8 Things to Always Have in Your House If You Have Endometriosis
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I’m not gonna lie. Learning to cope with endometriosis or any kind of chronic illness can have a steep learning curve. Discovering what endometriosis pain relief products work and don’t work and what you actually need during a flare-up takes time and a bit of interoception, meaning awareness of what is actually going on in your body.
It took me the better part of a decade, well into my 20s, to develop an arsenal of tools that I could reliably turn to to help manage my endometriosis pain. These are the top eight endometriosis symptom relief products that I always keep on hand.
1. Heating Pad for Endometriosis Pain Relief
I love this heating pad because not only does it provide heat, it provides weight and built-in massage with its vibration feature. Having some weight can help calm anxiety. It’s the basis of how a weighted blanket works. It can essentially mimic the feeling of the pressure of a hug, which releases oxytocin and other feel-good chemicals. When you are in the throes of horrendous cramps, being able to apply that heated pressure is a great way to offset the cortisol being released by the pain receptors in your body. And while I know many people like different types of TENS units to stimulate circulation and reduce pain, I find them clunky to deal with. This heating pad kills all birds with one stone.
2. Thinx Menstrual Underwear
Thinx are a revolutionary way of managing extremely heavy menstrual flow without having to wear bulky and uncomfortable pads that feel like diapers. Thinx are especially helpful for people like me who could not tolerate using a tampon, whether because of sexual abuse or just discomfort due to scar tissue. Having the ability to wear what essentially feels like normal underwear to absorb your flow can help you feel just that much more “normal.” They also look cute and are an environmentally friendly alternative to disposable feminine products.
3. Dr. Teal’s Foaming Bath With Epsom Salt Menstrual Formula
Few things are as soothing during an endometriosis flare associated with your menstrual cycle than a soak in a hot bath. I used to think this was counterintuitive, especially when I was actively bleeding. But somehow when you get into the tub, the warm water and weightlessness really do help to ease your flow and calm your nervous system. Adding this foaming bath product to your soak will take your bath to a whole different level. The Epsom salt helps to flush lactic acid out of achy cramping muscles, and the essential oils provide soothing relief from anxiety. Just a few minutes can help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated, even if just for a short period of time. That’s why this is one of my favorite endometriosis pain relief products.
4. AZO Urinary Pain Relief
AZO is the strongest over-the-counter pain relief for urinary tract infection symptoms. While I didn’t necessarily have a UTI, I often had pain and pressure that felt like a UTI accompanying my flare-ups due to the endometrial lesion that had formed on my bladder. AZO was the one thing that would alleviate that discomfort. Two words of warning, however. The AZO pills will turn your urine a bright orange color. This is normal and nothing to be alarmed by. Also, AZO taken on an empty stomach can cause nausea so never take it without food.
5. Nauzene Anti-Nausea Tablets
Digestive issues are very common with endometriosis and, in fact, according to research by the National Institute of Health, women with endometriosis are 3.5 times more likely to also have a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. I am one of those women. It was often indistinguishable whether I was having a flare-up of endometriosis symptoms or my IBS or if one was being triggered by the other. Either way, digestive issues were and continue to be a constant issue for me. Nausea is one of the more pervasive symptoms I experience, and as an emetophobic, I will do anything to avoid throwing up. I can literally count on one hand how many times I’ve thrown up in my adult life and I have these pills to thank for that. I never travel without them. The moment I feel even the slightest bit queasy, I chew one. If that doesn’t help, I chew another, and 99% of the time this helps to curb that nausea enough so that I no longer feel the urge to vomit. I cannot recommend these enough.
6. Senokot Tablets for Constipation Related to Endometriosis
Along with my digestive issue is my constant battle with constipation. My default tends to be toward constipation and if I don’t address it quick enough it often ends in diarrhea. A vicious cycle. Plus, being backed up only puts more pressure on the scar tissue built up in my abdomen from endometriosis making being constipated excruciatingly painful. I am also super sensitive to most laxatives as they tend to give me horrendous abdominal cramping. Senokot is really the only thing that I can take to get things moving again that doesn’t cause abdominal cramping and is effective within about eight hours. Because of my issues with constipation, I seldom use anything to combat occasional diarrhea. Most anti-diarrhea medications dehydrate me and then stop me up even worse so I just let things run their course. It’s not pleasant to talk about, but when you can’t go to the bathroom for three or four days, it’s miserable.
Continuing with the conversation about gut health, it goes without saying that most of us could benefit from taking a probiotic supplement in general, but particularly with ongoing issues with regularity, a probiotic regimen is essential. This particular one has 60 billion CFUs (colony forming units) of probiotic bacteria in each dose and is made with non-GMO, vegan, and other allergen-free ingredients. I have been taking this particular brand for years and while it isn’t a magic bullet for managing my gut issues, it certainly has helped regulate things. Bonus: probiotics are purportedly good for immune health and mood regulation.
8. Überlube Silicone Lubricant
There has been a lot of research regarding chronic illness and sex as pain management. Endometriosis is no different. Sexual stimulation can help release feel-good chemicals like dopamine and reduce cortisol levels acting in many ways like pain medication to ease cramping. However, with endometriosis, this can be a double-edged sword. Sex itself might be uncomfortable due to the proliferation of endometrial lesions. What can help ease this discomfort is a good lubricant. I’m very sensitive to things that are super sticky (a trauma trigger) so I was reticent to try this, but Uberlube was fairly smooth and not tacky. It is unscented and a little goes a long way. It was also referred to me by my OB/GYN as safe and allergen-free for sensitive skin. While it doesn’t always work, it can be just the thing to take the edge off so that sex can be comfortable enough to reap the so-called rewards.
I know that some of these may appear to have nothing to do with endometriosis, but the wide array of symptoms speaks to the degree to which endometrial lesions can affect multiple organs and systems of the body. Hopefully having these items on hand will help you handle those flare-ups in more effective ways.