“I find when you go through some kind of struggle, the reward is just so much greater. "
You probably best remember Tia Mowry as a lovable twin on the '90s TV show "Sister, Sister." But you may not know that she’s also one of the 5 million women in the U.S. who struggles with endometriosis—and that she had trouble getting pregnant as a result.
“The first challenge for me was overcoming the questions of ‘Why me? Why is this happening to me?’” Tia told us at the Ford Life Hacks Academy Event in New York City. “I think what really helped was embracing the challenge and not letting it define me. I decided to figure out some solutions.”
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that forms the lining of the uterus (endometrium) is found outside the uterus, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “It’s an inflammatory condition, so it can be painful,” Tia says. Symptoms can include intense periods, pain during sex, and pelvic discomfort.
That excess tissue, plus inflammation from the condition, can actually damage or block the fallopian tubes or damage the sperm or egg, making it very challenging to get pregnant. In fact, according to American Society of Reproductive Medicine, up to half of women with endometriosis have difficulties getting pregnant, and it’s one of the top causes of infertility overall.
Treating Tia's Endometriosis
After enduring two surgeries to control her endometriosis, Tia asked her doctor what else she could do to take control of the painful condition. Her doctor's top advice: a change in diet.
“Endometriosis is a highly inflammatory condition, so I set out to remove foods from my diet that cause inflammation in the body,” Tia says. These inflammatory foods included dairy, processed sugar, refined flour, and alcohol.
Tia also started incorporating more probiotics and "healthy gut" foods into her diet, including fermented foods like miso and kimchi, along with legumes, and lower-sugar fruits.
“Once I changed my diet, I started to see change in my body. Not only did my symptoms literally disappear with endometriosis, but other ailments like migraines and eczema also went away. I started to see correlations with how food can be healing.”
And even better news: She was able to get pregnant. “When I got pregnant with my son, I was overjoyed,” says Tia. The first person she called was her doctor, who told her the healthy diet may certainly have helped her chances of conceiving.
So, when she wanted to get pregnant a second time, Tia went through the process all over again (she even wrote a cookbook called Whole New You devoted to recipes she cooked while trying to get pregnant with her first son).
And now, Tia is carrying her second baby—a daughter this time.
Still, Tia notes the process of getting pregnant both times was anything but easy. “I don’t think I could have gotten through this process without the support of my husband,” she says. “I think it’s really important that someone is there encouraging you, rooting you on, saying you’re not alone, helping you feel stronger and more powerful.”
The whole experience made her appreciate her pregnancies even more: “I find when you go through some kind of struggle, the reward is just so much greater. Now, I’m so overjoyed!”
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