You know it’s that time of the month once again, and there is nothing much you can do but strap into the emotional roller coaster and make sure your medicine cabinet is stocked. While about 84% of women experience pain during their menstrual cycle, 1 in 10 women (that’s 176 million women worldwide) suffer from an unbearable condition called Endometriosis. On average, Endometriosis takes 8-10 years to diagnose and has no known cure.
During that time, women may suffer severe pain and are unable to work, socialize or maintain a sexual relationship. Sometimes the problem is not always so apparent as the disease does not always have symptoms, but it may be the cause of half of all unexplained infertility that women experience. Lone Hummelshoj, who heads the World Endometriosis Research Foundation and the World Endometriosis Society, explains that “Endometriosis affects women in the prime of their life. It is not a lifestyle disease. It is not a disease you get later in life. It attacks teens, young women when they should be out being active, working, having children, having sex – 50% of them are struggling with sex because it is too painful.”
Chances are you may have heard of Endometriosis or know someone who has struggled with it, but if you haven’t, we are here to tell you what you need to know. As March is National Endometriosis Awareness Month , we think it’s the perfect opportunity to open up a discussion on the disorder, and on reproductive health and wellness in general. Keep reading to learn more about one woman’s journey, and how plant-based alternatives and CBD has helped her cope - and how it can help you too.
Meet Roop Bassra, Registered Nurse and founder of Endo in the 604 , a space for women to further understand what Endometriosis is, share their stories, and connect to the support they need. Through her website Endointhe604.com and her social media platforms, Roop has opened up about her own struggles with Endometriosis while educating us on what exactly this disease is and how to cope with it.
Born & raised in Vancouver, BC, Roop has been dealing with Endometriosis and its variety of symptoms since 2008. Her story is deeply personal and relatable for women whose lives have been affected by Endometriosis and/or other reproductive disorders.
Through her experiences as a medical professional and patient, she has moved away from prescription drugs that cause uncomfortable side effects in favor of plant-based alternatives like Hemp and CBD. Roop’s website and blog gives us the rundown on everything we need to know about Endometriosis, and the essential CBD products that can help you with pain management and coping.
Endometriosis is a reproductive disorder that affects a woman’s period, in which uteran type tissue grows outside of the uterus, causing immense pain and inflammation in the pelvic and abdominal cavities.
Most endometriosis is found in the pelvic cavity or attached to reproductive organs, but it can also be found on the bladder, bowel, intestines, appendix and/or rectum. Once outside the uterus, the endometriosis tissue continues to act like it’s still inside the uterus. Like your period, the endometriosis tissue is also going to bleed except now there's nowhere for this blood to go.
The blood comes in contact with other organs, causing inflammation and irritation which leads to pain. Eventually, scar tissue and endometrial adhesions, which are like super glue, form between organs putting pressure on to nerves and tissue in that area. When organs become fused together by these adhesions, they cannot function to their full capacity.
While the exact cause of endometriosis has not been identified, the symptoms vary and can be extremely disruptive to everyday life. Signs and symptoms may include unbearable pelvic pain during menstruation (along with heavy and longer cycles, vomiting, chronic fatigue, and nausea), painful intercourse, painful bowel movements or urination, and infertility.
But dealing with these symptoms every month not only affects a woman's period, but it has the ability to impact schooling, careers, finances, daily activities, relationships, and overall wellbeing.
The numbers are comparable to those suffering with Diabetes, and yet there is only a fraction of awareness and help for those afflicted. Women are commonly prescribed medication for nausea and vomiting, being told it is irritable bowel syndrome, cysts, a UTI, eating disorders or depression and do not experience relief from their symptoms.
While major surgery and opiate based prescriptions are advised by many doctors, women are now turning to CBD to help them manage pain and inflammation associated with the disorder.
Like many women do, Roop turned to common oral anti-inflammatory drugs to help with the discomfort and relieve some of the symptoms, “Ibuprofen was one of products I used to attempt to manage my conditions, but I was double dosing and it was causing gastro-intestinal issues. I needed something to manage the pain and inflammation; having heard & read about the benefits of CBD, I decided to order it.” Since making the switch, she has experienced positive results without the side-effects, “I have replaced Ibuprofen with the Birch + Fog CBD Capsules and find continuous, daily use of these capsules work best for my aches and pains.”
Birch + Fog CBD Capsules
(30 pack) - $58.50
For most individuals dealing with an illness or a disorder, physical pain and discomfort results in some sort of mental stress and anxiety. Feelings like fear, lowered self-esteem, and sadness due to the inability to function and interact normally day after day are all common. Anxiety and depression are commonly treated with prescription drugs like Prozac, Xanax, and Ativan – all which have a long list of side-effects for most women.
CBD is a non-addictive alternative with little to no side-effects.
The antipsychotic, neuroprotective, anticonvulsant, antiemetic, and antioxidant properties in CBD work to counter anxious feelings and stress by stimulating neurotransmitter systems and neural regeneration, returning you to your calm state: “My top favorite has to be the feelCBD Calm Pen. I have been using this pen for my anxiety & stress instead of Ativan and it works just as well for me. The smell and taste of it definitely adds to the calming experience. I know some may prefer options other than vaping – if so I would recommend starting with a feelCBD tincture.”
Acupuncture, diet changes, massage, pelvic physio and yoga are a few other natural alternatives to look into for symptom management.
For quick relief of spot-specific pains and aches, Roop uses a concentrated CBD pain stick - “I love the DeLush Magic Stick Liger Balm.” For more on Endometriosis, Roop’s story, and the experiences of many other women, visit her site endointhe604.com and on Instagram @endointhe604.