If you have endometriosis or if you know someone who has it, you understand just how painful this condition can be. For some people, it resolves fairly quickly; for others, it lingers on and on with no end in sight.
The physician team here at Cary OB/GYN in Cary and Morrisville, North Carolina, understands just how difficult it can be to cope with this kind of chronic pain from endometriosis, so we’d like to offer a few tips on how to live with the pain.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus in the abdominal cavity. It commonly includes the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other areas around the uterus. Even though this tissue is outside the uterus, it still behaves as though it were inside, which means it gets thicker and then breaks down and bleeds every month during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Because this tissue and blood have no way to exit the body, it becomes trapped — cysts, scar tissue, and adhesions can eventually form inside the body, which can cause intense pain for women.
While pain medication, hormone therapy, and surgery to remove the tissue can be beneficial, some women continue to deal with chronic pain in their everyday life. Here are a few tips and strategies on how to cope.
How can you cope with endometriosis pain?
Make heat your best friend
The stomach, abdomen walls, pelvic floor, and lower back are all common areas of endometrial pain, and heat therapy is effective at easing this pain — it relaxes the muscles and reduces cramping. Get creative in how you find ways to keep heat applied to the area where it hurts. If you’re lying in bed, for example, use two heating pads, one for your stomach and one for your lower back.
You can also slip into a hot bath to apply heat to all areas at once, and if you have to be on the go, try a heat wrap, which can wrap around your body and deliver heat for up to eight hours. Wireless heating pads can also help here.
See a pelvic floor physical therapist
Yes, they do exist. In response to the pain and inflammation, a woman’s pelvic floor can become tense and tight, which can result in chronic pain and make sexual intercourse painful as well. Physical therapy can help relax the pelvic floor through stretching and breathing exercises.
Track your condition with an app
Many period-tracking apps let you record your symptoms and their severity. Tracking your period in this way gives you a history and helps you determine how your cycle is affecting your symptoms and your pain.
Be conscious of your nutrition
Eat lots of vegetables and omega-3s, cut down on animal products, and eat organic and gluten-free, if possible.
Relieve your stress
Keeping your stress levels low can help you, too. Try meditation, mindfulness, and breathing techniques, do yoga, diffuse essential oils, take your vitamins, and visit a green space to reduce the levels of stress in your life. As your body relaxes, your pain should decrease as well.
Following these suggestions may not relieve your pain entirely, but they can make your life more manageable. For more information and expert medical advice, book a consultation with our team at Cary OB/GYN. Call one of our two convenient locations today, or request your appointment online.