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8 Ways to Keep Your #EndoMonster Calm

8 Ways to Keep Your #EndoMonster Calm


Every #EndoBabe is unique — we each have individual triggers that spark pain and unpleasant Endo-related symptoms.

You know how it goes, you’ve been planning for this big event for ages, spent hours getting ready for a night out, or had an unusually busy work schedule only to find your Friday night wide open when all of a sudden… BAM! The little #EndoMonster starts to throw a party in your uterus. (And we’re not talking about the fun kind, either.)

Endo flares can happen at any time, for any reason.

For me, a flare-up brings excruciating pelvic pain that limits my ability to walk, eat, and go out. (Not to mention, gives me a big ole endo-belly.) And while it’s undoubtedly frustrating (and seems to happen at the absolute worst times), I wanted to share the things that I do to try and calm my #EndoMonster down.

Prevention is key.

Let’s start with prevention. Here are a few things I do to prevent (or at least minimize) my Endo flares. (I found these suggestions from my fellow #EndoSisters and you may have already come across a few of these tips yourself, either online or from your healthcare professional.)

I exclude dairy, gluten, and sugar from my diet due to the impact these items have on my hormone levels, specifically estrogen.

In addition to containing hormones, dairy products are filled with unwanted fats that can boost our estrogen levels. Gluten, on the other hand, is thought to contribute to inflammation and bloating. Sugary foods, although delicious, spike our blood sugar levels (which can lead to inflammation) and contain a considerable amount of fat (which, once again, messes with our estrogen levels.)

For me, cutting dairy from my diet worked the best. (It dramatically improved my daily pain levels.) I also found that specific types of gluten-containing foods (e.g. white bread) triggered my pain. And, while I try my best to be completely sugar-free, I love chocolate too much…

Even though these tips can be classed as “prevention methods,” you should know that nothing you do can ultimately prevent or cure Endometriosis. It’s also important to note that every #EndoBabe is different. Just because these methods work for me, doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for you (but I hope they do!) And, as always, please speak with your doctor before making any major changes to your diet or behavior.

Stay on top of your pain.

You may look at that heading and think “Yeah, of course, I have pain relief,” but the physiotherapist inside of me wants to explain why it’s so important.

When you get that first hint of a flare-up, you should take your pain medication right away. (Don’t wait until it gets just a little bit worse.) Why? Because pain is harder to manage if it’s not properly controlled.

Now, I’ll admit that I used to be terrible at this (Yes, I should practice what I preach. People who work in healthcare make terrible patients, fact!), but it wasn’t until I worked with pain specialists that I realized how important pain management is, especially for women like us. Pain that is not controlled over a long period of time can also develop into chronic pain, which is even harder to manage with your typical over-the-counter pain medication. So what’s the lesson here? It’s important to take the appropriate amount of your pain reliever of choice regularly throughout a flare-up.

To ease my mind, I carry a little make-up bag containing all my medication that is ready-to-go and easily transferable from handbag to handbag (or my husband’s book bag!). I also have a separate stash of pain medication in my work bag. And if I’m experiencing a flare-up that’s so bad it’s kept me stuck on the sofa, I found writing down the allowed doses (and the doses I’ve already taken) helps me stay on top of things.

It’s also super important to talk to your doctor if your prescription isn’t working or is hitting you with weird side effects.

Two words: Heating pad.

When I had my first period, I remember my mom popping her wheat bag in the microwave and sticking it to my stomach until my cycle ended. Heat, in the form of a wheat bag (aka an all-natural alternative to the traditional heating pad), patches, or a warm bath, is something I still swear by today for helping ease menstrual cramps and pain.

Heat increases blood flow, relaxes your muscles, and provides your body with the energy it needs to keep pushing through the day.

If I’m out and about and experience a flare-up, I’ve found that stick-on heat patches are an effective way to get a little relief on the go. (They usually last for a few hours and are discreet under clothing.) I always carry a few in my handbag and/or work bag just in case I get a flare-up.

I’m unable to take a wheat bag into work, but if your work allows it, it can be a great way to help ease the pain — just make sure the temperature is comfortable for your skin and does not leave burns or marks, and that you take breaks in between uses. If you suffer from adverse reactions to extreme temperatures (such as rashes when exposed to freezing or boiling weather), you should seek advice before trying heat or ice (see below) as a relief method.

If heat doesn’t work, try to cool things down a bit.

I’ll admit I am relatively new to this method (Perhaps it was the extreme amount of swelling I had after my last surgery or the current heatwave here in the UK that drove me to use ice packs), but I am so glad I did. Like heat, ice can provide temporary pain relief and reduce inflammation.

When my endo-belly is in full swing, I find it really soothing to place an ice pack or a bag of peas in a tea towel on my stomach and let the cool sensation ease my bloating and pain. If you’re not into sticking a bag of peas on your tummy, you can purchase cold patches for relief on the go. (Although, I’ve yet to try cold patches myself.)

Say goodbye to tight jeans.

When I’m in a full swing #EndoFare, there’s nothing more daunting to me than having to wear jeans or tight clothing, because I know my endo-belly won’t allow me to close the clasp/button (or it’ll just stick out like a sore thumb.) And maybe that is my own insecurity, but I don’t want to hear questions about my swollen stomach.

I feel confident in clothing I am physically comfortable in.

If am stuck at home because my flare-up has me grounded, I usually opt for loose trousers, an over-sized shirt (typically my husbands!), or pajamas that won’t put too much pressure on my abdomen. If I’m heading out, I make sure I have a non-fitted dress available, and sometimes I’ll pack an extra pair of even looser clothes in the car. To eliminate the pain of pressure on my abdomen when I’m flaring at work, I wear my uniform just one size up because I found I’d rather have someone comment on how big it looks rather than wondering how far along I am.

If you don’t have an over-sized shirt, don’t worry. You don’t need to go out and purchase specific clothes, you’re more than likely to have some good options in your wardrobe.

Stay hydrated.

If you’re anything like me and severe Endo pain and swelling makes you sick, then you’ll know how easy it is to forget a meal or stop drinking water completely. Or maybe your pain medication makes you feel nauseated. Either way, staying hydrated will prevent you from becoming dehydrated (symptoms include: headaches, tiredness, and dizziness. Who needs all this extra stuff when you’re dealing with a flare-up?!), reduce inflammation, and flush out toxins in your body.

Because of my other health conditions, it’s rare for me to drink anything other than water, but if it’s nausea that’s preventing me from drinking, I find a good cup of mint tea settles my stomach. I also try to drink from larger glasses, so I can easily keep track of how much I’m drinking or find encouragement to drink a bit more if needed.

I’ll also take a bottle of water with me if I am going out, which also comes in handy when I need to top up on pain relief or take my next dose of medication. If you find that you’re flaring before you’re due to go out, I’d encourage you to take a drink with you. Most public cafes (and some restaurants) will fill up your water bottle with tap water for free, so you never have to worry about running out.

If you’re flaring before a work meeting or during a busy schedule, switch coffee and tea (which are likely to dehydrate you and contain caffeine, another well-known trigger food) for water.

Treat yourself with a much-needed massage.

Ever wondered why you feel so much better after having a big hug from a loved one? It’s because hugging releases the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “love hormone”), which helps relax and soothe the body.

You could also just get a massage, which will help you relieve a little bit of anxiety and stress.

If your mid-flare or waiting for the pain medication to kick in, snuggle up to a loved one or ask for a massage (I love having my feet massaged). Lower back massages are beneficial for #EndoBabes due to the location of pelvic structures.

Listen to your body.

You’ll find there will be times in your life when you have to be brave and just say “No.” If you’re going through a horrific flare-up and are unable to complete the tasks ahead of you, you have every right to stop and decline. Sometimes it’s not worth pushing through the pain.

There have been times when I’ve had to call out due to pain. I’ve been bed-bound and have had to cancel plans with friends and family because it was just too painful to move. And even though I thought about it over and over, (whether it’s a good idea to just say “No” even though I know it will be the right decision for me) the people I’ve canceled on have been incredibly understanding and supportive.

When things aren’t going as planned because your #EndoMonster is out of control, and you’re curled up on the sofa breathing through the cramps, just remember that flare-ups don’t last forever and there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.

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