OK, ya’ll, I’ve put a LOT of time and research into curating this list for you and I’m super proud of it! What is it missing? What future posts would you like to see? Email me to suggest topics!
I’ve suffered from endometriosis for as long as I can remember. Like most of us with endo, I wasn’t diagnosed until YEARS after my symptoms began. It has therefore taken me a long time to figure out how to live with this condition; I’m sure many of you can relate! I wanted to share some of the things that have made my life so much easier. I hope they help you too :)
These tips are also great for those of you recovering from vaginoplasty, hysterectomy, and many laparoscopic abdominal surgeries too!
- Pelvic cushion: seriously the best investment for endo, or anyone with pelvic or tailbone pain. Pudendal neuralgia, coccydynia, and hemorrhoids folks will benefit from this as well. Use it every time you drive, anytime you’re sitting at home or at the office, or in a restaurant, theater, friends’ house, etc. Just use it, it’s so worth it!
- Comfi-Life is the cheapest option, and is super effective. I like the gel-enhanced version over the slightly cheaper foam option. It’s a bit obvious that it’s a butt cushion, so not as great for travel, but great for leaving in your car, wheelchair, or office chair.
- If that one doesn’t work for you, try this more expensive option with a larger cut out. They also have a travel version, which is easy to carry, folds up like a weird purse, and doesn’t scream, “I have butt pain.” You can also, in a pinch, use a travel neck pillow, though they don’t work as well because they’re small.
- Sugar-free coconut flakes: because I always need a good snack and it’s hard to find travel-friendly options that work with my modified autoimmune protocol diet.
- Standing desk: because sitting all day is pretty much the worst thing you can do for endo pain.
- You can get fancy adjustable ones so you can sit and stand, especially helpful if you tend to get worn out from standing too much. Here are some high end, midrange, and cheaper options.
- Ikea also has an even cheaper option that fits in tiny spaces, but it doesn’t adjust. I have this one and like all the storage space it has underneath; I don’t have to have a separate storage area for work stuff.
- More tips on choosing a standing desk here.
- Castor oil compress
- Heat alone is super helpful for most endo pain. Combining it with castor oil is even more relieving. Castor oil supports lymphatic drainage and boosts your immune system activity to actually help digest endometrial implants, scar tissue and fibroids, resulting in less pain and inflammation over time! Here’s how to do it.
- Don’t use castor oil compresses during menstruation or if you might be pregnant. It’s best to use them daily at first, starting after your period ends and ending when it begins again. As you improve, you can start backing off to once a week except the week before your period, when it’s still best to do it 2-3 times. Commit to doing them for at least 6 months to get their full effect. You can reuse the oil-soaked fabric and keep it in the freezer between uses. Just let it defrost before using again! Replace it after about 7 uses. More information on using castor oil packs.
- Use a cold-pressed, hexane-free, paraben-free option like this one or this one which is available in most pharmacies. You can get the whole shebang as a premade kit like this, or get a cute set on etsy with this oil and flannel and tie on cover. You can add essential oils to your castor oil, but DO NOT use lavender or sage which are estrogenic. Check out this lovely local Chinese herb and CBD infused option, which we well at Prism (email me to order!).
- Foam roller
- Endometriosis can cause fibromyalgia-like hypersensitization of the myofascial system, resulting in muscular pain not only around the pelvis, but all over the body’s trigger points (aka acupuncture points, yep, we had those first). There are a bunch of different foam roller options. I recommend starting with a softer roller and progressing to a midrange one. Don’t go for the super firm options as causing pain can actually increase your body’s tension response! You can even get a collapsible travel roller. Here’s how to foam roll, and a video of a foam roller sequence for endometriosis.
- More exercises for improving endo pain: stretches and more stretches, fascial release techniques, tennis ball technique, pinky ball, MELT Method, Clear Passage Approach, yoga for endo, pilates for endo.
- Microwaveable hot pack
- I can’t tell you how many endo patients I’ve seen with belly and low back burns and mottled skin from too hot heating pads. Microwaveable heat pads (like this ginger infused one or this leopard print one) and hot water bottles (like this fleece wrapped rubber one or )are so much better because they start out at their hottest. You know immediately if it’s going to burn you so you can adjust (putting a shirt in between to reduce the heat, etc). Heating pads get hotter over time so you’re like a lobster in a pot of boiling water. You can burn yourself without even realizing it because you’re adjusting slowly to the heat. Stay away from heating pads! Burning yourself does NOT help your endo symptoms. Plus, the EMF emitted by electronic items isn’t great for your reproductive organs (don’t put your laptop on your belly or carry your phone in your front pocket either for this reason!).
- Check out these stick-on disposable heat packs too!
- Nausea relief
- Extra strength ginger, like in Dramamine natural, I find even more effective than regular Dramamine, and without side effects. Ginger chews can also work well, but I recommend staying away from sugar which can cause endo belly flare ups and inflammation (aka more pain)! Sea bands stimulate PC6, an acupuncture point for nausea, and are a totally natural way to prevent nausea. You can wear them all day.
- Taking enzymes with meals can reduce nausea, ‘endo belly’, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea, and allow you to digest foods that you otherwise would react to. I carry Enteromend in my office for this purpose.
- You can also take enzymes between meals to help digest scar tissue and adhesions. I carry Serramend in my office for this purpose.
- Crystal wand
- If you have chronic pelvic pain, pain with penetrative sex, pain with urination, pain with bowel movements, and/or referred pain (to your belly button, inner thighs, etc), you likely have pelvic floor tension that can be improved with a crystal wand or pelvic wand, . When we feel pain, we tense up around it to protect the area. This is great if we have an acute injury that needs protecting. Unfortunately, with chronic pain, we just keep tensing up and tensing up over time without ever relaxing our muscles, which actually just creates more pain. A crystal wand helps release pelvic floor ‘knots’ via the vagina and/or anus. It can be painful at first, so I recommend starting slow, working on one spot at a time, rather than overwhelming yourself and creating more pain (and therefore more tension). Here’s how to do it. If you have too much pain to use a crystal wand, you can start with vaginal dilators, which are more gentle. Pelvic relaxation breathing exercises are also excellent for this.
- To learn how to do this properly, and get even more tips personalized to your body, visit a Pelvic PT. Lisa Thompson PT, at Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Center in Berkeley, CA is trans competent.
- Leggings that look like pants, and other endo-friendly clothing
- I personally love paperbag pants for this. My other favs: travel stretch pants, dressy sweatpants, eco-friendly stretch pants, wrap dresses, and wrap sweater dresses. My Chronic Style makes clothing specifically for endometriosis and pelvic pain! For men’s styles, check out these dressy men’s sweatpants and this list of comfortable men’s pants. Tips for choosing endo friendly clothing, and more endo-friendly options. How clothes can help you feel better about your endo body.
Schedule an appointment to learn more about managing your endometriosis and living pain-free! Call 510-394-2743 or schedule online.
This information is for educational purposes only, please consult a healthcare provider before exercising and always follow your surgeon’s advice.