As an endometriosis sufferer, I’m always looking for new ways to reduce my most persistent and painful symptoms. My special blend of pelvic pain, debilitating cramps and chronic fatigue are unremorseful about canceling plans at the last-minute or turning in at 7 p.m. on a Friday night. They have little interest in showering and are perfectly content wearing the same pair of sweats for days on end. No superfood, pill or exercise reduces my endo bloat, which is often mistaken for a little bun the oven. My stomach is angry as hell and wants the world to know there is nothing cute about endometriosis adhesions and scarring.
Every woman with endometriosis can describe exactly how she handles the painful flare-ups. With no known cause or cure for the disease, we are masterful at navigating days when standing upright is winning. For me, I swear by pelvic floor physical therapy, Reiki, acupuncture and yoga. And while my loved ones lend me their support, no one will ever get me like my heating pad does. I cry on him and twist his cord in knots, and he still wraps me in three glorious settings of electric warmth in a matter of minutes.
Because I am far from an outlier where endometriosis is concerned, we came up with a list of must-have creature comforts, natural pain relievers and spirit lifters. The women we spoke to have self-care and listening to their bodies down to a science. Anxiety reducers, healthy food, stuffed animals and connecting with other endo women on social media are also part of their daily care plan. And everyone is madly in love with their heating pad, so if you don’t already have one, we recommend investing in one stat. Ahead, nine products real women with endometriosis swear by.
A version of this article was originally published in February 2019.
A Trusty Heating Pad
“Without a doubt, it’s my heating pad. I drag it around my apartment like Linus’ blanket, just plugging it in where I land!” — Elise R., 29
“When painkillers and heat packs have no effect, I listen to my favorite music. It helps me to relax during a terrible flare-up and distracts me from the anxiety endo causes. If I’m feeling like I need an escape from everything, I bust out some moves to Freddie Mercury. When I’m trying to relax and breathe through a bad flare day, I listen to slow, soothing songs by The Beatles.” — Kellie N., 32
A Comforting Friend
“I have a unicorn hottie my mom got me when I was leaving the hospital after surgery that is my go-to when I’m feeling ill. It’s basically a soft unicorn toy with heating beads in it that smell like lavender.” — Terrie J., 30
The OG Wheat Bag
“My must-have item is my beloved wheat bag. I go through these like there is no tomorrow because I get up multiple times in the night to heat them up and often over ‘cook’ them!” — Amy C., 37
A Contoured Body Pillow
“I prop [my leg pillow] between my legs to give me comfort and help relieve my sciatica pain during endo flares. It makes me as comfortable as possible to get some much-needed sleep.” — Aisya C., 35
A Chilly Respite
“My chilly towel is my savior in the summer. I actually had to buy a second one so I can rotate them and have one on hand throughout the season.” — Natalie N., 23
Calming Essential Oils
“One thing I do a lot is burn essential oils. When I have [an endo] flare-up, sweet orange essential oil reminds me of summer and comforts me. If I use my burner, it lasts longer and soothes me. I feel a little calmer to make space for what’s happening rather than try to fight against my body.” — Sadie W., 33
A Toast With Tea
“Tea and hot baths are an amazing way to manage the pain of endometriosis. I set up Netflix on my iPad, place it on a stool outside the tub and drink my tea in a warm bath.” — Katrina M., 28
A Way to Clear Your Head
“Mine is meditation! It’s gotten me through some really tough times. I love Insight Timer. The app has loads of content, and you can set a daily timer and reminders to stay on track!” — Sophie P., 29
“My most treasured possession during an endo flare has quickly become my bath tray. It allowed me to make a little nest for myself in the bath which is one of my favorite forms of pain relief. I can balance a cup of tea, a candle, my Kindle and whatever else I might need while I’m in there!” — Amber S., 28
A Loving Pillow
“My must-haves for dealing with my endometriosis would be (having) the most supportive husband and family, someone there to hold your hand and help you breathe through the pain. I love hugging in a heart-shaped pillow I’ve had for over twenty years. It’s so soft and brings me comfort.” — Jennifer W., 32
“My must-have item is my trusty TENs muscle stimulating machine. I have it strapped to me everyday so I’m part woman part machine! Mine is little and discreet so no one can tell I’m plugged in!” — Naomi B., 30
“My essential while in pain would definitely have to be my dogs. My dogs show so much love and care, it’s almost like they have a healing energy while around me. They also sit on my main area of pain (uterus and legs) which makes a great personal heat pack! As well as the pain, emotionally, endometriosis can take a toll. Aaving my dogs by my side giving me nothing but love cuddles and simply being there helps me. I couldn’t do it without them.” — Chelsea T., 17
“My must-have item isn’t such an item but more a presence. My cocker spaniel, Lady, has come over from Australia with me and has helped me emotionally. She’s like my shadow, following me everywhere, especially when I’m sick. It seems like she knows when I’m having a flare up or when I’m sad because she will always be gentle with me even if she’s just resting her head on my knee while I’m in pain.” — Natasha C., 29
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