Chronic, throbbing, explosive. These are just three words that women have used to describe the oftentimes excruciating pain of endometriosis. The condition was first discovered in Vienna in 1860 and now affects 1 in 10 fertile women, worldwide.
Treatment for endometriosis is limited and the condition has no known cure, as of now. But, women have found alternative pain relief methods to help manage the pain of this condition and to veer away from the overuse of painkillers. This guide will explore 5 pain relief methods, all of which are alternatives to pain medications and help to reduce the symptoms of endometriosis.
The CBD market has seen a surge in popularity over recent years with many people using the natural chemical to treat a variety of conditions. These can include mental health disorders, sleep conditions and now, endometriosis.
The science behind CBD as a source of pain relief is simple; cannabidiol is a type of cannabinoid, a chemical found naturally in marijuana and hemp plants.
The chemical, whilst included in the production of the popular recreational drug, does not cause the euphoric ‘high’ feeling that comes with its usage.
The euphoria Is caused by a separate entity altogether, one known as THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)
It is the confusion between the two that has led people to believe that CBD products are no more than a recreational fad. In reality, CBD has been shown to significantly decrease pain and assist with a multitude of different issues and disorders, such as anxiety and sleep issues.
In a survey conducted in 2021, a group of 253 women who suffered from endometriosis were asked about their experiences in using CBD to treat their symptoms. Of that, 63% of those women had tried a CBD product to help ease their endometriosis pain. Of that 63%, 59% said that the CBD products worked, and were able to alter their dosages of pain medication as a result.
There is strong evidence to suggest that CBD products, such as oral drops, and gummies can be used to help lessen the overbearing pains of endometriosis. Companies such as Allstar CBD stock these products, and encourage the use of them as a natural source of pain relief.
Acupuncture is a favoured, natural method of pain relief for endometriosis as it is believed to help reduce the root cause of the pain, not just temporarily mask it as painkillers would. Patients that took part in an Australian study reported a 48% drop in endometriosis pain over the 8 weeks of acupuncture.
But how is it done?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles into a specific part of the patient’s body to reduce inflammation and pain. For endometriosis, this is usually done over a course of 6-8 weeks and commonly you can expect results in 3-6 months. This is a highly used method in East Asia but has since started to gain more attention within Western medicine, being used for the treatment of endometriosis.
TENS machines, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator machines, are small discrete machines that cling to the skin, sending electrical pulses into the body. The pulses help block the pain signals and help the body to produce endorphins, therefore providing overall pain relief.
TENS machines are usually affordable and can be easily transported for convenient usage on the go, making them a pretty good all-round solution for endometriosis pain. According to Activlife, over 70% of women who tried the machine responded well to the TENS treatment and reported experiencing less pain.
The use of one is not painful, rather it is a slight tickly/tingling sensation. It is not regarded as an unpleasant feeling by many which makes using a TENS machine a great solution to try for your endometriosis pain.
Heat is one of the most common home remedies for endometriosis pain, due to its cheap and simple use.
Much like menstrual cramps, experienced by every woman at some point, using a simple hot water bottle can be a great source of comfort. The heat relaxes the uterus, reducing the tightening of blood vessels, thus improving blood flow to the uterus and easing the pain caused by endometriosis.
This method of pain relief is again, all-natural and is a good way to avoid painkiller overuse. The equipment needed is minimal and affordable also.
You can apply heat treatment to your body in a number of ways. These include:
- A hot water bottle
- A heating pad
- Taking a hot bath
- Heat wrap
- Slipping into a hot tub
It is proven that stress levels can correlate directly with the pain intensity of endometriosis and can have a huge impact on the effects of the condition. Therefore, it is important to relieve stress in any way possible. Of course, for everyone this is done differently, someone’s ultimate way to relax could be another’s worst nightmare. This is why you should find out what works for you, to keep those stress levels low and ultimately reduce the pain of endometriosis.
Some of the most popular methods of stress-relief include:
- Being active – Getting outside and exercising is proven to have a positive impact on stress levels by producing endorphins within the brain.
- Make sure you’re connecting with those around you – This could be talking with a friend, a family member, a colleague or whoever you have around you. Keeping in touch with people ensures that you are not isolating yourself, lowering those stress levels significantly.
- Avoid unhealthy habits – These can include alcohol, smoking and caffeine. It is easy to become dependent on these as coping mechanisms but is important to try not to. These can lead to even more stress, and therefore more intense endometriosis pain.
- Meditation – In recent years, meditation apps like Calm and Headspace have become all the rage with many people using them daily as a stress reliever. Meditation is good for your overall mental health and is proven to have positive effects on stress levels.
The end result
Ultimately, using natural pain relief methods for the treatment of endometriosis is a great idea to help steer away from conventional painkillers. Everything is worth a try and giving these treatments a go could result in you finding the right pain reliever for you.