Abdominal Binders (Belly Bands)
Abdominal binders are also known as belly bands. They are far from being a new invention. They were used more regularly after the original-style hysterectomies. Some women I know also use them for an aid for dealing with their endometriosis pain in a non-medication form.
My experience with belly bands
While there is an option for a laparoscopic hysterectomy these days, depending on your endometriosis condition, a different style of hysterectomy may be best for you. I found this out October of 2018 when I started planning my hysterectomy for November. The laparoscopic version was not even an option for me, considering I have dealt with Stage 4 endometriosis since I was a teen and have a family history of extreme endometriosis. Unfortunately, the bikini-style cut was also not a good option for me. I ended up having the old-style vertical cut that went up my stomach to my belly button.
Due to surgical plan, when I woke up in the hospital, I already had an abdominal binder on. The binder is intended to assist in stabilizing the abdominal muscles that were cut during the surgery. It is also believed to help reduce the pain in both the abdomen and in the lower back. When I was using it, they explained to me that by supporting both the abdomen and in the lower back, the abdomen binder assisted me in walking up in proper form like I needed to instead of partially slumped over. While the binder did not remove all of my pain, there was a major difference between when I wore the binder and when I did not wear the binder.
Belly binders for endometriosis
I know several women from support groups who have found comfort in wearing various forms of abdominal binders even without having surgery. Since these binders can be bought in drug stores, and even on Amazon, you do not need a surgery to acquire one. I even purchased a second one after my surgery from Amazon (to have one while I cleaned the one from the hospital).
Many of these women are using the abdominal binders for some of the same reasons that they are used for after a hysterectomy- such as the ability to stand for longer periods of time without enduring the unbearable lower back and abdominal pain. Several women who work as hair stylists and cashiers mention how wearing an abdominal binder makes the difference in them being able to complete their shift or only being able to work an hour or two, due to the pain flare-ups. They have also commented on the ability of the abdominal binders to help with the bloat or "endo belly", as some people call it. Given what the abdominal binders are supposed to do for individuals after surgery, it does not surprise me that others are also getting relief from these bands without having the surgery.
Non-prescription ways to manage endo pain
For individuals dealing with endometriosis, it is always hopeful to come across something that can make a little easier and less painful. Especially when that something is not a medication that you have to argue with your doctor about being able to try. Hopefully, this gives somebody an idea of something new to try!
Have you tried abdominal binders? If so, what was your experience?
Has insurance ever slowed or stopped your endometriosis healthcare journey?