For decades, endometriosis – a chronic condition that affects 1 in 10 people born with uteruses – has been deeply misunderstood, under-diagnosed and under-treated. Recent efforts to raise awareness about this painful disease have increased the amount of information and resources for those seeking answers, but there’s still work to be done.
Endometriosis currently has no cure.
On average, endometriosis can take up to 6 to 10 years to diagnose. Most often, symptoms such as painful periods are dismissed by healthcare practitioners as, well, painful periods. But the disease is far more complicated than just a bad few days each month, and under-diagnosis leaves many sufferers without access to treatment or relief.
Adding insult to injury, over-the-counter drugs traditionally used to manage menstrual pain, like Advil and Aleve, can be harsh on sensitive stomachs (an area of the body often affected by endometriosis).
But plant-based treatments can be a gentler way to settle inflammation caused by endometriosis.
Casey Bowen, a Wholesale Manager from Foria Wellness – an innovative sexual health and wellness brand – has personal experience with the power of plants to heal and soothe the symptoms of endometriosis.
“One of the reasons that I was drawn to Foria as a company came after using our Awaken Arousal Oil in 2019. I have been a sufferer of endometriosis for almost 15 years now. For most of my adult life, I thought that my life trajectory would primarily be painful both physically and emotionally.
It was difficult for me to intimately connect with my partners because of the painful intercourse I was having, and I did not have great luck in my career search because every month I would be out of commission, battling excruciating pain that could not be dulled enough to get out of bed.
[But] after becoming a Foria employee, I was introduced to Foria Relief Suppositories, a cocoa butter and CBD formulated product to battle the pelvic pain that I had sadly learned to “deal” with. I can say that Forias Relief Line of products does well with customers.”
Through plant-based options, Casey managed to shift her relationship with endometriosis.
Keep reading to find out how plant-based options can enhance your – or a loved one’s – wellness journey.
Endometriosis is a disorder in which the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus, otherwise known as the endometrium, grows outside of the uterus. Most commonly, endometrial tissue can grow around the ovaries, bowels, and fallopian tubes. But it can also grow in other areas of the body.
Symptoms of the disease vary from person to person. So it’s fair to say that endometriosis operates on a spectrum.
Some individuals experience painful periods but have relief during the rest of the month, while others experience pain on a daily basis. Pelvic pain that accompanies the condition can also affect bowel movements and thus digestive track, making the stomach particularly sensitive.
Other symptoms of endometriosis can include one or more of the following:
- Long or heavy periods
- Severe cramps
- Bleeding between periods
- Pain with penetration
- Lower back pain
- Leg pain
Holistic Treatment Options for Endometriosis
Traditional treatments for endometriosis include:
But if traditional treatments are not effective or unavailable, consult your doctor or healthcare provider about trying plant-based treatments.
Below, we offer some botanical solutions that may help you along your journey to wellness and comfort.
Made from two ingredients – organic MCT and organic whole-plant hemp extract – this Bloom Farms tincture provides full body relief from inflammation.
Click here for more information on CBD’s pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory qualities.
Allevita’s unique formula utilizes green tea extract, vitamin B6, cramp bark, magnesium, and hemp, all of which work together to stabilize hormonal fluctuations that occur during menstruation.
Suppositories provide local relief for muscular relaxation and inflammation.
If you’re more comfortable with products for external use, try their Relief Salve with CBD & Kava.
This salve absorbs quickly into the skin and gently moisturizes and soothes any areas of discomfort.
With 600mg of CBD in each jar, this soothing balm will help you feel more like yourself.
Bowen advocates for additional products found at Foria as well:
“In my personal experience Foria’s Relief Line (Relief Bath Salts with Eucalyptus, Kava, and CBD, Relief Pain Salve, and Relief Suppositories) has been a game changer for my suffering.
I use this entire line of products before and during my period visits and am beyond grateful to have access to them…
Personally, I believe that focusing on wellness and relief goes hand and hand with pleasure and intimacy. I use the tonic the relief supps the bath salts- almost daily almost as a continued practice to improve my quality of life as someone who has Endometriosis.
Taking the Wellness Tonics daily for anxiety and stress seems to help with my flare ups every month as my body tends not to remain in a constant state of panic/stress. I have a weekly (sometimes even nightly) ritual of using Foria Bath Salts (ALL Salts; Intimacy, Relief, and Wellness), to also keep my body and muscles happy.
Then, once my time of the month comes around my product focus is Forias' Relief Line
- 1st, Relief Suppository
- 2nd Relief Bath Salt Soak
- 3rd Relief Pain Salve
- and another Supp. Before bed.
This ritual has helped to reduce my pain levels, allowing me to continue working and living my life as normal. Using Forias Intimacy products has allowed me to FINALLY be able to enjoy penetrative sex with my partner.
They have also reignited and added new and exciting intimate experiences to my life that I am forever grateful for.”
Explore the healing properties in everyday herbs. Several provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to ease discomfort.
- Curcumin is the active ingredient present in turmeric and has been linked to reducing painful endometriosis symptoms. With anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin can soothe the body while reducing estradiol production.
- Chamomile can also soothe discomfort due to endometriosis. In 2018, a study asserted that the main compound found in chamomile, chrysin, may suppress the growth of endometrial cells.
- Peppermint has many antioxidant properties. Some studies have found that peppermint supplements can help to reduce and ease pelvic pain from endometriosis as well as typical menstrual cramps.
- Lavender is an aromatherapeutic pain reliever and can also relieve severe menstrual cramps according to a 2015 study.
- Ginger is loaded with antioxidants that can help to reduce pain related to endometriosis or menstruation. Additionally, ginger has been found to treat various forms of nausea.
- Cinnamon, clove, rose, and lavender is a unique blend of herbs that has been found to reduce menstrual pain and bleeding according to a 2013 study.
- Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb commonly used in Ayurveda, a form of alternative medicine and natural healing. In relieving stress, ashwagandha can assist individuals who suffer from endometriosis as studies have found that their bodies tend to hold higher levels of cortisol.
Endometriosis affects each individual differently. Some sufferers have reported that changes in their diet have allowed them to better manage the condition.
The relationship between endometriosis and food is still under-researched, but below are a couple of ground rules on diet that can help you live a healthier lifestyle and may help you tolerate and manage pain.
Avoid trans fat
Trans fats found in processed foods increase the shelf life of such products. But for individuals with endometriosis, trans fat can actually worsen certain symptoms due to their increased levels of bad cholesterol.
In general, trans fat is best to be avoided as it triggers other health concerns.
Limit red meat and gluten
Some studies have suggested that a higher intake of red meat may be linked with having higher levels of estrogen in the blood. As an estrogen-dependent disease, endometriosis and its symptoms may increase with higher quantities of red meat.
Additionally, other studies have found that individuals with endometriosis pain have benefitted from a gluten-free diet.
Increase Omega-3 Fats
Omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory properties that can help combat pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis. Foods that are packed with these healthy fats include fatty fish like salmon or mackerel and plant proteins like flax seeds and chia seeds.
Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
As good sources of dietary fiber, fruits, veggies, and whole grains offer a ton of antioxidants. These properties help to combat inflammation while dietary fiber can decrease estrogen levels in the body.
Limit caffeine and alcohol
Many health professionals will often recommend limiting caffeine and alcohol intake. While limiting alcohol has not been clearly linked to a decrease in risk or symptoms of endometriosis, caffeine tends to increase estrogen levels.
Avoid processed foods
Processed foods can be packed with unhealthy fats and sugar, leaving you with empty carbs and lacking in essential nutrients and fiber. These properties can often promote pain and inflammation.
Exercise and Alternative Therapies
- Meditation can enhance your ability to deal with endometriosis as it promotes mindfulness. As a disease that is both physically and emotionally draining, endometriosis tends to increase your stress. So practicing mindfulness can help to combat more severe symptoms.
- Yoga teaches your body’s pain responders to relax. As endometriosis causes tension in the abdomen and pelvis, yoga can help to release such tension. Through breathwork, yoga can also help you to reduce how you experience discomfort.
- Acupuncture can help the body increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, and cause endorphins to be released. All of these healing properties may help your battle with endometriosis.
Advocating For Yourself
Ultimately, endometriosis is a chronic condition that requires one’s physical, mental, and emotional resilience. While this article is certainly not an exhaustive list of plant-based treatment options, it can hopefully get you started in your journey to advocate for yourself.
Bowen similarly reinforces that clients advocate for their specific needs:
“I cannot speak for all sufferers of pelvic issues as to how our products work for them, everyone is different, all cases are different, and many experiences may be different from one person to another.
[But] my goal at Foria is to continue introducing more and more small business owners to Forias unique product line in the hopes that Foria can change more lives for the better!...
The industry is blowing up and Foria was the first of its kind. Opening our hearts as a brand to the countless women who suffer from pelvic pain and intimacy issues whether they be mental or physical, gives me more pride in my work than I thought possible.
The employees at Foria care on such a deep level about the customers who use our products. It shows in our sustainability efforts and organic, clean product offerings. Afterall, we are mothers, daughters, sons, fathers, sisters, brothers, sufferers, and lovers of the earth and humanity.
The drive to make the world a better place than when we leave it seems to be in the forefront of everyone’s minds. It is an extremely rewarding company and brand to work for and I hope that in the next few years everyone in the US will have heard, discussed, or used Foria products.”
The hardest part of this disease is making changes that work uniquely for you.
We hope these plant-based options can help you along your journey. Any questions? Please reach out to us, we’re always here to help.