Coping with endometriosis pain
Pain is a hallmark symptom of endometriosis. In addition to medical treatments, lifestyle changes may help.
Pain is one of the most challenging symptoms of endometriosis. It's common, sometimes severe, and can sideline you from both the necessities of the daily grind and the fun stuff you want to do.
Medical treatments such as pain medications, hormones and surgery should help curb the pelvic pain caused by growths along the reproductive tract. But there are additional things you can try — including heat therapy and stress management — to help cope with endometriosis pain.
Do you ever notice how much better you feel after a hot shower or snuggling up with a warm mug of tea? Heat therapy is also effective against endometriosis pain. Heat boosts blood flow and helps muscles relax, which reduces pain. Heat therapy is a safe complementary therapy to use in addition to your medications to cope with endometriosis pain. Soak in a warm bathtub, or apply a hot pack or heating pad to the pelvic area.
Lifestyle changes, including ways to lessen stress, can help you stay mentally healthy and manage pain. There's a relationship between pain and your emotional health:
- Severe endometriosis pain is associated with both depression and stress.
- Pain also reduces quality of life.
- Mental wellness is an important part of a pain management plan.
Practice stress management techniques to improve your mental health and ease pain. Research shows that practicing positive coping strategies, such as directly addressing pain rather than focusing on emotions, lowers both stress and depression.
To keep stress in check:
- Treat your body well. Get regular sleep, eat a nutritious diet and exercise regularly. Both fat loss and exercise also reduce estrogen levels in the body, which can improve your endometriosis symptoms.
- Be positive. Think encouraging thoughts, and speak kindly to yourself.
- Seek support. Connect with a therapist, counselor or support group if you feel like you're struggling. You don't need to deal with your pain alone.
A combination of therapies might help you take control over your endometriosis pain. Talk with your doctor about endometriosis treatments, lifestyle changes, complementary therapies and finding the support you need.
Oct. 03, 2018
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- Donatti L, et al. Patients with endometriosis using positive coping strategies have less depression, stress and pelvic pain. Einstein. 2017;15:65.
- Facchin F, et al. Impact of endometriosis on quality of life and mental health: Pelvic pain makes the difference. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2015;36:135.
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- Endometriosis. Office on Women's Health. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/endometriosis. Accessed March 26, 2018.