As a Maya Abdominal Practitioner, and teacher of the wise ways of the womb, I encounter many reproductive pathologies and imbalances in my female clients. Some of the most challenging cases of dis-ease I see on a semi regular basis are the ones involving endometriosis. It is a painful web that literally wraps itself through the body, the heart and spirit of the woman suffering. It is confusing as the spinster of this mesh of adhesions and constrictions is almost impossible to detect. It is heart breaking as it seems to strip women of feeling a sense of intuition with their bodies due to the lack of answers. It can be dream shattering when it comes to the Mother within wanting to be expressed. Where does it come from? What triggers it? How do we get out of this web? I hear them cry.
I was inspired to write this informative and emotional piece as one of my clients has become an amazing advocate for women who suffer from endometriosis. I have witnessed her and assisted her body through 2 surgeries and the layered emotional cocoon that she has broken free of- mostly. I say mostly because she is very well aware that a mystery illness like endometriosis needs impeccable care and attention to not let the mystery become a story of entrapment. Her name is Heidi- she is an inspiration and an example of knowing her body is her greatest teacher. She embodies the truth that the only way to unravel these webs is to go deep within, get all of the information you can, trust your heart and cry it out and continue to believe in the flow of life to move miracles into the spaces we create- when we go deep within and clear out the emotional and physical clutter that congests and confuses the body.
Seven months ago I was recovering from a major #endometriosis surgery and today I did this. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever do another half marathon, or run any distance for that matter so I’m incredibly grateful for all the surgical, naturopathic, therapeutic, and personal support I had to rebuild my body and soul. ~ Heidi
I am not so much writing this to inform you on what endometriosis is but to bring you to a place of empowerment within your own body around this and all dis-ease. However…
known as Sampson’s theory). Current thinking no longer supports this exactly; it seems perhaps endo might be it’s own separate tissue, possibly laid down in utero or possibly transformed (metaplasia theory) sometime during a woman’s lifetime by genetic or environmental factors or immune factors… More research is definitely needed, but most current advocates and many surgeons consider this one of many theories instead of the root cause.
For those who are not familiar, Endometriosis is a condition where endometrial type tissue is found outside of the uterus. This misplaced tissue releases blood and inflammation into the pelvic cavity, and in many cases, other parts of the body in rhythm with the menstrual flow each month. Because of the relationship to the increased pain during menses the original theory was that endometriosis is ‘leaking’ endothelial cells from the womb (known as Sampson’s theory). But, in Heidi’s research and work with this disease it appears that current thinking no longer supports this exactly; it seems perhaps endo might be it’s own separate tissue, possibly laid down in utero or possibly transformed (metaplasia theory) sometime during a woman’s lifetime by genetic or environmental factors or immune factors… More research is definitely needed, but most current advocates and many surgeons consider this one of many theories instead of the root cause.
The main symptoms are intense pelvic pain and swelling with the menstrual cycle that have no other explanation. This pain can eventually last all month and show up in other parts of the body as adhesions become more problematic. Other symptoms: Pain with intercourse, fertility challenges, urinary and digestive issues, excessive and clotty menstrual flow. Not all of these symptoms have to be present. The one major thing to note, again, is that there is an unknown component.
Endometriosis is directly linked to hormonal surges tied into the immune system and inflammatory conditions. However, it is unfortunately not as simple as naturally balancing the hormones since there is this undercurrent of imbalance in the immune system that does seem to have any clear path. There are many theories as to why it exists but they are speculations at best. And, from what I have witnessed in my treatment of so many is that looking for an answer to “why” perpetuates the inflammatory cycle. Inflammation responds to many factors including emotion. I will also note here that some of the myths around what causes endometriosis- like having sex on your period- should be ignored as many of them leave the woman with feelings of undue guilt and fear.
The other big mystery piece is in the detection of endometriosis. It does not clearly show up on your typical picture scans. This leaves laparoscopic imaging as the only option for clear diagnosis. Even then, if you don’t have a wicked smart doctor who knows this disease well they can miss some of the big areas in the body that the endometrial tissue has imbedded itself.
So what do women do when these symptoms rise and they have not yet been diagnosed? What do women do when they have been diagnosed? What does the path to END-ometriosis look like?
I really wish I had a clear endometriosis protocol (I’d be famous). I wish I could sing it all away as I hold the hands and wombs of my clients- which does help. However, I do have a path that I feel all women should follow when it comes to this disease and any disease in their body.
First, get all of the information you can. And with respect to endometriosis understand how it lives and breathes in your body- and LISTEN. We know it responds to inflammation. We know it responds to hormones. So, reducing the factors that create hormone imbalances and inflammations in general will help immensely. Get your blood and saliva tests and see where your hormones levels are at and act to ally them in healing. Talk to practitioners, talk to other women, talk to surgeons- get information! Without information you compile fears and feel like a victim of “no options”. With information you can begin to balance your body making the decision more clear around if to get diagnosed (if you have not) or have surgery.
Also, often times hormone replacement therapies can be life changing but should NOT be your first stop. I am an advocate of HRTs in cases like this when all other avenues have been explored. A band aid on an oozing wound without cleaning it out first is kind of what birth control has become. Lets administer hormone altering therapies once the body has been as balanced as possible- then you’re truly in the know.
Next, set up a team of support. Your self care is vital to the release of the emotions that will come through you as you address this disease. You do not have to hold this alone. And, as mentioned, trapped emotions create a back up of stress in the body- which is really the root cause of all disease. Abdominal massage therapies, in particular the Maya Abdominal Therapies as they address the emotional womb body so beautifully, are very helpful. Acupuncture for balance and group dance (my go to) to bring movement and community together in your life. Make time to spend with Nature and tell her your woes- she will listen and carry them away. Whatever makes your heart and body sing- do it.
Then, call in your herbal allies to support all of this opening. The plant world responds to your commitment to balance as it’s greatest desire is to actualize in love. Herbs in this case may not “cure” but they can open the pathways to heal and help your entire system find better alignment. Pelvic decongestants, diaphoretics, adaptogens, alteratives, lymphogogues and diuretics are very helpful. Please consult an herbalist or email me and we can discuss what is best for your body.
And- you KNOW how to be an ally to yourself. It begins with radical self love.
I have included info below from Heidi. You can turn disease into a discovery of self.
There are so many great resources I can share, mostly grassroots as we’re still light years away from a systematic medical and research approach. I’ll provide links to some of my current favorite advocacy groups from around the world, mostly formed by other women with endo and most of whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the World Congress on Endo last month.- Heidi
- Endometriosis Research Center- Seattle chapter https://seattleendo.org/
- Endo What? A great documentary that came out last year by the incredible Shannon Cohn and team. Forthcoming documentary is on Endo and the social justice issues surrounding why it’s so poorly diagnosed, etc. https://www.endowhat.com/
- Endometriosis Australia https://www.endometriosisaustralia.org/
- The Endometriosis Network Canada http://endometriosisnetwork.com/
- Endometriosis Association of Ireland http://www.endometriosis.ie/
- Pacific Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain (Dr. M and Beth her kick ass nurse practitioner) http://pacificendometriosis.com/
- This group of surgeons is in Atlanta, GA but they are the best in the business and many women fly from around the world to receive surgery from this team. Also, the director (Heather Guidone) was my co-author for the poster I presented at the World Congress last month and she is an amazing advocate. http://centerforendo.com/#home-1
Here is one last bit of inspiration. Another client I worked with. Motherhood is not entirely off the table for all- don’t let the fear messages deter your dreams. Face your life with facts and then let the body be your guide to the magic that sometimes disease is trying to hide.
If you are reading this and unsure where to turn schedule a Skype or in person session with me.
Looking for a deeper journey into yourself with the allies of nature and silence as your guides?
Remember who you are and unlock your original medicine~ Love, Jamie Renee Lashbrook