As an endo-warrior, I’ve constantly dealt with the various ups and downs of endometriosis. One of the most frustrating symptoms of this disease, though, is endo-belly.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to fix endo-belly, as there’s no cure for endometriosis. But there are a few ways you can reduce flare-ups and manage your endo-belly.
What is endometriosis
Firstly, let’s get the definition of endometriosis out of the way.
Simply, endo is a condition where endometrial tissue grows outside of your uterus. This often leads to extremely painful periods and a host of other debilitating symptoms.
- Irregular periods
- Excessive periods
- Pain with bowel movements or urination
- Pain during sex
- Severe PMS
Living with Endo is not easy. Before being diagnosed, and beginning treatment, I experienced most of these symptoms, often feeling as though there was no reason for them.
One of the worst, though, has to be what many women with endometriosis call “endo-belly.” I initially thought it was due to eating the wrong foods. Now I know it’s a direct result of living with Endo.
By definition, endo-belly is the sudden and severe bloating for seemingly no reason. Often, the bloating can be so extreme that it can make you look pregnant and can lead to discomfort and pain.
No one knows exactly why endo-belly occurs. But there are a few theories.
Some believe that the tissue growing outside the womb can cause inflammation of the nearby tissue. This could ultimately cause water retention, swelling, and bloating. Another theory suggests that endo-warriors have a sensitive gut, which can lead to swelling, constipation, and other digestive problems.
I’ve noticed that sometimes my endo flares up, resulting in a particularly bad endo-belly bloat when I’m not even on my period. And I’ve noticed that this seems to be a trend with various other endo-warriors.
While there’s no cure, you can manage your endo symptoms and endo-belly with these few tips.
Adjust your diet
No matter how severe your symptoms may be, adjusting your diet will do you wonders. You should avoid foods that cause gas and bloating, including gluten, certain vegetables like cauliflower or broccoli, and processed foods high in sugar and fat. And, if you’re sensitive to dairy, it might be time to say goodbye to cheese.
Instead, you should incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. These include leafy greens (like spinach), fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and fruits.
Drinking plenty of water and maintaining a high-fibre diet can also help reduce bloating.
Change your lifestyle
One of the best ways to fight your endo symptoms and endo-belly is to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine. Keeping fit helps improve gastrointestinal function, which can reduce your bloating, and help fight other endo symptoms, such as depression.
Yoga and Pilates can be helpful due to their focus on core strength and stress reduction.
Additionally, ensuring adequate sleep and adopting stress-reduction techniques like meditation or deep-breathing exercises can positively impact overall health and potentially reduce the severity of endo-belly.
What about meds?
Yes, there are medications out there that can assist you in managing your endometriosis. Your doctor might recommend a few, but I have been on a treatment plan for several years, and it does not always reduce all the symptoms, including endo-belly.
It’s best to talk to your OBGYN about the best medications for your specific case.
Treating the symptoms
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you’ll swell up and experience waves of endo symptoms. The only way to manage that is to treat them as they happen.
Try walking when you’re experiencing a flare-up – especially if you’re not feeling up to a full-blown workout. Afterwards, a warm bath might help, and drinking some peppermint and ginger tea (which will help reduce period pain too BTW).
Living with endo and experiencing endo-belly isn’t easy and it can be draining. But luckily, there are several ways you can manage it.
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