Gluten-Free February vs Endometriosis

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I’m going gluten-free in February. Yay! Actually that’s not a very enthusiastic yay at all as I love my bread and… nope bread is going to be the biggest challenge. So why am I doing this to myself?

Far from simply trying to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon, I’m temporarily (I hope) abandoning the joys of gluten to see if it has any impact on the thorn in my flesh that is endometriosis. What is endometriosis? I shall explain, but be warned if you cringe at the word menstruation look away now…

An introduction to the “endomonster”

Endomonster is the nickname I’ve given to my endometriosis which I’ll explain as this. Instead of your menstrual cycle happening where it’s supposed to, little bits of the lining (endometrium) that usually builds up and breaks down in the womb, land in other parts of your body and sets up shop there. Why? Nobody knows, so I’ve attributed it to an innate spirit of adventure.

These adventurers then attempt a normal menstrual cycle in their new locations, places they’re not supposed to be such as fallopian tubes, pelvis, behind the uterus. In their misplaced locations the menstruation process wreaks havoc not unlike playing paintball in the National Portrait Gallery.

As well as making a bit of a mess of things the process itself can cause deeply excrutiating pain. I won’t labour on this point but believe me it’s pretty torturous. I was tempted to remark that it’s akin to the torture of Theon Greyjoy but I didn’t want to make light of it. To sum it up, it came to the point where I was terrified to tears of my own period hence it earning the name endomonster.

Taming the beast

Options for treatment include the pill, the coil and surgery. All have their pros and cons. I’ve tried the first, refused the second and was advised by a fellow suffere not to try the third until after I’ve had children.

After developing an insatiable appetite, gaining 1/2 a stone in weight and experiencing the most polarising mood swings I thought I’d take a break from the pill and try some highly recommended changes to my health and nutrition, including the endometriosis diet.

What’s gluten got to do with it?

The diet basically involves no sugar, meat, dairy, processed foods or gluten. Fun! Rather than taking this on all at once (which in desperation I tried and failed to do) I’m taking it on piece by piece.

I’ve returned to vegetarianism after a 2 year break (during which my endometriosis symptoms became significantly worse) and have cut back on processed foods and dairy. Sugar and gluten are my biggest issues as I’ve always had a sweet tooth and love to bake.

Apparently, women with endometriosis are often sensitive to gluten which can exacerbate the pain and inflammation experienced by endometriosis sufferers. Subsequently, it appears significant pain relief can be gained by excluding gluten.

So here I am. Awaiting February 1 with the plan to ban gluten for the next 28 days. I wanted to blog about it as this is not my first attempt to go gluten free. I’ve tried and failed several times so I’m now announcing this so that I can be held publicly accountable.

No gluten shall pass these lips for one month. Eek!

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Amongst many other things, I'm a 30-something contemplative Londoner making the daily commute between contentment and ambition.When not blogging, I'm using my talents for good as communications director at Gingerland and co-founder of Love Harlem.

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