Endometriosis is a painful disorder that disrupts the everyday life of women suffering with the condition. The pain caused by endometriosis can be debilitating and can make even simple tasks feel impossible.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for endometriosis, which means that living with the condition is about managing your symptoms and pain. The pain and symptoms associated with endometriosis are different from person to person and can be constant or cyclical, arriving before and during your period.
Living with endometriosis is a physical and mental challenge. If you’ve just been diagnosed with endometriosis, it’s important to have an understanding of what exactly endometriosis is, how it will affect you and how to manage pain associated with the condition.
What is endometriosis
Special tissue called endometrium grows inside the uterus. The endometrium plays a vital role in the uterus with egg implantation, pregnancy and menstruation. Endometriosis is a condition in which this tissue grows outside of the uterus, generally on the ovaries, fallopian tubes and tissues that line the pelvis.
This tissue acts exactly as it does in the uterus: during your menstrual cycle it thickens, breaks down and bleeds. But because it’s not occurring in your uterus, the blood has nowhere to go and is trapped inside your body. This results in pain and irritation that can often lead to scarring, make sex painful and can even cause infertility.
Now that you understand what endometriosis is and how it causes pain, let’s take a look at a few of the ways you can help alleviate the pain.
Pain associated with endometriosis can be excruciating and last for a long time. Pain relievers may not take away all of your pain, but they can help. Speak with your primary care provider before any long-term use of pain relievers.
Use heat to your advantage
Heat is known to relax muscles and increase blood flow. Heating pads, hot compresses and even a hot bath can all be effective at relieving pain from endometriosis.
Regular exercise is good for your health in general, but when you’re in pain from endometriosis it may sound out of the question. If you’re able to fight through the mental block of not feeling able to exercise, know that it can also help relieve pain from endometriosis. Exercise not only increases your blood circulation, it also releases endorphins, which are known to reduce the sensation of pain in your body.
You don’t have to go overboard and run a marathon to find some relief. Low-intensity activities like yoga or pilates can be effective as can high-intensity activities like biking or aerobics. Try starting off slow to figure out what works best for you and your pain threshold.
Reduce your stress
Living with endometriosis means that your stress level is at a higher baseline than most others. The pain from endometriosis means that it’s difficult to participate in some activities, or may make you cautious about doing so. While stress isn’t a direct result of endometriosis, it no doubt adds it onto your plate.
Actively trying to reduce the amount of stress in your life can go a long way to coping with endometriosis. Try a few different activities to reduce your stress such as yoga, reading a book, going for walks or listening to calm music.
We can help
You are always at the center of care with our OB/GYN team. That means you are fully involved in choosing the right treatment plan for you. It’s how we make sure you get treatment that fits your individual concerns, preferences and values. Call (574) 533- 0560 to schedule an appointment.