Hi! My name is Mikaela, and I am an Endometriosis and PCOS warrior! When it comes to your mental health, it's important to acknowledge that it's just one part of your overall health. In many ways, your physical health and mental health are directly connected with one another.
There are many examples of how physical health challenges can lead to challenges in our mental health. Many women experience this with Endometriosis or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).
If you're unfamiliar with Endometriosis and PMDD, they are both disorders that cause many different challenges for women's reproductive systems, some similar and some different.
While most people are familiar with PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) and PMDD and Endometriosis might be less common, they are more severe.
PMS can include symptoms such as fatigue, bloating, acne, and irritability.
PMDD Includes Symptoms Such As:
Difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness
Anxiety and depression
Endometriosis shares some of the same emotional symptoms of PMDD.
Endometriosis Symptoms Include:
Long and painful periods
Heavy menstrual bleeding
Trouble with digestive system
Pelvic pain and back pain
While the disorders themselves include symptoms that impact your mental and emotional health, the results of the disorders can also lead to challenges. For example, if you really want to become pregnant and have a hard time conceiving, you may experience feelings of grief, anxiety or depression.
Or, when it comes to PMDD, being extra irritable may cause you to take your anger out on your family and friends. I know for me I have taken a LOT out on my partner. I don’t mean to, but I get frustrated when I am in so much pain. This can lead to strained relationships and additional anxiety.
And, on top of that, you may be frustrated because you the symptoms you're experiencing our outside of your control which can cause added stress.
PMDD and Endometriosis can be directly correlated with your mental health.
I have had BRUTAL periods since I turned 12. I will be 35 this year, so let me tell you, I have tried most things to help alleviate the pain and symptoms associated with Endo and PCOS. I was also diagnosed with Bipolar 5 years ago, which 2 doctors now suspect I have PMDD vs Bipolar. Now for me, because I have never had a ‘normal’ period – it was very hard to pinpoint this.
Now that my periods are getting more regulated (although not every 28-30-day period), I can tell when my mood shifts in a negative way, that my period is likely on its way.
My fiancé is also good at knowing this, he sometimes knows it before I do, and when he calls me out I hate him but love him at the same time for noticing that I’m not ok. He knows to give me extra hugs, makes sure I’m taking my vitamins, and doing more self-care than I normally do.
Bipolar and PMDD can often be misdiagnosed, so my recommendation – track your moods daily, track your cycle, and never be afraid to ask for a second opinion. It took almost 4 years, 4 doctors, and 2 of which suggested that I have PMDD and not Bipolar.
People can have both, which makes it extra tricky! If you have PMDD and Bipolar, your Bipolar symptoms get a hell of a lot worse for the week before your period. This is why tracking periods can be so helpful for those who have been diagnosed with PMDD or Bipolar.
My doctor recommended I take Zoloft a week before my period to help, but we found it wasn’t actually helpful because I don’t have a normal period cycle.
What Has Helped me?
Firstly, I have THE best acupuncturist. I may be bias, but after my two Endometriosis surgeries, she really helped to keep my pain at bay. I used to have heavy bleeding, the most painful cramps and vomiting for a 7-10 days.
After about 2 months of seeing her, my bleeding was WAY lighter, my anxiety reduced significantly, I had way less cramping, and my period was anywhere from 5-7 days.
I have been seeing Jane for over 15 years. For the first few years, she had said I had endometriosis, but my doctor did not want to do the exploratory surgery to find out for sure. I had to beg her, and I finally had my first surgery when I was in my early 20’s. For a few years, I felt great!
The combo of the surgery and acupuncture was perfect. Acupuncture helps to alleviate the pain of dysmenorrhea, reduce inflammation, and help to regulate your period. Acupuncture also helps move stagnant blood.
In December 2002, The Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine published a study of 67 women diagnosed who were suffering from dysmenorrhea due to endometriosis. Half of this group received ear acupuncture whilst the other half did not have treatment. IN the acupuncture group, 81% of the women had less painful periods.
I have tried medications, hormone supplements … one was the Depo Shot – and I had my period, heavy, for 6 months and had to take an insane amount of Iron to help with the blood loss. It was BRUTAL. My endo came back sadly, and with a vengeance.
I lost my medical insurance and had to stop doing regular acupuncture. I had a miscarriage a few years later, and my surgeon recommended putting in an IUD during surgery. (I had to have a DNC as I was not able to pass the baby).
I have had an IUD for going on 3 years now and it has really made a difference in the length of my period, and as well as the heaviness. My periods are roughly every two months, and about 3-4 days, typically just spotting. I still see my acupuncturist, however just once a month for overall health and maintenance.
It has been 3 years since my DNC and IUD and my periods have never been better. I made some changes to my ‘non necessity’ items in my life to be able to afford acupuncture once a month. It is exactly what my body needs. My recommendation is to find an acupuncturist who specializes in hormones.
When I was under for surgery, they diagnosed me with PCOS. (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome). My doctor sent me to an Endocrinologist here in North Vancouver (Dr. Moosavi) and she put me on a shot called Ozempic for Insulin Resistance.
Insulin resistance is common with PCOS. My body cannot metabolize sugar properly, and because of that, it makes it very difficult to lose weight. On the shot, I lost 15 pounds and my sugar levels are in the normal range.
For the first time in 15 or so years, I have my Endometriosis and PCOS under control. THERE. IS. HOPE!
I recently got the clay mask from somedays, as well as the heat pack and the pain relief cream. The clay mask is one of the most powerful pan relieving go-to’s! After I tried the clay in the bath, I used the pain relief cream and heated the heat pack up in the microwave. I put the cozy on it and voila! My cramps were almost instantly gone. The combination of the clay mask, and the cream + heat felt amazing.
I have diagnosed: Endometriosis, PCOS, Bipolar, PMDD, Depression and PTSD.
I am living proof, that with the right mixture of things, you can live a happy life! You are worthy of trying everything until you find the right concoction, you are worthy of fighting to be heard, and you are so worthy of a good life. Fight for yourself, I had to, and I am SO grateful that I fought to be heard, I fought for my mental health, and I fought for change.
I’m here if you need anything, I can help you source out an acupuncturist who specializes in hormones in your area if that would be beneficial, I am here to be an ear when you just need to vent and be frustrated, I am here, fighting with you to feel seen, to be heard.
Mik is a Mental Health Wellness blogger, Endo and PCOS Warrior, and a kick ass fiance and dog mom :p (You can leave that out if you want lol). Mik writes about her diagnoses, tips and tricks on how to cope with PCOS, Endo, Bipolar and Anxiety. You can find her blogs at www.talkmentaltome.ca