Designer and co-owner of Sabo Skirt, Thessy Kouzoukas, shared her experience with endometriosis on her Instagram account last year. The Australian said she’s been “sent into menopause” after treatment stopped the production of female sex hormones in her body.
Endometriosis is a condition which occurs when tissue, which behaves like the lining of the womb is found outside of the womb (in areas including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the abdomen and the bladder). We spoke to the 28-year-old about her condition, and how diet and exercise has eased her day-to-day pain.
When did you first find out you had endometriosis?
I was first diagnosed with the condition in October 2013 after a laparoscopy.
How does it impact your day-to-day life?
Endometriosis impacts my life differently every single day. Some days, I forget I have it – I have no pain and no swelling (love these days!) When I’m lucky enough to have days like this, I push myself exercising and trying things I know I can’t do when I have the pain. On the other end of the spectrum, I have days where I really struggle, especially when I get my period and need to stay in bed for days on end. I guess not knowing how I’ll feel when I wake up every morning is frustrating, but I try as hard as I can not to let it impact my life or relationships.
When did you discover exercise as a remedy for endometriosis?
When I started dating Georgio (my now fiancé), I knew I would have an extremely active lifestyle as he’s a personal trainer a very fit and healthy person. I tried his company’s (Fitaz) 28 day fitness program and I started to notice I generally felt better every day! Some days it is hard to get moving, but for girls who have endo, I recommend adjusting your work out / movements depending on your pain. If you’re in a lot of pain, go for a light walk or a yoga class. For days when you feel good, try to incorporate more intense exercise like a HIIT class or a weighted gym session. Every little bit of exercise helps.
Any go-to exercises that you find eases the pain?
A really light swim in a heated pool. The warm pool is soothing, and I find the soft movement is good for when I’m feeling bloated. My go-to is walking through water with a float belt.
What changes have you made to your diet?
I’ve made dramatic changes to my diet over the past couple of years. I used to eat really unhealthy foods growing up! I LOVE junk food. I now follow a meal program which consists of a balanced diet with meat, fruit and veg and, one week per month, I follow a detox-style diet.
Any other natural remedies you’ve tried?
I’ve read that coffee and red meat can promote swelling, so I have recently cut both of these out of my diet and have found slight relief! I also recently discovered that fizzy beverages, like the sparkling water I was drinking, causes my stomach to swell which subsequently puts pressure on my cysts and causes pain and cramping. Cutting out fizzy drinks has helped me a lot! Also – reinforcement of pain is so powerful and can magnify your symptoms dramatically. I really try not to talk about how much pain I’m in at home as I think reinforcing your pain can make it worse, so I find not paying attention to my pain subconsciously helps the situation.