Part two in a series. R
Life with endometiosis almost inevitably leads to looking further afield for ways to manage an illness that currently has no cute. Although supplements are no substitute for a good diet, in certain cases, we can’t get everything we need through food. If like me, you have made dietary changes due to endometriosis, there are things you want to make sure to include for a healthier, happier existence.
In part 1, I wrote about some supplements and natural remedies that can help with endometriosis symptomd. Here I’m going to write about skin matters.
Many endometriosis patients suffer from some form of acne, and many others complain about a tired complexion. If your hormones are out of balance, hormonal acne will be a long-term companion. If you bleed excessively during your period, you may look as though all color has drained from your system. Lack of sleep due to chronic pain will also take a toll.
I am lucky my skin has always been clear. But if you do sufferer flare ups, fear not, there are some things you can do to try and improve all of this:
For more amino acids and a youthful interior: collagen
If there’s one word that sounds both scary and confusing, it’s perimenopause. I don’t recommend looking up “endometriosis and perimenopause” . Convinced I had all of the symptoms, I ugly-cried, mourning the slow death of my insides. Perimenapausal can begin eight to 10 years before menopause. Ovaries gradually produce less oestrogen and menopause symptoms can occur even when there’s still a period and the possibility of getting pregnant. In short, it means your body is getting older. I am at greater risk of this since my hysterectomy where I did retain my ovaries.
Some people recommend taking collagen as a supplement. The theory goes that collagen is a source of amino acids (arginine, glutamine, glycine, and proline). Amino acids contribute to the production of healthy hormone levels, and the boost in collagen will result in stronger hair, and healthier joints and skin. Admittedly, some people claim that taking collagen supplements will do nothing more than strengthen your skin and nails. Collagen is also not vegetarian, as it generally comes from fish scales and other animal origins. Alternatives exist, such as silica (a collagen builder) or vegan collagen alternatives.
For fatty acids and happier skin: flaxseed oil
Also known as linseed oil, flaxseed oil is rich in essential fatty acids. It can help with skin dullness and even acne. Supplements rich in omega-3 can rebuild and nourish cell membranes resulting in plumper, healthier-looking skin. These oils also have calming and anti- inflammatory properties. Evening primrose oil has gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), another anti-inflammatory fatty acid worth checking out.
The non-veggie alternative would be fish oils found in sardines, mackerel, tuna, and salmon, among others.
When it comes to skin, it’s also worth considering what we consume daily, and that may not be good for us. I’m looking at you, dairy.
Dairy is a prime suspect when it comes to skin issues.
Apart from being charged with hormones your skin may not like, dairy’s fat content makes it a prime candidate for clogging up your pores. It’s also full of sugars, which are bad for your face and collagen reserves as well as excellent food for spots.
For endometriosis sufferers who have already given up bread, quitting dairy can be another challenging life change. Take me, for instance. I’ve always been a devourer of ice cream tubs, with the ability to unashamedly down milkshakes in one go. Cheesy foods are my favorite — grilled-sandwich anyone? And for a long time, I remained extremely reluctant to forego my routine morning latte. But I am also fortunate enough to live in a part of the world — that caters to the dairy-free crowd. For the past year, I have been able to experiment with a wide range of vegan desserts. After a month of dairy-free alternatives in my coffee (hello, oat milk), I didn’t want to go back to my old, bloating lattes.
I have also found some fantastic vegan versions of cheese (including soy-free) that are perfect for late night grilled sandwiches. Consuming less dairy has meant less bloating, less indigestion, and better skin.
Finally, it’s how we feel on the inside that matters.
It’s important to remember that looks shouldn’t be the motivator for making changes. With endometriosis, the last thing one needs is to worry about looks. Worries equal stress, which will affect your sleep, and if you’re anything like me, give you a preoccupied frown that no amount of collagen pills will remedy. Some supplements can be helpful, but it’s best not to get sucked into the huge world of alternative therapies without listening to what your body needs to function healthily.
What helps? Talking to a qualified doctor about supplements, finding a licensed nutritionist, and listening to your body. Also, being very patient as changes don’t occur overnight. What doesn’t help? Ugly-crying and late-night googling.
It’s not you — it’s the endometriosis.