Essential Takeaway: 

  • Juliana opens up about her journey with endometriosis, and the challenges she faced along the way.
  • Like Juliana, 57% of people with periods experience debilitating menstrual symptoms that keep them from work, school, and doing the things they love. 
  • After trying a variety of remedies to support her cycle, it wasn't until she discovered Elix that Juliana was able to get her life back. 

We sat down with Juliana, a Security Specialist, #endowarrior, and Elix community member to chat about her struggles with endo, and her herbal healing journey which she has been on for two years now.

Tell us about your period journey, how did it start? What was it like as a young girl with debilitating menstrual symptoms?

My period journey started at age 12. I can still remember experiencing strong pain in my cycle as a young girl. It's etched in my brain. My mom prepared me as best as she could and did whatever she could to keep me comfortable. At that time, I had no idea that for years to come nothing would suppress my menstrual symptoms. When on my cycle, the pain would be the most debilitating and stabbing in the mornings and throughout most of the first half of my waking day.

This affected me being in school and at work later on in life. Debilitating pain meant I would feel uncontrollably weak and faint, sometimes actually fainting from the pain and waking up in an ambulance on my way to the ER. One of the worst parts about being a young girl experiencing menstrual pain is the shame and guilt behind it. "Cramps" were often viewed as an excuse to miss school and work. Having to explain to a teacher or manager why I was absent was embarrassing. No one would ever understand or they simply didn't want to hear it. 

Unfortunately, you’re not alone, as 57% of the Elix community regularly misses out on daily activities due to their period. Can you tell us about a particular time you were kept from doing something you love and how it made you feel?

My period has kept me from doing many things and going to events. Once I was old enough to have a social life, I quickly noticed that there was going to be a week in the month where I was probably going to have to miss out. One particular event has been a memory I've carried with me. In my early 20's, I was invited to my first bridal shower for a family member. The theme was "tea party" and I was ecstatic. I ended up getting my period the morning of the shower. I could barely stand straight and walk from the stabbing pain. If my mom hadn't urged me to get back in bed and not go, I probably would have still gone. That's how much that event meant to me. The next time I saw the group of people at the event and explained my situation, I did not get much sympathy. Why would they show sympathy? They didn't understand.

When, why, and how did you decide to seek professional care for your period symptoms? What was that experience like?

At age 25, the pain was incredibly intense and unmanageable. After asking my doctor for an ultrasound, I discovered I had two ovarian cysts measuring at roughly 3cm and 7cm. After the discovery, I searched for a gynecologist and they confirmed that I needed surgery to remove the cysts. One week before my surgery, the smaller cyst burst and I was rushed to the ER unable to walk from the pain. The rupture was causing an infection and my gynecologist had to perform the planned surgery right away. During the surgery, the endometriosis was detected.

We know it can take years to properly diagnose menstrual conditions. How did it feel to finally be diagnosed with endometriosis? What solutions were offered to you?

Knowing about my diagnosis with endometriosis was bittersweet. I finally knew what was wrong with me. All these years of having to say "sorry, I have cramps" or "sorry, I'm on my period" were behind me. I had endometriosis. However, the limited solutions offered to me were depressing. I was given Lupron right after surgery. I had no idea then that the side effects from Lupron would haunt me for almost a year, and somewhat still at age 35.

After parting ways with Lupron, I was put on birth control. I'm not against birth control, but I was against the fact that it was just a bandaid for my endo. Also, the fact that my gynecologist insisted that I continue with birth control enraged me. And when the side effects from birth control made their way into my life, I was overwhelmed with sadness. I would continue to feel that way for 7 years.

How did you discover Elix? What convinced you to try herbal healing?

 I discovered Elix through Instagram. I follow Lara Parker (Buzzfeed) and she began to post about Chinese herbs that were personalized for her to help with her menstrual symptoms. I was still on birth control, but had been debating dropping it for months. Exactly two years ago, when Elix went public, I stopped taking birth control and immediately subscribed. Since then, I have never missed taking Elix before my period.

How has your experience with Elix been? Would you recommend Cycle Balance or any other Elix products to a family member or friend?

My experience has been life changing. I am by no means cured. I may never be. But Elix provides comfort and alleviates my pain and all the other symptoms associated with my period. I am less bloated in between cycles. My period has shortened by a day, sometimes two days, which is incredible. Most importantly, I am 100% aware of what I'm putting in my body. I know that it is not harming me in any way, and it can't get any more comforting than that.

My sister has her own story with endometriosis and painful menstrual symptoms that she encountered at a later stage in life than mine. I was happy to recommend Cycle Balance to her, and even happier to see how Elix has supported her cycle.

Click here to see Juliana's story featured in Elix's 2022 State of Menstrual Health Report

This article was reviewed by Dr. Elizabeth Fine.

Dr. Elizabeth Fine is currently the Dean of Clinical Education at Emperor’s College, the #2 ranked colleges for TCM. She has been practicing Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine for over 20 years, with a specialization in women’s reproductive health.

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