Pelvic pain is a hallmark of endometriosis. Whether you suffer from severe menstrual cramps, painful intercourse, or pain throughout the month, it can get in the way of your life. Here at Maiden Lane Medical, we believe in treating the root cause of your pain by removing the endometriosis tissue and related scarring with minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. However, while you’re waiting for a diagnosis or your surgery, here is some practical advice for managing your pain and other endometriosis symptoms.
Managing endometriosis pain
Heat is one of the most effective home remedies for endometriosis pain. Heating pads, rice socks, and good old-fashioned hot water bottles provide just enough warmth to ease your cramping and soothe your body. Resting in a warm bath can help relax your entire body. Heat loosens cramping muscles, which can alleviate pain and help you feel better overall.
Invest in a TENS machine
A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine delivers a gentle and adjustable electrical current into tight, cramping muscles. The portable device has a few wires with sticky electrodes that you can place over sore muscles. When you turn on the device, it sends a mild current into those muscles to help them relax and lessen your discomfort.
Many women find that ibuprofen helps relieve their endometriosis pelvic pain. While you don’t want to be overly reliant on pain medication, even over-the-counter drugs, keeping a bottle of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) can take the edge off your pain. If you cannot tolerate medication such as Motrin, Alleve, or Naprosyn then please talk to your doctor as we can give you a non-narcotic prescription alternative with fewer side effects.
Additionally, talk to your doctor about whether additional medications including hormones may help to temporarily relieve the symptoms.
While there is little clinical evidence about the efficacy of acupuncture, anecdotally, we know that many women find that the therapy helps alleviate their pain and feel better overall. In Eastern medicine, acupuncture is believed to regulate and correct the flow of qi or life energy through your body. Conventional medicine thinks that the needles stimulate your nerves. We say, if it helps you feel better, find a safe and hygienic practice for your acupuncture treatments. An inexpensive option for this in NYC is the clinic at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.
Track your symptoms and plan ahead
There are plenty of health apps available that you can keep track of your symptoms, their severity, and when they occur during your cycle. This data can help you predict the days when you are more likely to feel rough and prepare. For example, you can make sure that you have ibuprofen or another pain medication available or give yourself extra time to get ready and get moving.
Take care of your overall health
Taking care of your overall health and well-being can help you feel better able to cope with your endometriosis symptoms.
Eat your veggies
Following a healthy diet provides many health benefits. Your body benefits from the vitamins and nutrients, which help optimize your body function. Additionally, a high veggie diet can help your digestion during your period, and ease some of your digestive symptoms. Also, ensuring that you get enough omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, like tuna and salmon, and eggs might help reduce your symptoms. Additionally, vitamin D is known to boost your mood, and B vitamins increase your energy levels, both of which can make it a little easier to deal with endometriosis symptoms.
Get enough sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep, your fatigue is likely to decrease your pain threshold and increase your irritability. Make sure that you get enough sleep at night and nap during the day. Feeling well-rested can make it easier to cope with your pain and other symptoms.
Move your body
When you’re coping with pelvic pain and digestive issues like diarrhea, going for a run is probably the last thing that you want to do. However, staying active helps reduce any anxious feelings caused by your endometriosis. Also, any type of aerobic or resistance training triggers an endorphin release in your body, which helps you experience less pain and feel better overall. Many of our patients report that practicing yoga relieves physical and mental stress.
Don’t be intimidated by the suggestion to meditate — you don’t need to spend hours meditating. Learning to take a few moments to focus on your breath, and the present moment can do wonders to reduce stress and anxiety.
Be kind to yourself
Remember, if you don’t feel well enough to meet a friend for dinner or make it to other plans, it’s okay. If you’re honest with yourself and your friends and family, you will be better equipped to understand and cope with the rough days. Don’t beat yourself up or engage in negative self-talk when you’re feeling rough.
If you’re concerned that you have endometriosis or are looking for a physician who can effectively treat your condition to ease your pain, call us at Maiden Lane Medical or make an appointment online. Our team of gynecologists have years of experience in diagnosing and treating endometriosis and are the premier endometriosis surgeons in New York City. We perform minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries to remove endometriosis adhesions and scar tissue to address the root cause of your pain and other symptoms.