How I Deal With The Endo Monster
If you're reading this and you suffer with endometriosis, I'm so sorry that the monster decided to inhabit your body but I'm hoping this post will make dealing with this beast a little easier. These products and approaches are my go to's to prevent and deal with an endo flare and/or the dreaded endo belly. However, I will add that these are just personal recommendations and that none of the products mentioned are sponsored.
So without further ado and in no particular order, let's begin.
A Hot Water Bottle: I have one at home, at work, at my parents house and one in my car. A lot of my endo pain settles in my lower back and I've found that applying heat helps to take the edge off and relaxes my sore and tender muscles. I particularly like the hot water bottle created by the brand YuYu which is extra long and with ties so you can wrap it around yourself like a belt. What I also love about YuYu bottles is that they're made with biodegradable natural rubber so they're much more environmentally friendly than your standard hot water bottle and that makes me feel good.
Turmeric: This is a fairly recent addition to my flare prevention kit but since adding it to my regime I have noticed a severe reduction in the severity and frequency of my flares. Whilst turmeric seems to be the hot new spice on the rack, it has been used for centuries in eastern medicine for it's anti-inflammatory properties and is therefore great for helping with the symptoms of endometriosis. I take it as a supplement in capsule form twice a day but I know that some individuals prefer to have it as a tea or include it as part of their meals.
Green Tea: I have to admit that I actually hate green tea on it's own, something about the flavour just doesn't sit well with me. So why am I including it? Turns out I like flavoured green tea! Green tea with jasmine, green tea with mango, cherry bakewell green tea... You get the idea. Regardless of my flavour choice, green tea really helps me with my digestion, especially when I'm bloated, have trapped wind and my stomach is sore. It's also full of anti-oxidants which help the body protect itself from disease so that's a bonus too.
Simethicone: Otherwise known as the brand Wind Settlers, Windeze, etc. Essentially the bloating miracle medicine! Simethicone is an anti-flatulent (sexy, right?) which helps with trapped wind. Sometimes the holistic method doesn't work and you need to ease the pain of the endo bloat fast; that's where simethicone comes in. I prefer the capsules but they also come in tablets or as a liquid.
Heat Patches: These have the same impact as a hot water bottle just not as cumbersome! I always have one of these in my handbag just in case a flare hits. Some stick onto your clothing, some go directly on the skin but the majority work for a minimum of 8 hours which is great to see you through the day. For those of you in the UK, I get mine from Poundland and you. get 2 in a box.
BeYou Patches: I love these patches, they are bloody fantastic. BeYou patches are menthol and eucalyptus based which creates a lovely cooling effect to help with any pain and/or cramps you're dealing with. I can attest for the fact that these last 12 hours and that these suckers stick to you really well; to the point where it's best to remove them in the shower! I also like the fact that you can cut them in half so that you can be precise with the application. These are definitely a staple item in my flare kit.
Exercise: I won't lie to you, what works for me regarding exercise might be your worst nightmare and vice versa. It took me a long time to work out what I enjoy exercise wise and now that I have, it's much easier to incorporate into my life. In short, exercise releases endorphins which makes you happy. Exercising regularly can also increase anti-inflammatory and antioxidant markers within the body and also helps to decrease your body's oestrogen levels which is great as that's what feeds the endo monster.
Stretching & Massage: Why is this a separate category? Because sometimes just rolling around on the floor and doing a big ole stretch helps me feel better but I can't really justify that as being my exercise for the day. I never realised how much I tense my body until I take a moment to stretch. My endometriosis pain mostly settles in my lower back and pelvis and that pressure and tension needs to be released. This might happen by doing some yoga, random stretches throughout the day or by getting a sports massage but I always feel better after.
Epsom Salt Bath: I have to admit, I'm much more of a shower person but if I'm having a really horrid flare, I'll run myself a bubble bath with some epsom salts. It immediately relaxes me and epsom salts are great for reducing stress levels, muscle soreness and cramps/spasms. Plus the magnesium found in epsom salts can reduce inflammation and swelling (here's looking at you, endo belly!)
CBD: I love CBD and am obsessed with it. Out of all the things that help with my endometriosis, CBD has definitely helped the most. In short, CBD is similar to the chemicals in our body which make up our endocannabinoid system and this system keeps all our internal functions work properly. CBD activates the receptors of this system which has a huge range of effects.These include reducing inflammation, pain, bloating, anxiety... You get the idea. I take it daily as a tincture but also use a muscle balm and I vape it if I'm having a really bad flare.
Tens Machine: These little beauties come in all shapes and sizes and can really pack a punch. I've had my tens for a few years now and it has a well deserved place in my handbag. A tens machine works by sending out electrical pulses which can reduce the pain signals going to the spinal cord and brain as well as relaxing muscles. I like to stick mine on my back but I know of other endo warriors who like to use them over their pelvis; I often use mine when I'm travelling and I know I'm going to be sat down for a longer duration.
And Finally... Rest: Sometimes I have a midday nap, other times I'll put some relaxing music on and lie on the floor. Rest doesn't always mean sleeping but for me it means listening to my body Out of all these recommendations I think this is the most important because if I don't listen to my body my flares are significantly worse and I have nobody to blame for that but myself.