More on the pill – Endometriosis, PCOS and the rest

woman with sarong jumping on tropical beach at sunset

A guest post by Nat Kringoudis 

So I’m back with more on the pill.  The response to last weeks post on ‘The Pill – is it for you’ was so tremendous, I really wanted to get this next piece of the puzzle out as soon as possible, whilst last weeks information was fresh in your head.  So as a woman of my word I want to share specifically about Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome or non syndrome (PCOS/PCO), Endometriosis, painful periods, lack of regular periods or even no periods – given that the pill is the only ‘treatment’ western medicine can offer sufferers.  Chinese Medicine on the other hand does a brilliant job at treating these conditions properly – working on the root of the issue, and I have experienced many many times, first hand just how effective it can be.

But rewind a little and lets just talk about side effects again for a minute.  Last weeks post was all about side effects.  Side effects of the pill fall into two main categories – the first is hormonal, the second is nutritional disturbance; a direct result the pill has on your metabolism.  As time goes by, this gathers momentum.  We become nutritionally depleted in some areas and in other areas overabundant, which isn’t good news for your innards.  This causes malnutrition. Various factors will affect the severity of this including the nutritional state of a woman pre pill, as well as her ongoing health.  It is absolutely essential for women on the pill to be taking an A grade multi vitamin which will help with the imbalances to a degree, although it cannot be fully compensated.  Now this malnutrition is essentially a contributing factor to these conditions we talk about – PCOS, Endometriosis and menstrual irregularities.  Funny that!

I want you to think about this.  Is your period really bad for you?  Obvious answer no – unless you suffer dysmenorrhea and PMS then you might feel differently.  So then ask yourself the question – Why do I feel BAD at my period time?  This is the question you need to explore.  If you dread your period because it is bad, heck – do something about it.  It isn’t supposed to be bad.  Do you remember your very first period?  Was it bad?  For me, aside from being so excited that I had it (finally) I had no other symptoms.  My body was healthy and I hadn’t absorbed enough of my environment to have a negative effect on me and my periods.  Fast forward to my uni days where health was (initially) on the back burner, I was young and ‘free’ (translated, I didn’t have to listen to my mum’s excellent teachings and wisdom if I didn’t choose to), I ate badly, was stressed to the earlobes and my periods were horrible.  I wasn’t paying attention to my body and it was telling me so.  So I got healthy – I mean really healthy and I have never dreaded a period or an ovulation since.  And because I’m healthy, I know when I’m fertile, my cycles are regular, and I can do what need be, to ensure that I either do or don’t make babies – without contraceptives.  I’m one happy little traveler here.

But don’t get me wrong – I did suffer from excruciating period pain.  I would get to that day of the month and be so sick, if there wasn’t a box of naprogesic in sight I would freak out.  I would get the hot and cold flushes, I would vomit, I’d have diarrhea oh and did I mention excruciating period pain.  I officially hated my period in those years.  These were all signs of endometriosis.  Now I forgive anybody for thinking that taking a trip to the GP and being prescribed the pill for this is the solution because this is what we are lead to believe.  However, it isn’t a solution.  It is simply like putting one massive band aid over the uterus and leaving it there until it’s time to have babies.  It isn’t a long-term solution.  Truth be told, it isn’t until it’s time to make babies that you may find the problem is far bigger than initially thought – because your hormones have literally been the same for x amount of years, without a cycle or a rhythm.  To add to this, once you decide to have a baby and decide to fix the problem – that takes time and often we don’t have time at this point because we are pushing 40 and our fertility specialists are telling us our time is running out!  Whoa – what a terribly stressful situation.  And of course, adding stress to the mix only makes you less fertile.  Add it all together and you are as about as fertile as the Statue of Liberty.

Chinese Medicine is so specific in diagnosis and treatment that there doesn’t need to be a definite conclusion of PCOS or Endometriosis or similar – because even if we put 10 women in the same room with PCOS, the treatment wouldn’t necessarily be the same.  This is why it works.  It recognises that each women is an individual and to get fertility at optimal levels, her unique make up needs to be totally considered.  So specific to any of these conditions, is firstly seeking out the correct diet and lifestyle advice for you individual presentation.  One woman may be prescribed a gluten free diet, where another might be encouraged to eat more protein.  Sometimes surgery/laparoscopy can provide excellent information to move forward with treatment.  Combining western procedures with alternative medicines can be the best treatment plan to prevent endometriosis from returning, (depending on the severity) as TCM uses a combination of treatments to maintain and prevent it’s return.

There isn’t a single condition on earth that responds well to poor life style, no exercise, high stress and poor environmental factors.  Your reproductive health isn’t any different.  Of course genetics also play a role in our constitution, and something we can’t change, but we can always improve our living situation to greatly benefit our bodies.  Here is modern medicines biggest downfall when it comes to hormonal disturbances.  It blames the menstrual cycle for many issues a woman may experience and assumes if we simply ‘switch it off’ all our problems will dissipate.  If you are using the pill for menstrual irregularities, PMS, terrible periods, PCOS or Endometriosis it’s important to realise that your problem hasn’t gone away, it’s under there somewhere.  The only time I might say that the pill can be useful in this situation is to give you some space to think about what you are going to do to fix the problem – it can give you a few months to gather your thoughts and get on top to get a game plan in action.

If this is ringing home to you – it might be time to get a few professionals opinions together and work out for yourself how to better your health.  You are absolutely responsible for this – not me or your GP or your health professional of choice.  You know how bad or good you feel.  There are several things you can start to do right now to improve your health:

1. Get to know your body type – we are all different.  Knowing what is best for your body and what isn’t going to work so well, is the key to improving long term health and eradicating conditions like endometriosis or PCOS.  Here is a great example.  Women who have excess cold stagnated through their uterus very commonly experience horrible period pain.  These same women crave cold foods at the period time.  This combination can be the mix to the worst period pain.  Adding more cold to what already isn’t moving leads to more pain.  This is just one simple example of many, that correspond to this condition.

2.  Exercise and regular intercourse – the best way to get blood flowing to your uterus, reproductive organs and every other part of your body.  This means it has all the nourishment it can get!

3.  Low GI and predominantly gluten free – there aren’t many people who don’t respond well to eating this way (whilst diets can always be tweaked) – increasing protein, keeping junky carbs on the low down, and aiming for low GI foods.  Women with PCOS respond very well to eating this way, as do those with Endometriosis because it’s all about decreasing the inflammation.

4.  Seek regular treatment to support your body function – Acupuncture is of my above all favourite treatments because it covers everything and doesn’t require the patient to do anything at all!  Increasing blood flow to the uterus, moving any stagnation through the reproductive organs, working on the heart and the thyroid to balance hormones and maximise health and fertility is what it does best.  It also helps rid the body of stress and quietens the mind.  What’s not to like about it?

5.  Slowly but surely – again, the key to fixing health is allowing the body to change and adjust to treatments and changes you are making.  These changes are always long lasting as the body gets used to working properly.

My next post on the pill will talk about just how the pill affects fertility and pregnancy – so stay tuned.

If you want to achieve the Low GI & Gluten Free diet that Nat has mentioned, please be sure to send me an email at It is my job to help you work out a plan that is best suited to your lifestyle and individual requirements. 

1 Comment

  1. Andrew Lourens

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  1. The Pill – how it affects fertility and pregnancy - An Apple a Day - […] through them: “The Pill is it for you?” and “More on the pill – PCOS, Endometrosis and the rest”. […]

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Meet Alyse

I’m a qualified Nutritionist who believes an evidence-based approach to modern nutrition is severely under-rated. Patients are so often left in the dark when it comes to health-care and as a firm believer in the old saying “knowledge is power”, my ultimate goal is to provide my readers, students and patients with clear and actionable advice that ultimately helps you reach your full potential.