Earlier this summer, we collected tips from the endo community on how to manage endometriosis pain through our weekly newsletter. You know your body best, and you know what endo tips work for you when it comes to managing symptoms. If you have a tip for pain management that isn’t already included below, please share via the Endo Tip Jar. The more information we collect and share, the more individuals who have endometriosis—whether preparing for their next surgery or newly diagnosed—can ease their pain and get the answers they need.
As always, we emphasize the critical difference between treatment and management. Laparoscopic deep-excision surgery is widely considered the best treatment for endometriosis. As surgeries are expensive and difficult to schedule (especially during COVID-19), management options are also important to try. These tips are not meant to replace proper treatment. Before attempting new pain management options, please consult your doctor to ensure your management plan fits your case.
Heat can often provide comfort and relief for endometriosis pain and is widely viewed as one of the best home remedies. To help relax cramping, take a warm bath or place a heating pad on your abdomen. Alexandra M. from Fargo adds, “get a heating pad that is cute. I personally use a microwavable stuffed cow from Intelex Warmies. It's a nice silver lining to the situation and helps lighten my mood.”
The Endo Diet
An anti-inflammatory diet can help to ease endo symptoms. The first step? Listen to your body and monitor what foods make you feel good or in pain. Try keeping a food log and record how you feel after you eat for 14-30 days. Note foods that may not make you feel well and test avoiding those foods to see if it helps with your pain levels.
According to scientific researchers, practicing yoga is associated with a reduction in levels of chronic pelvic pain and an improvement in quality of life for women with endometriosis. As Kim G. from East Texas writes, “One session can cut the pain by 50% and stay low until the next day.” You can watch our Astro Live yoga class today!
Exercising & How to Move Through Pain
While many individuals with endometriosis practice yoga to combat symptoms, some days it can be difficult to get moving. In times like these, how do you continue to move through pain? Endo warrior and yoga instructor Kym Klein suggests trying to visualize your pain as a symptom, so your movement can control that symptom. She also recommends trying to move your body every single day. Consistent movement will help you minimize pain.
Meditation & Mindful Breathing
In her Long-Distance Reiki Wellness Workshop in July, Stephanie Christian shared a tip to promote mindfulness meditation, which is proven to help with anxiety and depression. Focus on your breathing in a comfortable setting. Set an intention about what you’d like or how you desire to feel, then breathe in. Try breathing with this count: In for 4 seconds, hold for 2 seconds, out for 4 seconds. Try this for 10 to 20 minutes.
Therapy is a safe space to share the burden of what you may be feeling with someone who can provide an objective outlook. The delay in endometriosis diagnosis and low awareness among the public and healthcare community mean that feelings of isolation, relationship issues, school and work troubles are common among endometriosis patients. Talking to a therapist can help you see your thoughts and behaviors, as well as others that you interact with, from a new and different perspective. By tackling thoughts and behaviors related to pain and disease, therapists can also help with endometriosis symptoms.
Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt baths can help to ease endo symptoms; a warm bath with Epsom salt may provide relief from pain, stress, and inflammation. Epsom salt contains magnesium which may help the body get rid of toxins that can increase inflammation, and it also can assist in reducing swelling, stiffness and pain. Run a warm (not too hot bath) and follow the directions on the back of the bag of Epsom Salt for bath tub size and type and relax.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely fine needles (1/10 of an IV needle) into the skin at specific points. This may relieve endo pain by releasing endorphins (the body's natural pain-killing chemical). Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system. These biochemical changes may stimulate the body's natural healing abilities by promoting flow of energy at specific channel points.
Thank you to everyone who submitted endo tips, including Annie B., Nicole K., Sarah W., Jamie E., Kim G., JoAnne M., Lorna H., Natalie B., Isabella D., Tanya R., Kate H., Shweta S., Femke V., Kerri R., Susan S., Gina B., Danielle S., Desiree A., Xiaolin L., Lauren T., Jazmine M., Ellie C., Penguin A., Fernando S., Brittani D., Janette B., Sue L., Lori C., Mikala M., Susan B., Sasha V., Hoda F., Risiqat A., Orah H., Claudine P., Katherine K., and Carrie L. for sharing their recommendations.
The Endometriosis Foundation of America (EndoFound) does not believe that these tips can replace proper treatment. We highly stress the importance of not using EndoFound as a substitute for seeking an experienced physician. Before attempting new pain management options, please consult your doctor to ensure your management plan fits your case.