Endometriosis: a word that millions of women silently, yet painfully, understand. Endometriosis involves the growth of abnormal tissue throughout the body, referred to as endo lesions. Endo lesions can be anywhere in the body causing chronic pain, especially during menstrual periods. The pain can be debilitating, often described as being on par with childbirth, and can be accompanied by a host of other symptoms like heavy bleeding and infertility. It's a thief of comfort, a shadow over everyday life, and for years, it held me captive to a pain score of 10/10. The thing about endometriosis is it gets grouped in with period pain and people don't believe us when we say it hurts. I have been suffering pretty much since I started my periods and only now have I been given a "potential diagnosis", what this means is I have all the endo symptoms but they haven't actually cut me open to have a look, mainly because of how difficult they make it to get an appointment, waiting lists being years and my inability to follow up and constantly be on their backs.
I have spent many nights curled up in agony, alone, often on the bathroom floor praying for the pain to stop (and I'm not even religious). If any of this sounds familiar to you I am truly sorry for what you have to go through.
For those of us in the throes of endometriosis, the quest for relief is constant and urgent. It’s a search for something—anything—that will quell the fire in our bellies. And in that search, I found an ally in the most unexpected of places: the rugged trunk of pine trees. Yes, pine bark, that protective armor of Pinus pinaster, has become my unexpected champion against endometriosis pain. I want to share this with anyone who will listen. If you know someone with this debilitating condition please share this information with them so they can try it themselves to see if it works for them.
Pine Bark: A Natural Marvel
Pine bark isn't just the shield for the majestic pine tree; it is also a source of potent bioflavonoids and antioxidants known as oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs). These compounds have been heralded for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. But their power extends beyond theory and into the real-world experiences of people like me, who've seen significant improvements in health conditions. It's most commonly extracted to produce a supplement known as Pycnogenol.
A Journey Toward Healing
For years, my menstrual cycle was a dreaded event, marked by pain that seemed to scream at a decibel only my body could hear but my world could see. The myriad of treatments I tried would fill a tome, and while some brought temporary respite, none held the key to sustained relief—until pine bark entered the picture.
At first, I was skeptical. How could something as simple as tree bark touch what modern medicine struggled to ease? Considering natural alternatives might seemed farfetched when not even codeine can ease the pain (but I was willing to try anything at this point). The difference became apparent within a month of consistent use. From the agony that used to floor me, I found myself stepping down the pain scale, one number at a time, until my periods became moments of discomfort rather than episodes of torture, every endo sufferers dream. One thing I have noticed though is when I stop taking pine bark the pain returns, It also takes about a month to get back into your system so if its not working by your next period, stick with it till the one after and see if that makes a difference. I'm not skipping around like I'm in an always advert when I get my period, I'm also not curled up on the bathroom floor crying my eyes out. I still get pain but I no longer feel like someone is digging a knife into my womb and the pain is now manageable.
But pine bark's resume of benefits isn't limited to endometriosis. Studies suggest its use in improving cardiovascular health, reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis, and even aiding cognitive function. Its anti-inflammatory prowess also plays a role in skin health, potentially reducing wrinkles. It seems nature packed a pharmacy into these rugged protectors of the forest. For me it hasnt just helped the endo pain, I'm no longer wheesey when walking and have no need for my asthema inhaler.
Embracing the Natural Path
Turning to pine bark was a step back to nature and a leap forward in my health. It reminded me that sometimes, the solutions we seek are nestled in the arms of nature, waiting for us to reach out and grasp them. If you're battling the chains of endometriosis or any other chronic condition, considering natural alternatives might seem so farfetched when not even codeine can ease the pain.
In my journey with endometriosis, pine bark has been nothing short of miraculous. It hasn't cured me—endometriosis has no cure, yet. But it has given me days back, moments of peace, and a semblance of normalcy in a life once overshadowed by pain. And that, for anyone who understands what it means to live with endometriosis, is a slice of magic worth holding onto.
How to choose the right supplements
The first time I ordered this wonder pill (and second) I ordered Pycnogenol as thats what the book (Heal Endo) suggested. This was really expensive but felt like a small price to pay to be free of the monthly agony. However, one night while scrolling I was curious if I could find a cheaper alternative. With trepidation I decided to give plain old pine bark a try. I was worried that this cheaper alternative wouldn't work yet here I am writing this pain free right now. I'm not telling you what one you should choose but I have tried both options and both work for me so I now use the cheaper alternative.
Pine bark isn't the only supplement I take. I also take cod liver oil, zinc, B6 and magnesium (in the evening).
Endometriosis is a personal battle, and remedies are not one-size-fits-all. Pine bark has been my ally, and perhaps, it could be yours too. It is a small piece of a much larger puzzle that involves a healthy lifestyle of good foods, less stress and plenty of exercise. If you or someone you love has edometriosis I recomed the book Heal Endo by Katie Edmonds, it helped me a lot. I'd love for you to share your own experiences, research diligently, and may your journey toward healing be one of hope and discovery.
Stay happy & healthy x
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