is a trauma to the body, it is a trauma to the nervous system, it is a lot to go through. You have to take time off work, you have to recover, and it's not an ideal to go through, even if it is just minimally invasive, it's still in my opinion, a really, really big deal to get surgery, and it's a really big choice, so if you're gonna get surgery, try your best to get the best possible surgery you can. The second thing to consider when you are looking into getting surgery for endometriosis is to seek out a surgeon who is an expert in endometriosis. If you go with a general gynecologist, then what's happening is you're working with someone who doesn't have the same level of skills as an expert. This is not my opinion, this is not the gold standard advice out there in a lot of the organizations that are advocating for endometriosis around the world. So the reason for this is because endometriosis is, like I said in the previous video, it's found in and around the uterus. If we're working with, if it's a general gynecologist who's working on you, they don't have the skills to exercise and to operate around the bowels around the kidneys, even endometriosis can come up around the lungs, and the diaphragm and those surgeons, not that there's anything wrong with those surgeons, I'm sure they're really good at their jobs, but they don't have the same skills as the expert surgeons do. So it's important to consider that, that it's actually my opinion now that I know so much about this topic, that endometriosis really, it's not really a gynecological condition, it's only, it's kind of like a cancer, it's growth that are around the organs of the pelvis. And it's just being impacted by the endocrine system. So it's really more an endocrine system and immune system dysfunction than it is a gynecological issue. And what's so great about these expert surgeons who are based in different countries around the world is that they work with multi-disciplinary teams. And what that means is that if you happen to be someone who has endometriosis and what's called deep infiltrating endometriosis near the bowels or near the kidneys or the bladder, or open around the diaphragm or the lungs that your surgeon will work different doctors who are experts in those particular areas. They'll have a whole team of surgeons working on you who understand that part of the body, they understand the nerves, they understand how to do an operation and how to perform really, really skilled surgery in that part of the body. You'd be in much safer hands going to an expert who works with a multi-disciplinary team. And then the last thing I'll say about the medical system is that there's a lot of women, myself included, who have been told that one, another treatment option for endometriosis is pregnancy, which isn't not true. And so if you're a doctor or your surgeon says this to you, don't take it seriously, and you get a second opinion because it's just not really helpful to consider that. Technically it's true in that pregnancy does stop the period pain because pregnancy stops and temporarily the menstrual cycle. Our hormones are doing a completely different thing, we have a lot of progesterone when we're pregnant and we don't have the monthly cycle and we're not, you know, we're not misreading, so technically our pain and goes on pause, but what happens then is if you decide to get pregnant to cure endometriosis, then you have a baby, and then after you finished breastfeeding, you are left with endometriosis again, and with children, with the baby that you have to look after. So, I do not think that that line of advice is in any way patient centered. It is, I think it's a little bit misogynistic because it's just looking at women through, you know, them being a uterus and it's not taking into a kind thought, this is a person with a life and mental health, and psychology. So, just be careful with that, you know, maybe like it is an option for you to consider if you do want children to consider that, that when you get pregnant and when you're breastfeeding, that will bring your pain down, and then maybe after you have children, you might get surgery or you might go on the pill. So, just to bear that in mind as that's what happens, but it is not a treatment option for your endometriosis. - So now we've looked at the science of endometriosis, the medical system, the five pillars of of wellness for endometriosis. And now we're gonna move into a section which is all about holistic treatment options and self-care for endometriosis and why they help and how they help. So as I said before, these are all evidence-based modalities that help. You do not have to do all of them. I'm literally just gonna give you a list of things that I have found helped me a lot that I choose to dip in and out of that I encourage my clients to do. And a few of them I'm gonna go into a little bit more detail in the next couple of videos. So when it comes to self-care and holistic options, holistic treatment options for any pain really but in this case endometriosis, what we're really thinking about is how can we prevent and bring down the chances of chronic pain and flare ups? And when they do happen, how do we treat ourselves and how do we look after ourselves in that situation, okay? So those are the kind of the two things we're gonna be looking at. So the first one is diet, the foods we eat, and I'm actually gonna do a more detailed video in the next one about that. But that's one of the things that I would say is really, really important when it comes to endometriosis because as I said before, it's an immune dysfunction. It's an inflammatory condition and diet can play a huge role in bringing down inflammation which is great for endometriosis. The next one is lifestyle and how we live our lives to reflect on that. And then the video after the diet one, we're gonna be talking about the nervous system. so I'm gonna talk about that in more detail. And all the other options that I really, really would love for you to think about in terms of your own self-care are mindfulness. Mindfulness is now hugely evidence-based and has shown incredible results for people with various types of chronic pain conditions and there are so many different ways to practice mindfulness. You can do it yourself. You can use an app. You can use a guided meditation. You can join a course. You can come and do mindfulness with me. There's so many different ways to do it and there's so many different modalities of meditation and mindfulness, and there's now even particular pain meditations that I'm gonna offer you a pain meditation in this course as well. Then there's lifestyle and mindset coaching which is also a huge part of my practice. Uncovering those kinds of unconscious beliefs and looking at our relationship with our body, with our self-care, with our boundaries, with other people, with food, all those things that really drive our behaviors, drive our beliefs, drive our thoughts. Coaching can really, really help with that so that your self-care doesn't have to feel like an effort so it can flow 'cause when we do that mindfulness work, when we do our mindset work, self-care becomes a lot easier and it just comes naturally. Then there's acupuncture, I'm a really big fan of acupuncture, I love getting it. I got acupuncture every week for several weeks before I had surgery the last time I had surgery and now I get it and maybe once or twice a month. I find for me it really relaxes me and I feel good when I go to get it done. So that's what you wanna look out for. You want to try different things and really tune in to how you feel as opposed to what people say. So for me when I get acupuncture, I feel like my whole nervous system just gets a reset. I feel really, really relaxed, whereas other modalities don't really give that to me. So give it a try. It's definitely worth it. Then there's different herbs you can take. You can book an appointment with a herbalist. They have all sorts of different herbs and tonics that they can make up for you for detoxing the hormones from our body to help relax the uterine muscles. Personally it hasn't really worked for me 'cause I've tried it, but I do know lots of people who like to take herbs. Then there's also supplements you can take which I'll go into in the diet section, but things like magnesium, turmeric, ginger. Those are really good for bringing done stress, for bringing down inflammation, and they're just good supplements to have. But I'm gonna go into that in more detailed as well in the next section. Then there's trauma therapy. This is something I'm trained in, somatic experiencing. If we have a history of trauma which I think anyone who has endometriosis does because I think there's a whole medical trauma piece there and getting ready for surgery, recovering from surgery, that's all we're working with trauma in the body there, in the mind and our emotions. Doing trauma recovery work can be so helpful for relaxing the nervous system and for releasing tension from the body. There's also menstrual cycle awareness. I have courses on this. This is where we track our cycle and get to know our cycle, and I'm gonna do another video on that as well. But it's a really, really big part of my work and has shown great results for a lot of my clients. There's also pelvic floor physiotherapy which is really great and again evidence-based and is just really, really good for people who get a lot of pelvic floor attention in their pelvis, particularly when we're in pain 'cause what happens is when we're in pain we tend to clench and protect. It is a protective response to clench and curl in and what then happens over a long period of time is that we tense and that then can cause more pain. And then of course there's therapy, and there's coaching, and like I said before, mindset work. Something I do not want to leave out of this course is the very stark reality that endometriosis can contribute to an suicidal thoughts and suicidal ideation. So it's important that if you do suffer with that badly, to seek out psychological support to work with a therapist or counselor or a coach. I do work with clients who struggle with this and it's really about building safety with those thoughts and working deeply to bring healing to ourselves. But as I said, speak to your doctor, speak to your psychiatrist, your psychotherapist to support you on that journey as well. And again, a little reminder that when we are in pain these things are very often at least from my experience, it can be very hard to get back into the self-care routine and to commit to ourselves again 'cause when we're low in our hormones, when we have chronic pain, sometimes it can turn into this psychological experience of self-hatred or self-blame. So just be mindful to be aware of that and to come back to your pillars, your personal responsibility, your self-advocacy, your kindness, your courage, your self-care. Speak to a friend, get support, reach out. Do not do this alone. It's so important that you have a team around you to support you on this journey. - Hello, my friends, and welcome to this video on diet and the types of foods that we can eat to support our journey with self-care and endometriosis. This is a really, really important step. It is one of the foundations of our self-care when it comes to endometriosis or any kind of chronic pain, immune system or nervous system condition. There's so many fancy things that there's an incredible alternative things that we can choose, but if we don't have our diet right, those things aren't gonna work as well. So when it comes to self-care, it's really, really worth looking at our diet and seeing where there are a few small changes that we can make to create the best environment for our body to bring down inflammation, to manage pain, to regulate our nervous system and all these things we can do through our diet. So the first, most important thing, when it comes to healthy hormones, period pain, endometriosis, or any other kind of gynecological condition on our diet is to think about blood sugar stabilization. So blood sugar stabilization is where we have relatively stable level of blood sugar throughout the day, instead of having this increase in blood sugar level, and then a plunge at intermittent periods throughout the day, because what happens if our blood sugar levels are going up and down and up and down like a rollercoaster, our stress hormones are gonna do the same thing, and that's gonna have a knock on effect on our sex hormones and it'll throw the whole endocrine system off whack. So what we want is a nice stable, gentle up and down flow of our blood sugar levels. And essentially what blood sugar levels mean is the amount of sugar in your blood at any time of the day before or after eating. Every time we eat food, the food then gets broken down eventually into glucose, no matter what the food is, and it's gonna increase the blood sugar levels at certain levels. Some foods will increase much more and will result in a higher spike of blood sugar, but there's a lot of foods that we can eat that will help to bring a kind of a stable level of blood sugar level release throughout the day. So the first tip is to eat your meals at regular times. So if you get up in the morning, don't wait too long for breakfast, try and get your first meal, or even just a snack, a light breakfast in within an hour of waking up, try to keep your meals as low processed sugar as possible, and even your snacks. And then the third tip for blood sugar stabilization is to include a kind of a protein, a healthy fat, and a carb in every meal. So for example, at breakfast, you might have an egg on toast. So an egg would comprise of protein, it's also fat, it has cholesterol which is needed for hormone creation in the body, and then if you have toast or some bread or even some potatoes in the morning or oats that would count as a carb, or if you'd like to make smoothies or fruit salads, you can just throw in some nut butter into that as that will kind of as a healthy fat, or you can use avocados as well. When we implement healthy fats into our diet, it just does wonders for our blood sugar level. And so just to keep that in mind, healthy fats include nuts and nut butters, seeds, things like chia seeds, walnuts, eggs, avocados, and oily fish, like salmon, macro-sardines. So the more of these foods that we can include in our diet, the healthier it is for our hormones. And then when it comes to endometriosis, if you have endometriosis, the best thing you can do for your diet is to have a stable blood sugar level as possible. And this is gonna just do so many wonders for your mood, for your physical energy, for your libido, for your pain levels, for so many areas of your life, for your concentration. It just means that your energy is gonna be a little bit more stable throughout the day. It'll be easier waking up. It'll be easier going to bed at night. I just can't recommend it enough. Then the second area of diet considerations for endometriosis self-care is to try to eat as many anti-inflammatory foods as you can. There are books written about the anti inflammatory diet and in particular for people who have endometriosis, so I'm sure you've come across this before, but really put very simply what it essentially is, is to eat as many colors as you can when it comes to vegetables and in particular to eat as many green leafy vegetables. So things like cabbage, broccoli, sprouts, green beans, lettuce, kale, those types of food are going to do wonders for your liver, which helps to detoxify estrogen dominance from your bloodstream. Other anti-inflammatory foods would be things like herbs and spices and foods with lots of fiber, the more fiber you get into your diet as well, the easier it is for your gut and your digestive system to clear excess and estrogen from your body. Because if we don't have enough fiber in our body, what happens is when our stool is sitting in our gut and our gut lining can reabsorb the estrogen into our body and then it gets recycled, and then we get excess estrogen, which can wreck havoc on our hormones. So get plenty of fruits and vegetables and plenty of fiber, eat healthy fats, and if you are going to increase your fiber, make sure that you drink plenty of water or herbal teas as well, just to help keep your system hydrated, and it'll be a lot easier to flush things out. Then when it comes to any kind of elimination from your diet, there's so many different schools of thought on this and people prefer not to eliminate anything, some people do follow a path called intuitive eating, where they use their intuition to discern what foods to eliminate and what to include, and then some follow the different advice that's out there from doctors, from nutritionists, and I personally have tried a few different options and I've seen lots of my clients trying different options. So it's definitely worth trying, getting a book on this topic, or if you feel sensitive to a particular food type to maybe remove that for a few months and see how you get on. Really, this is about your choice and you having informed consent over what to eliminate, and really just only eliminating foods that are necessary, because if we take on an elimination mindset from a place of fear, what can happens is we can end up really restricting, over restricting ourselves and our diet, and then food becomes just to kind of an inner critic and behavior, you know, and we start to fear every time we have a little bit of the foods that we shouldn't eat, or we beat ourselves up if we make a mistake. So this can then cause more stress in the nervous system and the best kind of relationship I personally believe you can have with food when it comes to endometriosis is one of feeling really secure in your relationship with your diet, one of feeling safe, one of feeling informed and one where food is a source of pleasure for you, it's not something that has to be super restrictive or, you know, is the cause of your problems that is not helpful belief to have. So how can you follow a diet that is pleasurable for you, where you still enjoy your food, where you still can meet your loved ones and your friends and family over a meal where you don't feel super restricted, but where you still feel like you have your boundaries, that you've decided that you've created for yourself, and that work for you in the context and the reality of your life. So just a few examples of some of the things that I've seen for myself and for my clients that have helped with endometriosis management in terms of that elimination piece are cow's dairy, so things like yogurt, cheese and milk from cow's dairy, and a little bit of feta cheese and goat's cheese would be okay. It's because there's a certain protein in the cow's dairy that can cause inflammation for the immune system, which can contribute to an inflammation with endometriosis. And then of course the other one is gluten, not everyone sees benefits from this, but I think it's definitely worth trying because a lot of people who have endometriosis get bloating, and that can be as a result of sort of a leaky gut in the bowel, so definitely worth trying gluten-free for a few months, and if you do try an elimination diet, just try and make it super strict for those two months, just to see, and then just make your decision from there. And then I wouldn't necessarily eliminate the following items, but I'd be very, very careful about how much you take in. So they would be alcohol and that's gonna cause so many problems for your hormones if you're drinking a lot of alcohol, so just be mindful of that, sugar and caffeine on any kind of processed foods or unhealthy fats, and unhealthy fats would be trans fats and too many omega-6 fats. So there are the vegetable oils. You really, really wanna bring those foods down, they're just not good for anyone who has endometriosis. And in particular, if you are vegetarian or vegan or you are following a gluten-free diet, just be careful that with some of the processed foods in those diets out there in the market, they do contain a lot of sugar, a lot of salt and in particular a lot of vegetable oils. So just be careful of those, you don't wanna be replacing unhealthy stuff, you know, sort of with the mindset that you're doing something good when actually you're not. So the best type of diet would be one that's like whole foods as much as you can, organic produce where possible, and one that's not too restrictive and that you enjoy and finding recipes that are easy for you to make and that you feel comfortable with. - Hi again, my friends. So in this video we're gonna talk about one of my favorite topics in this field. In all self-care and in particular for endometriosis and this is an education on the nervous system. So we're gonna be looking at a theory called the Polyvagal Theory. And this is an area that I'm really an expert in, super trained in, very experienced in teaching and working with my clients. So I'm going to use this time to give you a brief overview. And if you're interested in more detail about this, don't hesitate to get in touch and we could to work together in this particular area. Or just check out my other course in self-care and the menstrual cycle. And you can learn loads more. So let's dive in. So here we have a slide and I have designed a visual here for this Polyvagal Theory that we're gonna briefly look at. This is referencing a kind of what's called a trauma and formed approach to working with the body. And so, really simply put, every day we are in a state in our nervous system. So you'll see there at the very top, it's kind of like a ladder. There's three sections. There's a section at the top, the middle and the bottom, okay. So we're gonna actually start-- Well, let's start at the bottom. So the very, very bottom is called the Dorsal Vagal, place of the nervous system. This is part of the parasympathetic nervous system. And Dorsal Vagal, it's just fancy language really for the freeze place in the nervous system. This is the place where we go if our nervous system has hijacked our bodies and our brains into this place, it's the freeze response, okay. So what that looks like everyday would be if you feel so exhausted, because you've been through so much trauma that even just putting on a wash is going to be very tiring for you. And really you have to use a lot of energy to get through your days. Sadly this is very common in people who have endometriosis because we carry a lot of trauma. We carry the trauma of being misdiagnosed, having to jump through the hoops in the medical system, going for surgery, not understanding what's going on in our body. That is such huge trauma to not have an understanding of this chronic painful condition. So if you feel like you very regularly are in this Dorsal Vagal, freeze place of the nervous system, I just wanna let you know you are not alone. I've been there too. A lot of my clients spend a lot of time here. And this is a really big piece of work that I work on with people. But this for today, for this video, this is just about understanding this theory. We're not gonna dive deep into our trauma. It's just for understanding so we can start to gain a little bit of control around our nervous system. So again, the Dorsal Vagal, the freeze place, will look like needing to use a lot of energy, feeling frozen, feeling stuck, feeling hopeless, feeling isolated. Not wanting to reach out to people, very depressed. And it can kind of come and go as well. We don't always spend all of our days here. Because we cope through life. If we spend a lot of our time here, it's not really very sustainable in the longterm, especially if you do have hopes and desires to live a more meaningful life and to find healing in your body. So if you recognize yourself as someone who spends a lot of time in the freeze place of the nervous system, I do recommend you reach out to me, maybe we can have a conversation about how we can work together, 'cause I can definitely help you with that. Okay, so thanks for staying with me through that one. Let's move up the ladder into the sympathetic part of the nervous system. So we see in the middle there we have the fight or flight response. You might've heard of that before. That's again, the sympathetic part of the nervous system. That's where adrenaline will kick in. And those hormones make us do stuff, okay. So in a healthy sense the sympathetic nervous system helps us to move through our day, get things checked off our list and to stay motivated, to stay ambitious, to run a race, to run to the bus. So those things, when we get somewhere, go somewhere, we have a goal, we have a target. That's a healthy response of the sympathetic, fight or flight nervous system. But if our whole nervous system is completely hijacked by this fight or flight section, which often also happens if we come from a place of trauma or if we're from a very stressful background or living situation. Then it can be the norm to be in this fight or flight place in the nervous system, okay. So what that looks like is, if it's in an unhealthy way, it would be feeling very overwhelmed, very stressed, confused, directionless, not taking breaks, being afraid to take breaks, a lot of fear. Like fear of if you take a break that you're gonna fail or you're gonna miss out of something. Or if you spend a lot of time comparing yourself to other people, or if you feel in any way threatened regularly or you feel like you're not good enough, that would be a very much fight or flight place of the nervous system. So when it comes to self-care and endometriosis, as I've said before, it's not all bad. We need all these parts of our nervous system. But if we're constantly in fight or flight, that's a lot of adrenaline, that's a lot of cortisol, and what that does is that just throws our sex hormones off balance and it's just not healthy in the long term. So we want to really be at the top of this ladder as much as we can. For optimum health. Okay, so let's look at the very top of the ladder. We have the Ventral Vagal. This is also known as the rest and digest place of the nervous system and this is when we feel really safe in ourselves and in our body. And it's just a really healthy place to be in the nervous system. But sadly, most of us don't live here very often because we haven't been told and our society doesn't create an environment for this to be the case. So when it comes to people like us with endometriosis we need to start carving and designing a live for ourselves where we can be in Ventral Vagal as much as we can and if we're doing that, we're winning. We really, really are. So what the Ventral Vagal part of the nervous system looks like, it looks like feeling in flow, it looks like feeling safe, feeling confident, feeling connected, feeling a sense of belonging with other people, with your community. Feeling trust, feeling that you are enough and what you've done is enough. So when it comes to all of the other videos and all the things that I've just said in the previous videos of this course, it's that place of you know, just doing your best and feeling like that's enough and you don't have to do it perfectly. And that's okay. Because if we try and push this perfectionism when it comes to endometriosis, we're operating from a place of the middle part of the nervous system, the fight or flight. And we're using a lot of cortisol and adrenaline. What happens is when we're in the Ventral place, the rest and digest place of the nervous system, our nervous system regulates a lot more. We're using a lot less stress hormones and that is so good for pain, for our immune system, for our mental health, for endometriosis, for inflammation, for all of those things. So I really, really want you to think about prioritizing how can you climb up the leader more and more every day. So if you want more guidance in climbing your ladder and understanding your nervous system, don't hesitate to reach out to me and we can do some work around this 'cause it's such an important part of endometriosis. But in the meantime, just think about the little things in your day that help you to climb your ladder to move up into Ventral Vagal and how you can start to spend a little bit more time in Ventral Vagal. - Hi, again. This video we're gonna talk about cycle tracking and a practice called menstrual cycle awareness. I'm gonna give you an overview of what this is and how important it is for endometriosis. But if you'd like more information about this, you can go to the other course, "Self Care and the Menstrual Cycle", and learn about that. Or you can reach out to me and do some work with me. So, simply put, tracking your menstrual cycle essentially means being aware of what day you're on in your menstrual cycle every day, and that being relevant in your life. So, you can use an app for this. There is lots of apps that you can download and you can just pop in what day of your menstrual cycle you're on. And then your app, every day, will remember where you are and every now and then you can check to see what day you're on in your cycle. And the reason this is so helpful is because then you're not taken off guard when your period comes. Or if you get pain with ovulation, you can predict that. Or you can just generally predict your periods. You can predict your PMS and you can start to build self-care around your menstrual cycle every week of the month. This is such an important part of the personal responsibility piece, because it's free. All you have to do is put day one into your app or into your diary, and just keep an eye on where you are in your menstrual cycle. There's not really much more you have to do other than that. And over time, you'll start to build a relationship with your cycle and you'll get to know the nuances of how you experience your body and your cycle as you journey the menstrual cycle. Because, something to really understand, and two really important points that I'd like to make, is that, especially when it comes to endometriosis, or any other kind of gynecological condition around the menstrual cycle, is that, it's not just about menstruation. It's actually the whole month, every day of the month, that's important. Because our mental health will change. Our nervous system is gonna change. Our self-care, therefore, needs to change. And our physical symptoms, even our food cravings and our energy and our libido, they change all throughout the month. And if we're only focusing on menstruation, we're missing a huge opportunity to practice self-care that can actually offset and prevent really painful periods. So, that's cycle tracking. I recommend you use your diary and an app. I actually like to use both. And then the second part of that is menstrual cycle awareness, which is looking at your menstrual cycle in terms of the seasons of the year. So your menstrual week would be winter. That's low energy. If you think about the winter, it's a quiet, dark, inward-facing time. Take as much rest as you can, ask for help, go easy on yourself, don't let your inner critic in here. Just take it gently. Prepare some meals in advance and just let yourself off the hook for a couple of days. And then after mensuration, we have inner spring and that's when estrogen starts to come in again. It's, you know, usually for people with endometriosis, there's a lot of relief here 'cause we're out of that pain experience. But if we push ourselves too much during our inner spring, which is the week after menstruation, we can end up burning out at ovulation. So I really recommend just easing out from a kind of a mindset point of view, an energetic point of view, from your period. Don't overdo it because it's very easy to burn out here and just keep refilling your cup, practicing self-care, especially after your periods. Then when we come into the other half of the cycle, we have ovulation, which is the opposite of menstruation. This is the inner summer. This is the high energy time. The time where we're fertile. Estrogen is at its highest. It's usually a very resilient time in terms of mental health. Now, if you get a lot of pain here with ovulation, that would be one indication of endometriosis or a fibroid or a cyst or something, I thought, so it's worth getting that checked with your gynecologist or with your doctor. But yeah, it is generally a really good energy time. So if you're someone who suffers a lot during menstruation, I would encourage you to really make the most of your inner summer, show yourself to the world, be in your confident self, go on dates, enjoy your sex life. Enjoy pleasure. Just give yourself, you know, compensate for the down time that you took in inner winter. Then after the inner summer, after ovulation, our estrogen drops. And then a couple of days later, we get an increase in progesterone after we ovulate. This means that our energy starts to drop. We kind of, it's not as high energy or even as manic as the inner summer. The first maybe five, six days of it would be still quite high energy, it's a good time for getting things done, for setting boundaries. But then as we start to come into the menstrual phase, the inner winter phase, energy really starts to decline here and we can get a lot of PMS. So this is really important in terms of self-care. The most important week, in my opinion, in terms of diet, getting your fiber up, getting your fluids up, your anti-inflammatory eating, and just kind of preparing your nest for menstruation. And if you are like me, someone who has endometriosis, one or two days before your period, you can also take painkillers during this time. I like to take ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory painkiller, 'cause it can help bring down those prostaglandin levels in the blood system. Always consult with your doctor or your pharmacist about what kind of medication is appropriate for you. So, as I said before, if you need any help or support with your menstrual cycle awareness journey, 'cause there's a lot, it goes into a lot more detail. And you're struggling with implementing it into your everyday life, reach out to me and I can help you. - So let's take a look at some restorative poses to support period pain or prevent it. What you'll need really, is a few cushions, a bolster or a thick towel. So the first one is a supported child's pose. So placing the bolster in between your knees, and you can rest on a blanket and just leaning forward into the bolster, spreading your knees, keeping your feet together. And this is a great pose for period pain because it supports the chest. It supports the hips and gives the lower back a nice stretch. So you can rest your head on one side and then turning over whenever you want. And just spending as much time here as you need, just breathing, maybe gently rocking from side to side. I find this one of my favorite poses for period pain. And you can stroke the lower back, pull the skin, pull the fascia down, encouraging that downward movement of qi. Maybe taking a shawl or a scarf, or even a towel and just taking it behind your lower back, and what you want is, you want it to be nice and taut. So just pulling it on both sides at the top of your pelvis, and then resting your head forward and pulling the lower back down with the shawl or scarf, just the skin, so pulling the skin down. And you can do this yourself, or you can get someone to do this for you, and just breathing here. This is great for when you're menstruating and you're really suffering with pain, and just pulling the lower back down really gently. Again, you can do this yourself, or you can have a friend or partner to do this for you. And they might stroke your back in downward movements from the top of the spine down to the base, and just resting here, letting yourself breathe and just adjusting anywhere that's uncomfortable. So that is the supported child's pose, a great one for pain relief, or preventing pain and relaxing the nervous system. Next, I'm going to show you the second pose which can be very helpful for period pain. And it's not for everyone. I really like this pose. So bringing that body into a prone position where you're just lying forward on your mat with as many blankets as you need. And what you're doing is you're placing your forehead in the palms of your hands. So placing one hand on top of the other and placing your forehead in your palms. And by doing that, it's a very soothing position. And then just letting the feet, letting the hips open, feet nice and far apart, as comfortable as you want. And then just letting the feet flop open and just relaxing there and breathing here into the pelvis, letting the hips drop, letting gravity pull the weight down and just letting your head relax into the palms of your hand. It's as though somebody is holding you and soothing your forehead. This can be a very nourishing pose for the body. Just staying here as long as you want. And then when you lift up, you can come into a cobra and then a child's pose just to stretch out the spine again. Just take as much time as you need. And then the third thing I'd like to show you is something called the womb wrap. So taking a shawl or scarf, I recommend a shawl or scarf that you really like in a nice color, and wrapping it around your lower tummy, your womb area, and wrapping it in, so you're creating a kind of a holding, like a little pouch, just tucking it in, wrapping it around nice and tight, tucking it in at the back. And you can wear this under dresses or under long coats during the day. No one has to know. It's a lovely way to add both warmth and holding to your womb, and it can make a big difference for relaxing any cramps and supporting the nervous system. So the next pose I'm going to show you is called Supta Baddha Konasana or the reclined cobbler's pose. So grabbing a bolster and grabbing some books, or you can use some blocks if you have yoga blocks, something that you can pop under the bolster or cushion and keep it reclined. I do encourage and advise to get a bolster. It's definitely something that you can get a lot of use out of because there's a lot of different poses that the bolster can be used for, and then having a few cushions and blankets near you for all your yoga movement practices and grabbing lots of blankets here. So I've tilted the bolster out a bit, at a bit of an angle with some books. I'm getting a blanket just to soften the ground for my legs and my feet and my hips. And this can take a while to set up. So you're putting the bolster at the angle, putting your pelvis down. Your lower back is then supported by the bolster, bringing the lower back into the bolster, feet out and you can pop a cushion under your head. And then bring your feet up, feet together, and then you can bring your knees apart. So I'm grabbing a blanket here. It can just take a while to kind of feel comfortable. So just take your time with this, but you will get there. And you can put a cushion under your bum as well and under your hands. I have a little eye pillow. And the whole idea is just to rest there. And it's an opening for the chest and the hips. Your feet are together and your knees are apart. And it's just a nice opener. It allows the qi to move, allows the nervous system to relax. So you're not doing anything in this pose. It's a still pose. And staying there for 15, 20 minutes. And then when you come out, very gently bring the knees together. Stretch out the legs and lie there for a few more minutes, let the feet roll. Just relaxing there. This can be something that you can do every week, not just when you're having period pain. And the last thing that I'm going to show you with the bolster is just a side lying position, which is nice if you experience a lot of pain in the evening. You can even have the bolster in bed, just lying on your side. And with one knee up on the bolster, bending up at a nice 90 degree angle. This is great for any kind of pain in the hips, lower back pain. Also great if you're pregnant. You can also put the bolster behind you to support the lower back and the spine. If you want to just rest and you feel like you need a little bit of back support or the feeling that someone has your back. This is a nice thing to do as well. Just breathing there. So that's it. - Hello, my friends. In this short video, I'm going to briefly touch on the topic of speaking to your employer if you have endometriosis and you need support with this. So if you're in a position where you are working in a job and you have endometriosis and there's a bit of a clash in terms of your needs and endometriosis is impacting the way that you show up in your work or there's something going on, it might mean that you need to have a conversation with your employer. So it really is gonna be a case-by-case basis, so I'm just gonna give some general things for you to just to think about. And if you want more guidance or support with this, this is something that I do offer in my coaching, in my one-to-one coaching, so you can reach out to me and I can help you with that. So firstly to think about, is there an HR department or HR team in your organization? And if so, just inquire, like what kind of support they offer any people with any kind of illness or disability or anything like this, because endometriosis, when it comes to an employment point of view would sit under disability rights. Then the second thing to think about is that perhaps you can get your doctor to support you with this conversation. So to get, if you do have a diagnosis of endometriosis, do you have a letter from a GP or a surgeon that can be written by them to your employer, asking for any kind of accommodation that needs to be made in your work life? This can really, really help to build a case for yourself. And then lastly, the third thing is that every employer in most countries, they have a duty of care towards their employees. This is a legal requirement, meaning that while the employees working in the workplace, the employee is, it causes a kind of responsibility over the care of their staff. So for example, if you're working in an office and you don't get any breaks at all, and they're not giving you any breaks, they would be not adhering to their duty of care. So it's important to get really clear on what the legal requirements are in your country around holidays, break times, even maternity leave, things like that, and then, checking to see if your employer is adhering to these legal requirements. Then if you do have a formal diagnosis of endometriosis, what you can do is, under the Duty of Care Act, you can request an accommodation be made by your employer. So that essentially means you're asking them for flexibility. So if you work in an office, can you do the same work but from home when you're in pain? Or if you're having a vulnerable day in terms of endometriosis, can you do the same work another day? Or is there, you know, are you working shifts? So having a conversation about that with your employer is gonna help both of you, because, essentially, your employer wants you to be able to show up for work and do your job, and you don't wanna have to be in pain because of your work. So they might need to make an adjustment or be flexible in some ways so that you can show up for work as best as you can. So yeah, do some research around those things, do a little bit of journaling, and build a case for yourself, get confident in what you want to say and then speak to your employer. - Hi there. If you are someone who has watched this course because you are caring for someone, or there's someone in your life, a loved one who has endometriosis, I thank you. Firstly, for joining us and for listening to all this content on this condition. It's so important that you guys are part of this journey because the people who have endometriosis, we can't do it alone. We need support, and yeah, we just really, really appreciate it. So thank you for being here with us. And so I'm gonna share with you just a few ideas with how you can continue to support a loved one through endometriosis. So number one would be education. There's so much education that we have to take on as people with endometriosis. So just being there as part of that journey, being on the team of your loved one, helping them understand, helping them read, helping them research, helping them speak to doctors, to professionals like me, to other people, can just be such a game changer. It takes a lot of pressure off the person who is the one in pain. Then the second thing would be listening and just bringing your presence to the person's experience. When someone has a chronic condition like this, usually their nervous system is very riled up. Having compassionate care. Having just someone present with them who isn't needing to like fix all the time and wanting to find the answers, but who can just be there in our discomfort, holding space for someone in difficulty, in a mental health crisis, in a chronic pain flare up, just being there without needing to have to fix it is really, really powerful. Because if we do go into a place of like really wanting something to be fixed, or really wanting to find the answer for a loved one, that's usually coming from our own discomfort with not being able to resolve it. So just to bear that in mind, that with endometriosis there is no quick fix. There is no overnight solution. And the people who suffer with this really, really need support from people who can just be present in a difficult situation. And then the third little piece of advice would be to ask. To ask questions, to ask your loved one what they need, what they would like, what would help them. Make suggestions. Maybe if it's your partner who has endometriosis maybe think about ways that you can share the workload at home, or parenting, or offer to support them with meals, things like that. I personally, I love it when my partner gives me a cup of tea when I'm in pain, or makes me a hot water bottle. It feels so much better when it comes from him than from myself. And it just means it's just one less trip for me to the kitchen. And that can make a huge difference to my pain levels. So don't underestimate your role. Don't underestimate what you can and can't offer, even if you can only offer in your day a quick cup of tea, or a quick chat, or even a hug. It can really, really do wonders for someone who is in need. So offer what you can, and know that it's enough. And then lastly, the last thing I'll say is that, from personal experience it can be very difficult to be a loved one of someone who has endometriosis, because endometriosis can seem like a very doom and gloom area with no answers and very little support from the medical system. So similar to anyone who has a chronic pain condition, it's really, really important for the person caring for them to really care for themselves and to have their own boundaries. So if you are caring for someone with endometriosis it's super important that you look after yourself and that you look after your boundaries, and that you don't lose yourself in the negativity and in the victim mindset that can come more in the doom and gloom. Because you're not going to be use to anyone if that happens. So get really clear on what you can offer, what you can't offer. Get clear on what your needs are in terms of your own self care. And make the communication as easy as you can with your loved one. And I promise you if you follow this advice and take these steps, particularly the last piece, your support is gonna be so much more sustainable and so much more authentic and filled with integrity for your loved one. So I would hate to see you burning out as someone who cares for someone with endometriosis, because then no one gets anything, you know. So really important to remember that. - In this video, we're going to talk about what endometriosis is. So you might have already researched endometriosis and what it is and read a couple of definitions. So I'm not gonna go into huge amounts of detail, but I am going to debunk a few myths and perhaps give you some information you may not have heard from your doctor or read on the internet. And this, again as I said is all evidence-based and I'm gonna provide a further resources document at the end of the course for you to read up on more if you're interested in more detailed reading. Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition. It's an immune dysfunction that impacts people who have a menstrual cycle. And it is where there are tissues and cells that are similar to the uterine lining, so the walls of the womb or the uterus, that have somehow found themselves displaced and outside of the uterus. So the cells that are kind of, they are microscopically very similar to the uterine lining are found outside the uterus. Now, why does this cause pain and what happens then? What's wrong with having displaced cells? Well, what happens then is because every month when a woman menstruates, when estrogen drops, when progesterone drops, when hormones drop, the brain sends a message to the womb to shed the lining of the womb and that is menstruation. That's a woman's period. And so the uterus starts to contract and then we have our period. The problem is is that when we have cells outside the uterus that are similar to uterine cells, they also pick up the message from the brain that those cells also need to shed. And those cells outside the uterus then start producing their own estrogen supply. They become inflamed and the whole area becomes an inflammatory area. And what happens is, is there's a lot of nerves in the pelvis where those different cells are placed that are linked to the nervous system, the autonomic nervous system. And so what then happens is the immune system sends a message to the body, to the brain that there's an invader in our body and it needs to be attacked. So it's kind of like the immune system starts to attack the cells to try to get rid of them, but it can't get rid of them 'cause there's nowhere for them to go. So that then causes even more inflammation. It causes what's called an autonomic nervous system response in the nervous system and causes various types of pain symptoms, which I'm gonna go into in detail in a minute. So how do these cells get there? There are some theories that the cells outside the uterus get there through called retrograde menstruation, which is where menstruation flows backwards up the fallopian tubes and out, but there's not a lot of research to support this. There is actually new research, which is super interesting that supports the finding that these uterine cells outside the uterus are actually placed and displaced in utero. Meaning that when you were a baby in your mother's womb, it's kind of like a little bit like a birth defect when the uterus was being created in your mom's womb, when you were a tiny baby and the cells just got displaced. And then what happened then was as you entered puberty in your teens, those cells started to respond to the hormonal changes in the brain and then they start to create a lot of inflammation and pain. The average diagnosis period for endometriosis is between seven and 12 or 13 years, depending on what country you are in. And the reason for that is, is because the only way currently to diagnose endometriosis in most countries is through what's called a laparoscopy, which I'm gonna talk about in the next video, which is the surgery that I mentioned before. And so when the gynecologist operates on you and looks for endometriosis, what they're looking for is kind of like these black dots, these cells in and around the uterus, around the ovaries and at the back of the uterus, near the bowels as well, but in reality it's not true that there are only endometriosis that presents in black form. So endometriosis can actually present in all different shapes, sizes and different colors, which is why, like I said before general gynecology, unfortunately aren't skilled and trained enough to properly treat it. Whereas expert surgeons have the tools and the expertise and the experience to recognize the different ways that endometriosis can present. It can even just present as like white fibrous kind of tissue that looks healthy, but actually isn't. And once the doctor does what's called a biopsy and runs tests in the lab after surgery, they can then confirm if it's endometriosis or not. So lastly, I'd like to talk about the different types of symptoms that you can get with endometriosis. So the first one is pain, chronic pain. If you are someone who had to miss school because of your period pain, or you had to miss a lot of hours in work, it's highly likely that you might have endometriosis. You could also have another gynecological condition, but it is very likely that you have endometriosis. You do not have to have an irregular cycle for endometriosis. People who have endometriosis have regular cycles and irregular cycles, so that is not a classic symptom of it. Other symptoms include pain with urination, pain with bowel movements particularly around menstruation, pain with sexual intercourse, pain with ovulation as well, and a lot of bloating, especially in the pre-menstrual phase. So let's talk about pain in a little bit more detail. There is a few different types of pain. So one type is called somatic pain that's where you get for example, if I was to cut my hand, I would have a pain here, it's very localized and it's clear that my hand is sore and my brain is sending a message to my hand that there is something happened here that needs to be cared for. So that's called somatic pain, and that can happen with endometriosis. You might get a pain in a particular part of your tummy when you're going to the toilet or if you're having sex, it can be very specific area that you get pain. So that's somatic pain. But then there's also something called visceral pain, which is where like I said before, when the nodules of endometriosis in the pelvis are responding to hormonal fluctuations and they start to get very inflamed and sore and then the immune system starts to attack them. The autonomic nervous system starts to come in and wants to protect us so that we'll throw various symptoms such as fainting, feeling very, very fatigued, feeling lightheaded, having dilated pupils, sweating, a lot of thirst and being dehydrated. Those kinds of like nervous system symptoms are also indicators of endometriosis because it's the autonomic nervous system that is responding to the invader, the threat, the inflammation in the pelvis. And the pelvis is actually where we do have a lot of nerve endings that are linked to the autonomic nervous system. So I really hope that helps you understand a little bit more in detail about what endometriosis is, what it isn't, the various symptoms that can present and you know, how it would look as well if you were going to get surgery. So it's really important to know these facts about endometriosis, because sadly, it's my professional experience and the experience of many, many people around the world that general practitioners or doctors aren't trained enough to understand all those symptoms. And then what happens is then people are getting misdiagnosed or it's taking them a very long time to get diagnosed. One example I have is a client who does have endometriosis, where she was diagnosed eventually, but her original doctor who she went to said that she didn't have endometriosis, because if she did have endometriosis, she would have pain all month long and that's not true. There's many people who have endometriosis who only have pain when they're menstruating or there's people who have pain all month long, or those people have pain at ovulation. There is also lots of teenagers who have endometriosis. Sadly, there's a misconception that teenagers don't have endometriosis but it is not true and there's lots of research to show that. So again, it's really important to take personal responsibility to learn about this condition and to advocate for ourselves.