Hi. I am Larissa. I am a pharmacist and blogger. I am living with endometriosis. I am also living with chronic pain. I want to share my story with you today.
My endometriosis story
I was diagnosed with ENDOMETRIOSIS in 2014, 16 years ago. Numerous surgeries and medical treatments later: I now have it in my abdomen, bladder and pelvic area. It is present in areas where it can’t be removed. This causes severe chronic pain.
I have had my appendix and fallopian tubes removed. I am childless and will remain so. I am not writing this article for pity. I want to create awareness. If I am able to help at least one person that will be great!
My chronic Pain story
I am currently on meds that block the pain signals in my brain. This helps with my chronic pain. I do experience breakthrough pain often. Sometimes, its mild and responds to regular painkillers. Sometimes its crippling. It lasts for days. I am unable to stand up straight or walk. No exaggeration.
When Drs tell you that they can’t help you, you have no choice but to help yourself. You become an advocate for your own health. You have to find your own solutions. You may not be able to cure yourself, but you can find things that will make you feel better.
Things that help
So, I am going to share according to my experiences, things that help me to cope and a bonus 3 tips on things that make it worse.
Some of these tips may seem like common sense to you. But remember that when you are faced with extreme or severe pain, you can’t think clearly. It helps to have a written down plan or notes to refer to.
Rest, rest, rest
Heat pads, heat packs, electric water bottle or warm baths really soothe pain especially period pain.
Magnesium or Epsom salt soaks
Deep breathing exercises
Netflix and chill with the hot water bottle and chocolate
Green tea: to help with the brain fog and to detox from all the pain meds
Dark chocolate or your own favourite foods
Gratitude: even for simple things like friends and family
Journaling: emotional release is very therapeutic
A creative hobby: this has been life changing for me. My blog is a welcome distraction where I focus my mind and energy towards creating content. I forget about the pain.
Positive affirmations: say them when you feel like only. Having no time to say them is not an excuse. Say them when you are brushing your teeth or walking from your car to your office.
Cry out loud if you feel like. You may feel better than keeping all those emotions in.
Warm soothing drinks. Less coffee more turmeric lattes, tea, , chicory or rooibos. I find earl grey tea particular soothing.
Eat nutritious meals that are easy to digest.
Have faith. Pray.
Try Be joyful.
Dress up, do your hair and makeup and keep up with your grooming. When you look in the mirror you will feel better. When you look good you feel good.
Wear comfortable clothing. I do not own a pair of jeans. After so many surgeries in my abdomen they are impossible to wear. I only wear pants with elasticated waists. Make adjustments to what suits you best.
Wear clothes that you feel confident in. Have go to outfits that you don’t need to fuss about. You will have one less thing to worry about like is my tummy looking bloated in this top.
You know your body better than anyone. Listen to your body.
Write down what helps with this episode in a notebook together with other useful tips. Next time if you experience pain, you can refer to it.
Things that are unhelpful
Feeling sorry for yourself. Why Me mentality is not going to solve anything. Everyone goes through something in life. You rather own it or it will own you.
What did I do to cause this pain? Was it my diet? Lack of exercise? Stress? A bad habit? If there was a probable cause then there would be a cure. Don’t beat yourself up. Rather help yourself feel better. Even if it was something you ate that aggravated the pain, you can’t undo it. You can learn from it.
Worrying about sick days. This one is particularly hard for me. There are many times when I take leave without pay because I choose to rest and recover. I remind myself that I did not choose to be sick. Prioritise your health. It is your greatest wealth. Redo your budget. Try to save money elsewhere. You may find this previous article interesting.
I hope that you found this useful. If you did please do share this article with someone who is also experiencing a debilitating illness or will benefit from these tips.
Please do share your own tips on how you cope with endometriosis or chronic pain in the comments section below. I would love to know what helps you or if you or someone close to you suffers from endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Covid-19 is here. Even though the daily stats of new positive cases are decreasing, we cannot let our guard down. The devastating impact hits home hard when a loved one tests positive. There is no cure and most of us will have to wait a long time to get the vaccine. So when a loved one tests positive, what do you do next?
Last week my husband tested positive with covid-19. His initial symptoms were mild but he quickly began to detoeriate.Here is a collection of medical advice and tips that helped him a lot. The advice came from medical practioners who are treating many covid-19 positive cases and from family and friends that also test positive with covid-19.
PRACTICAL TIPS TO HELP A COVID-19 POSITIVE PATIENT
Do not sleep on your back. Try to lie on your side or stomach when sleeping.
Stop steam inhalations. This tip came from a medical doctor who is treating hundreds of covid-19 positive patients from March 2020.
Consume nutritious, fresh meals. Aim for high protein dishes with lots of fresh vegetables. Cut down on sugary processed food and drinks.
Keep your body warm. Do not consume cold drinks or foodstuffs that are cold. Minimise time spent in an air conditioned room or rooms with a ceiling fan on.
Drink lots of warm liquids. I made a homemade drink with lemon, ginger and clove.
Do light exercise. Walk around the house. Do breathing exercises. Listen to your body.
Lots of rest in a cool, well ventilated room – open the windows to allow fresh air in.
Maintain a calm and happy environment. Discourage talks of doom and gloom. Play music or watch TV (not the news) to lighten the mood.
Watch the patient for any chest symptoms – tight chest, shortness of breath, productive cough with a yellow or green phlegm or severe back pain. If these symptoms do occur then consult your doctor. An x-ray may be done to rule out pneumonia.
DO NOT TALK. Or talk less frequently. This was the most difficult advice for my husband to observe but it was definitely the one that HELPED the MOST. Use whatsapp, signs or a pen and paper to communicate. Be very strict with the covid-19 positive patient. Practice tough love. My husband used thumbs up for yes, thumbs down for no. I literally told him “Shut up and get better”. That’s when he would jokingly show me the middle finger! Remember this is only temporary until the virus passes. But for chatterboxes like my husband it felt like an eternity.
SUPPLEMENTS/ OTC MEDS FOR A COVID-19 POSITIVE PATIENT
Zinc 15mg Taken one tablet daily up to 2 tablets 3 times a day after a meal
Vitamin C 100mg daily up to 2 tablets 3 times a day. May cause loose stools.
Thiamine 100mg daily up to 2 tablets daily
Aspirin 300mg 2 tablets daily. After a meal.
Antihistamine tablet (e.g. Allergex, Cetirizine) one tablet 2 times a day.
Panado 2 tablets every 6-8 hours
Cough Mixture as needed.
LIVING WITH A COVID-19 POSITIVE PATIENT
The covid-19 positive patient needs to self isolate in a separate room.
The patient must take their meals in a separate room.
Their laundry needs to be separated and washed with hot water or on the hottest cycle.
The patient must use separate cutlery and utensils.
Keep a separate bin in the covid-19 positive patient’s room. Double bag before disposing in the bin.
Keep all the rooms in the house well ventilated.
Wash hands often
, disinfect surfaces regularly and deep clean your home
continue to wear masks,
The covid-19 positive patient should use a separate bathroom and toilet. If this is not possible then spray and sanitise these areas with 70% alcohol.
The other occupants in the household need to quarantine for 10days.
I wish that you may never need to use these tips and that you and your loved ones test negative for the virus. But the reality is that you have to be prepared.
Stay Safe. Stay healthy. Stay Strong.
Please click here for official information about coronavirus.
The contents of this article do not constitute medical advice. Please contact your medical doctor once and while you test positive for covid-19. Try the above advice at your own risk. The writer shall not be held responsible for any untoward effects from following the above advice.
Most girls and women experience period pains monthly, some more severe than others. as women we are told to suck it up, its normal, its part of life.
NORMAL PERIOD PAIN
Normal period pain is the pain that one experiences one the first day or two of your period. It is usually mild and responds to over the counter painkillllers.
The problem arises when it starts interfereing with your daily activities. It is not normal to miss a day or two of school or work because of period pain. If you do, then it is time to get it checked out.
WHAT CAUSES PERIOD PAIN
During your period the uterus lining starts o break down and this releases prostaglandins. Prostaglandins encourage yyyour uterus muscle to contract to help shed the lining. Period pain arises when you have too many prostaglandins. Treatment aims to reduce prostaglandins.
There are over the counter painkillers that work well for period pain. While Nsaids like Ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac and mefanamic acid – work well for period pain – they come with unwanted side effects.
There are effective non pharmaceutical solutions for period pain. You may have to experiment to find out which ones work for you.
Natural Relievers for Period Pain- supplements
TUMERIC- Contains a compound called curcumin. It has natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic and antibacterial properties. It reduces inflammation and prostaglandins, thereby reducing menstrual flow and pain. It can be taken everyday during your cycle and the dose may be increased during your period. It can be taken in a powder form- best added to warm water with a hint of black pepper, or as asupplement which proves to be more potent. Remember to tell your doctor when taking any natural supplements because they may interefe with certain medication.
MAGNESIUM – It reduces prostaglandins and relaxes the uterus. It can also be taken everyday during your cycle for prevention and a higher dose can be taken during your period.
ZINC- inhibits prostaglandins, it is immune modulating and also anti inflammatory. It should also be taken everyday of the cycle.
OMEGA 3- reduces inflammation annd prostaglandins. This may be taken everyday during your cycle.
Other Natural Relievers for Period Pain
5.Hot water bottle or heat pack. It provides comfort and helps to alleviate the pain. It relaxes the the uterus. When heat is applied to the skin, heat receptors get activated and in turn block the effect of the chemical messengers that cause pain.
6.Magnesium- as discussed earlier. Magnesium oil can be applied topically. Epsom salt soak are also very helpful.
7.Yoga- a full session is not recommended but certain poses may help eg. childs pose, standing forward fold, supine twist.
8.Have a warm drink. This works from the inside to relax your muscles. Ginger tea, chamomile tea and tumeric tea is particulary helpful.
9.Gentle exercise like walking or streching. Exercise releases endorphins that help you to feel better.
11.Massage. A full body massage reduces overall stress. Abdominal massage may also help.
12.Limit your sugar intake. Foods high in fat, sugar and salt may cause bloating and inflammation. This will aggravate period cramps.
13.Limit your caffeine intake. Caffeine causes vasoconstricton- your blood vessels to narrow. this can constrict your uterus and worsen period cramps.
15.Listen to music. Music can decrease pain levels. It can calm anxiety and ease pain by releasing endorphins.
16.Deep breathing. It relaxes you and releases muscle tension.
17.Tens machine. Tens uses soothing pulses that are sent through pads placed on the skin. The pulses block pain signals to the brain and stimulates endorphins.
All women deserve to have pain free periods. We need to become advocates of our health. Educate yourself and empower yourself to have better periods. You deserve to.
Tips to cope after a gynae appointmet. No woman looks forward to a consultation with her gynaecologist. Especially if you are living with endometriosis and pcos. This would mean countless more gynae appointments than the average female. i am living with these two conditions for more than 16 years now. you can read my story here.
Unless you yourself, or if you know someone close to you who is living with these debilitating lifelong illnesses you may think- what is the fuss about? A gynae appointment can’t be that bad? I suggest that you do read along, you never know when you might be able to help a friend, colleague, girlfriend or sister after her difficult gynae appointment.
For many women with endo or pcos these appointments may result in a theatre bookings, or treatment that could be expensive or have many side effects. Apart from the awkward examination, talking about your symptoms and explaining your history can be draining and traumatic – it is difficult to relive past surgeries and treatments. For many women this can be traumatic in more ways than one.
Tension may start building from the week before your gynae appointment If you live with a chronic gynaecological condition. You become nervous. What is the doctor going to say? Will there be a suitable treatment available? How much will it cost? I can’t get my hopes up too much – in finding relief- because in case all treatment options have been exhausted. You are not being melodramatic! These are all valid concerns. I am here to say that I hear you. I have been through this many times and have therefore decided to compile this list of tips.
GYNAE CONSULTATION TIPS
Before your gynae appointment write a list of how far you have come. Having a doctor refresh your memory of every surgery and explain your history is not pleasant. it can bring back all those feelings and make you relive them – leaving you feeling drained and depressed. When you get home after your appointment read this list and know that you shall overcome this(what was discussed during the appointment) too.
Know that you know your body better than any doctor with a specialist degree – no matter how many years experience he/she may have.
Go out for a cup of coffee or a small walk before heading home. Having time to process what was said during the appointment.
Ask your husband, boyfriend or friend to have a shot of whisky ready for you when you get home after your gynae appointment. If you saw a male gynae you deserve another shot! Male gynaes are way more intense. And hello why are we paying them to look at our lady bits? They should be paying us!
Say affirmations. My favorite one for when life is troubled is by Louise L. Hay ‘’’I am safe. All is well.’’ This really helps me get out of a downward spiral of negative thoughts.
Look for alternate therapies to help your condition. If something has worked for you previously maybe try it again. Adjunctive therapies like yoga, pelvic physiotherapy and acupuncture may be worth considering. Remember to discuss natural remedies with your doctor. Not all natural remedies may be safe for you.
Remember you are worthy. You are enough.
We will leave the receptionists for another post
No matter what the outcome of your appointment know that you will be okay. You shall overcome. Have faith that this too shall pass.
Women have been dismissed by doctors for far too long! They say that the pain is in our head. It’s normal to have a bad period. I am here to say that enough is enough. Let’s take ownership of our health. Don’t give any doctor power over your health. You know what is best for you. You have a right to make an informed decision and not be strong armed into surgery on a treatment that doesn’t suit you.
I wish I knew these tips earlier. I hope that you find the following tips helpful and that you are able to bounce back quickly after your gynae appointment.
Do you experience something similar when you visit the gynae? Do you have pcos or endo? Are you left feeling hopeless and disillusioned like me? Please comment. I would love to hear your story.
DISCLAIMER: This is not meant to speak ill of doctors or gynaecologists. There are many doctors who are doing good work.
I have a complicated relationship with the hair on my body. Being Indian and having Poly cystic Ovary Syndrome, I have become accustomed to being hairier than the average woman. I am not at the stage where I accept it as yet. I choose to remove my body hair by waxing because it helps me with self confidence.
D.I.Y. beauty has never been more relevant. I usually have my waxing done at a beauty salon. Due to covid 19 regulations and concerns I decided to try this at home kit.
I have no previous experience in waxing on my own. This was the first time ever that I did it by myself. It was fairly easy to do. I followed the detailed instructions on the back of the box.
I found that if I warmed the HairGo wax strips in the microwave for much longer than stipulated I got better results.
You definitely need to go over the area a few times before the hair is removed.
The result was smooth hair free skin.
After waxing I would shower or wipe the area with a damp cloth and then apply a lotion.
I did not experience any irritation- redness, dryness or itching.
Choose to do this when you have time on your side. Do not attempt this for the first time when you are rushing. It takes a while to build a rhythm and to figure out what works for you, how long you need to warm the hairgo wax strips for, how to pull back the strips and so on.
Clean the area first with a wet washcloth. Sweat and natural oils may interfere with the effectiveness of the HairGo wax strips.
I am satisfied with the results that I achieved with the Hairgo wax strips.
It saves time.
Cheaper than in salon waxing.
It is convenient. You able to do this in the safety and comfort of your home. I myself find it difficult to keep with appointments. I actually prefer the thought of doing it by myself. With the coronavirus around this is a great idea.
If you are a person who likes to be pampered and have the time to attend beauty appointments – rather leave it to the experts. They do after all need our support.
I bought this hair from Dischem. There are 24 strips in a box.
Have you tried waxing at home by yourself? What products worked for you?