Learning how to manage endometriosis pain can be key to managing your symptoms and the overall condition. Managing endometriosis pain is often a process that may involve trial and error. Discovering the best methods and treatment plans for your pain can be a personal journey. That said, it helps you to know what treatment options are available to you and when you should consider them when you start this journey.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a gynecological condition where the tissue of the uterus grows uncontrollably in other places in the pelvis. Most commonly, these growths occur on the ovaries, behind the uterus, on the bowels, or bladder. It affects the interior structure of the pelvis, including the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
There can be many symptoms associated with this condition. While some are more common than others, most of them directly involve the reproductive system. Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with endometriosis:
- Abnormal or unusually heavy bleeding during periods
- Pelvic pain that worsens during periods
- Pain during intercourse
- Painful urination or bowel movements during menstrual periods
- Other lower bowel issues (chronic constipation, diarrhea, etc)
- Blood in your urine
- Ovarian Cysts
- Chronic fatigue
Many symptoms associated with endometriosis cause pain around your menstrual cycle. If left untreated, this chronic condition can lead to changes in the reproductive system, pelvis, and fertility issues. Learning how to manage endometriosis pain can come from identifying the worst of your symptoms and establishing an initial treatment plan to combat them.
If you suspect you have endometriosis, you may want to determine if your symptoms are caused by endometriosis compared to fibroids (another common medical condition that affects the female reproductive system).
How to manage endometriosis pain
- Over-the-Counter Medication
Over-the-counter pain medication is the first line of defense against endometriosis pain. Using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID) medications like ibuprofen and naproxen are often the foundations of any treatment.
- Prescription Medications
Sometimes, your pain may require more serious pain-relieving medication that can only be acquired through a doctor’s prescription. If you feel that OTC medications are not giving relief, you may want to discuss your options.
- Applying Heat
Heat often helps with inflammation and pain. Using a heating pad, heated blanket, or taking a hot shower or bath may often help reduce pain in your pelvis.
- Oral Contraceptives
prescribe certain types of oral contraceptives to adjust hormone levels in your body.
- Stress Management
One key to managing endometriosis pain may lie in managing your stress. There are many ways to lower your stress, including meditation, breathing techniques, and basic stretching. If you find yourself having difficulty managing your stress long-term, you may want to seek professional help in the form of a cognitive-behavioral therapist or life coach.
- Lifestyle Adaptations
Making basic lifestyle changes can affect your daily life as well as help in managing endometriosis pain. This can include getting more sleep, avoiding certain foods, and taking proper vitamins. Small lifestyle changes to better your health can be key to determining how to manage endometriosis pain.
- Dietary Changes
Many people have found changing certain aspects of their diet can decrease pain and discomfort from endometriosis. Avoid refined carbohydrates like sugary drinks and food like pasta and break. Introducing anti-inflammatory foods and those high in Omega-3 – including fatty fish, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, and fruits – into your daily diet may help.
While it certainly will not cure any conditions, physical activity can benefit your overall health and help manage endometriosis pain. Exercise does not have to be strenuous to be effective. You may want to try dedicated stretching, yoga, or even daily walks to increase your heart rate for short periods.
- Hormone Therapy
While oral contraceptives are one form of hormone therapy available, it is not the only option. Your doctor can prescribe hormone therapies in any number of forms including oral pills, nasal sprays, injections, and even intrauterine devices.
- Minor Surgery
If you are unable to find relief from endometriosis pain, your doctor may recommend minor surgery to remove excess tissue growth or abnormal scar tissue in your pelvic region. These surgeries are relatively conservative and often largely painless. Studies have shown that these surgeries greatly increase the chances of pregnancy.
Endometriosis does not cause the same symptoms in every person. Identifying symptoms and learning how to manage those symptoms can be one component of managing endometriosis pain. You may find that you need to try several before you find the correct one for your symptoms. More likely, you may need to combine multiple treatments – such as the use of hormonal therapies and dietary changes or pain medications in tandem – to find the solution that works for you.
There are many paths to managing endometriosis pain long-term. If you are experiencing endometriosis pain, you are not alone. At Viva Eve, our top-rated women’s health specialists are uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat your symptoms. With our interdisciplinary team of specialists all in-house, we provide you with comprehensive, empowering care.