Having to manage endometriosis symptoms independent of a global pandemic is stressful. So, the added pressure that the coronavirus created has upped the ante. From canceled surgeries, delayed appointments, stress-induced flare-ups. And, the uncertainty that seems to follow you around like a cloud. Although I believe in the power of positivity and finding a way to adapt and brace myself for the ugly seasons in life. I also understand that for many being positive when there’s so much up in the air is a tough concept to grasp. So, let’s talk about some practical ways you can manage your endometriosis symptoms during this season.
Manage Endometriosis Symptoms by Decreasing Stress
Ok, I know this might sound a little counterproductive. Especially, with financial stress, decreased accessibility to essential supplies, chronic pain management, a reduction in medical support, and being isolated from those you love. Yet, I can tell you from experience that the more you stress over things that are beyond your control the more pain you’re going to cause yourself physically. Stress and anxiety are key contributors to flare-ups. This is due to the increase in the stress hormone cortisol. And, too much cortisol increases inflammation. Now, as I’m sure you know endometriosis in and of itself is an inflammatory condition. So, anything that increases inflammation on top of endo’s current inflammatory nature is a hard pass.
Hence why finding healthy ways to manage your stress during this time is so important. I’m going to share some of the ways I’ve been keeping myself positive during this time. Maybe you can include some of these coping mechanisms in your stress management routine.
Focus on Hobbies
Getting lost in a hobby or activity that’s enjoyable can help with taking your mind off stressful situations.
Even if you can’t make it to the gym there are tons of ways to be active at home. From at-home workouts, deep cleaning and organizing your home, and taking regular walks outside in your neighborhood.
Although you can’t see your friends and family in person thanks to technology it doesn’t mean you’re unable to connect. Some fun ideas include game nights via video chat, group messages, leaving video and audio messages in text messages. Or you can write snail mail to your friends and family. Include fun pictures or mementos. Maybe even send a care package.
If you find yourself struggling mentally or emotionally seek professional help. There are various online therapy options such as Better Help where you can speak with a counselor via text. Additionally, if you’re working with a therapist ask them if they’re providing sessions via video for their clients. Furthermore, there are online support groups or if you’re participating in a local support group perhaps asking if they’d be willing to transition to video meetings for the time being. Don’t be afraid to look into different ways and alternative options for getting the help and support you need during this time.
Volunteer or Donate
Volunteering to support local relief efforts that are focusing on providing aid for those in need can help with taking your mind off of yourself for a minute. Find a cause that you’re passionate about and support them with your time, financial donations, or supplies they need. It’s a beautiful way to gain perspective and see the big picture.
Consume News Media Sparingly
While it’s important to remain aware of what’s happening. There is such a thing as information overload. Being plugged into social media and the news can increase stress and anxiety. So, set some healthy limits on how much you consume. As well as what outlets you choose to get your information from. Focus on what’s applicable regarding what you need to do locally to follow the guidelines that are set forth by your state and city.
As it pertains to national and global updates— I advise checking in on these 1-2 times a week. You may or may not agree but I don’t see how checking in every day to see what the current death rate is as helpful. It’s a tad bit morbid and just increases fear and anxiety. And, while it is a serious situation that we’re in, understanding the impact that it has on your immediate community is what’s most important. Hence why it’s so important to adhere to the rules as laid out by local and state officials. Additionally, maintaining a clean environment, adhering to proper personal hygiene and safeguarding your health is also beneficial.
Manage Endometriosis Symptoms By Avoiding Triggers
A great way to manage endometriosis symptoms and decrease flare-ups is to avoid trigger foods and food intolerances. In many cases consuming certain foods can lead to flare-ups and pain. During stressful times like this, it’s easy to justify consuming or eating these foods because we’re all seeking comfort. But, unfortunately, endometriosis doesn’t offer a pass. Not even during a crisis. So, remaining diligent and staying away from foods that trigger symptoms is best. Common endo triggers include processed foods, dairy, added sugar, gluten, caffeine, trans fats, and saturated fats. It’s important to note that foods that trigger your endometriosis can be different than the ones I’ve just shared. Either way, learning what your trigger foods are will let you know what you should steer clear of.
Additionally, knowing and understanding what types of activity your body tolerates can help with decreasing flare-ups and pain. Know your limits and respect them. Don’t try to push your body beyond what it’s capable of doing. This will only hurt you more in the end and cause unnecessary pain. If you’re not at a place where high-impact exercise is an option stick to low or moderate-intensity workouts. For example, barre, incline walking, pilates, and low impact aerobics are terrific gentle forms of exercise. And, remember exercise doesn’t have to be difficult or hard to be effective.
Manage Endometriosis Symptoms By Preparing for Flare-Ups
You can do all the right things and still find yourself struggling with a flare-up. If this is the case being prepared is going to save you a lot of time and headache. So, keeping a little emergency flare-up kit with all the essentials that you need can be helpful.
When creating your emergency kit focus on getting tried and true essentials that you know work. And, while it may be a little difficult to build and create your emergency kit due to shortages. Do your best with what’s available and focus on getting enough to get you by. You don’t have to hoard or stockpile. That’s not what this is about at all! It’s making sure you have what you need to manage your endometriosis symptoms. Which in turn gives you peace of mind knowing that if you have an unexpected flare-up you’re covered.
Emergency Flare-Up Kit Essentials
There are a variety of ways to manage your endo pain. How you choose to do so will depend on your preferences and what works best for your body. But, making sure you have: pain medication, fever medication, heating pad for lower back pain and body aches, hot water bottle for pelvic cramps, and a gel face mask for headaches are some of my tried and true essentials. Additionally, you may want to look into investing in a tens unit. A tens unit uses electrical currents to anesthetize pain without medication. This can come in handy if you find that you’re unable to access medication due to shortages.
Herbal tea can be a wonderful homeopathic method for managing discomfort caused by flare-ups naturally. Peppermint tea helps decrease bloating and indigestion. Whereas ginger tea can help ease nausea. On the other hand, chamomile and Dong Quai tea are helpful in reducing muscle spasms caused by pelvic cramping.
It’s common to experience digestive upset with endo flare-ups so having antacids, anti-nausea meds, antidiarrheals, osmotic laxatives, and glycerin suppositories can help with easing these symptoms.
Reusable Menstrual Products
Furthermore, due to hoarding and shortages. Assessing menstrual products may be increasingly difficult for a little while. So, now may be the perfect time to explore sustainable period options such as menstrual cups, menstrual discs, period underwear, and reusable pads. If the idea of reusable menstrual products just isn’t your style. Alternative options in the form of disposable menstrual discs may be another option to explore.
Prioritize Your Health and Wellness
At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do during this time is to prioritize your health and well-being. Consuming a nutritious diet, managing stress, and staying active can help with improving your health holistically. Consequently, it can decrease symptoms and flare-ups while helping to improve your mental and emotional health. And, while this is a stressful and scary time for everyone, remember that this is just a bad season, not a bad life. You will overcome it.
About the Author
Hi, my name is Kathleen but you can call me Kat. I’m a health and wellness professional turned freelance writer and content creator. You can find me on YouTube and Instagram. If you take the opportunity to visit me on my other platforms don’t hesitate to leave a message, I would love to hear from you!
Get updates and my monthly newsletter delivered to your inbox!