Endometriosis Self-Care Tips

A person soothing abdominal cramps with a heating pad.

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, commonly in the pelvic area. During a person’s menstrual cycle, this tissue behaves like the normal lining of the uterus – thickening, breaking down, and bleeding. Because it is outside the uterus, it has no way to exit the body, leading to symptoms such as inflammation, pain, and fertility issues in some cases. 1 It is estimated that over 11% of American women and girls between the ages of 15 and 44 are affected by endometriosis. 2.

 

Tips for Taking Care of Yourself When You Have Endometriosis

Acupuncture

More research needs to be conducted, however some studies suggest that acupuncture may help manage endometriosis. 3 Studies have demonstrated that acupuncture can reduce pain by impacting the brain’s limbic system. 4 Because of this, those experiencing pain related to endometriosis may experience some relief through regular acupuncture appointments. Note that while acupuncture may alleviate some of the pain associated with endometriosis, it is important to make other dietary and lifestyle changes to address the root of the pain and seek professional evaluation.

Use Heat to Relieve Pain

Using heat can help alleviate pain caused by endometriosis because it relaxes the muscles in the pelvic area, which may ease discomfort. 5  Applying a heating pad or taking a warm bath can provide soothing relief for individuals experiencing endometriosis-related pain. Try adding epsom salts to your bath for added muscle relaxation. Heat therapy is a simple and effective way to help manage symptoms and improve overall comfort during flare-ups of endometriosis pain.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Endometriosis may increase your risk of depression and anxiety. 6 Because of this, it is particularly important for those with endometriosis to prioritize their mental wellness. Building strong social connections and seeking support from friends, family, or mental health professionals when needed can also contribute to positive mental health outcomes. Engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfillment, setting realistic goals, and being kind to yourself are also important aspects of maintaining mental well-being. Overall, making time for self-care, staying connected, and seeking help when necessary can help promote and maintain good mental health.

Eat More Vegetables

More research is needed on the correlation between endometriosis and vegetable intake, but one study found a connection between low-vegetable diets and endometriosis. 7 Vegetables are a great source of fiber, which may help with digestive issues connected with endometriosis, such as bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation. Try adding more fresh veggies to your diet. Visit your local farmers’ market to see what’s in season and get some inspiration on new ways to add vegetables to your diet.

Increase Your Omega-3 Intake

Increasing omega-3 intake can be helpful for people with endometriosis because omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body. Since endometriosis already causes inflammation and pain, adding more omega-3s from sources like fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts may help ease symptoms like pelvic pain and discomfort. 8  It is important to remember that dietary changes alone may not be enough to alleviate endometriosis symptoms, so it is best to consult with a healthcare provider like a naturopathic doctor for personalized advice and treatment options.

Limit Gluten

Some people find that gluten can trigger inflammation in the body. Endometriosis causes inflammation, so avoiding gluten may reduce additional inflammation and help manage symptoms like pain and discomfort. 9  Note that not everyone with endometriosis will benefit from avoiding gluten, so it is important to talk to a naturopathic doctor before making big changes to your diet. An ND will collaborate with you to find the right dietary plan for you, tailored to your specific needs.

*Note: If you or your patient has a history of disordered eating, please implement dietary recommendations in a way that is safe for the patient.

See an ND for Hormonal Balancing

Endometriosis may be worsened by a hormonal imbalance, so working with a naturopathic doctor for hormonal balancing may help. 10 They will look at your specific symptoms, diet, lab tests and lifestyle to identify potential changes you can make to improve your condition. Your ND may suggest foods to add to your diet or to limit, as well as supplements, physical activities, and environmental changes specifically chosen for your unique set of symptoms, barriers, and needs.

The information presented on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

 

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