My endometriosis journey has been nothing short of frustrating. On average, it takes women 10 years to receive a diagnosis, which is the exact length of time it took me—from when I first experienced symptoms at age 14, to when I had excision surgery at 24. It was a decade of pushing symptoms away that I couldn’t physically see. Seeking answers from health professionals. Untimely flare-ups. Calling on friends and family for support. And trying different medications to receive just a second of endometriosis pain relief at home.
Chances are if you’re reading this article, you or someone you love is also suffering from this condition. And whether it’s been a decade-long struggle or you’re in the beginning stages of your research, it’s important to note is that everyone’s path is different. What works for someone else, may not work for you.
Thirteen years later, I’m now in the “management phase” of my Stage 1 diagnosis following my surgery in 2017. Because there is no known cure, all I can do is try my best to keep my symptoms at bay. I’ve tried it all from oral contraceptives to acupuncture and Lupron injections but today, I choose to manage my endo naturally with diet, exercise and home remedies. But before I get into what I use to achieve endometriosis pain relief at home, let’s go over the basics.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue (similar to endometrial tissue that lines the uterus) is found on other parts of the body. Most commonly it’s the pelvis, but in some cases, it can appear on the bladder, appendix, diaphragm and more. This tissue then creates lesions that can become inflamed or bleed which results in pain, the formation of scar tissue and inflammation.
What are the symptoms?
The vast range of symptoms for endometriosis is yet another reason why it’s difficult to diagnose. And no matter what stage your endo is (Stage I to Stage IV), it doesn’t correlate with the severity of the symptoms you might be experiencing. That being said, the most common symptoms include cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, pain with urinating, pain during sex, fatigue, brain fog and infertility.
How is it diagnosed and how can I treat it?
The only way to diagnose endometriosis is through surgery. Specifically a low-risk and minimally invasive procedure known as a laparoscopy. If abnormal cells are present, they should be removed via excision and the cells sent out for biopsy.
The most effective “treatment” for endo is excision surgery. Everything else from hormonal medications such as oral contraceptives and IUDs to acupuncture or pelvic floor therapy can be helpful tools for managing your symptoms.
The Products That Have Actually Helped Me:
1. Heating Pad
Heat therapy in relation to endometriosis has been known to relax muscles, reduce cramping and lessen abdominal pain. There are options out there which include a hot water bottle or even a warm, damp towel.
I prefer to use something more comfortable like a heating pad. Specifically, this huggable non-electric one from Urban Outfitters. Made with natural buckwheat grains and lavender, you can toss it in the microwave or in the freezer for a cooling sensation. I would even recommend buying two—one to position directly on your abdomen, and the other to place against your lower back—since I oftentimes have pain in both areas at the same time.
2. CBD Bath Bomb
The natural healing powers of a warm bath dates back centuries. I like to kick things up a notch by using a bath bomb. Or even better, this one from Kush Queen that’s CBD-infused. Like CBD topicals, the hemp is able to be absorbed quickly through the skin. During your soak, it becomes a full-body application for all-over relief.
3. Body Pillow
Pregnant women know this product all too well. Although I have no reason to be shopping in the maternity aisle, this U-shaped body pillow has become my best friend. At its core, it’s something that’s comforting to snuggle up with at night. But there are added benefits that go below the surface. When lying on your side, it helps to remove tension by keeping pressure off the back and keeping the hips aligned. It’s also been known to have a positive effect on your blood circulation and helps the muscles to relax more completely.
4. CBD Gummies
Made famous by A-listers including Kim Kardashian and Busy Phillips, these CBD gummies from Lord Jones have been my most bougie purchase. But hear me out, they actually work (and are worth the buy). Each of Lord Jones’ gumdrops are made by hand with natural flavors and contain 20mg of CBD per treat. While it’s not the highest amount on the market, these do the trick for me and I’ve even doubled up when in need of a stronger dose.
5. Back Massager
There’s only so many times I can bribe a family member or friend to rub my back for me during hard times. That’s ultimately why I believe my boyfriend decided to buy me a back massager, even one that has a heat setting. This one can be used anywhere, any time—which makes it an easy thing to reach for when I want immediate relief.
6. Ginger Turmeric Tea
Individually powerful ingredients, it’s when ginger and turmeric come together that they’re the strongest. They’ve been shown to decrease inflammation, relieve chronic pain, reduce nausea and improve immune function. When I’m not feeling my best, I like to make myself a cup of this organic herbal tea from Trader Joe’s. For double relief, I tend to rest the warm cup of tea on my abdomen in between sips.
$2.49, Trader Joe’s
7. CBD Cream
Thanks to some experimenting with endometriosis pain relief at home, I’ve found that topical CBD products personally bring me the most immediate relief. They can vary in strength and ingredients, but his relief cream from The Green Room in NJ is my go-to. It’s made with 850mg of full-spectrum CBD oil, and contains ingredients such as aloe leaf juice, lavender oil, peppermint and rosemary. It’s instantly cooling on the skin and the relief lasts significantly longer than other creams I’ve tried.
8. Weighted Blanket
The most unlikely player when it comes to endometriosis pain relief at home is the weighted blanket. Known for easing anxiety and improving sleep cycles, weighted blankets have a unique ability to reduce pain as well. For me, I enjoy the firm pressure that a weighted blanket provides. That said pressure is supposed to relax the nervous system, and trigger an overall sense of calm and peace. The blankets themselves can range in price and weight, so make sure to shop accordingly.
About the Author/s
Abby is The Digest's Managing Editor. She spends her time looking at dogs on Instagram and eating her way around Jersey City.