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Woman wearing sash with 4 badges, each represents a flare-up management technique

4 Effective Ways To Deal with Endometriosis Flare-Ups

Flare-ups are fairly common for endometriosis patients and are one of the worst sides of this disease. It’s when this illness stops being invisible. Like fireworks, but bad, extremely bad. As bothersome as a baby goat using your stomach as a trampoline. They may involve bouts of pain so severe, that a visit to the hospital emergency room is required. On other occasions, it’s an emotional or physical break down, an inability to open one’s eyes, or a debilitating migraine. They interrupt plans and make healthy routines very difficult to upkeep.

For me, flare-ups sabotage things like my work, my ability to socialise or function like everyone else. However, since they happen regularly enough, I have a system in place.

How I manage flare-ups

During flare-ups (or what I call my “werewolf days”), I reach for the following:

My beloved TENS machine

A TENS machine is a clever little gadget that gives small electrical pulses.1 These pulses are delivered to the afflicted areas of the body via pads. It produces a numbing effect that lasts even after I have switched off the machine. It relieves moderate-to-high pain quite effectively, leaving me in a floaty state. It’s important to make sure it’s fully charged, so it can be used as soon as the pain starts. I bought mine online for about $20.

Chocolate and CDB oil

CBD oil is one of those substances that have become quite trendy lately. It’s cannabinoid oil, which means it presents the calming properties of cannabis2 without any of the hallucinogenic effects, since it has no THC.3 While it doesn’t completely eliminate the pain, it does take the edge of it. It can also keep anxiety attacks in check. Since it doesn’t taste particularly nice, my favourite way to take is is with chocolate. You can’t beat CBD mixed with comforting hot cocoa.

Although everyone seems to be talking about it right now – even health stores are stocking it – depending on where you live, CBD oil may be legal or not. Before using CBD oil, it’s worth checking this out, especially if you intend to travel with it.

Turmeric drinks

Instead of drinking coffee, I use turmeric to create dairy-free lattes. Alternatively I mix it in a smoothie or drink it in tea form. Turmeric is a known anti-inflammatory and has been found to have some pain-relief properties.4

Easy, non-trying tasks

For me it’s either watching comfort TV (“Rupaul’s Drag Race” is my jam), limiting work to a minimum, or ordering food instead of cooking it myself. Having simple, plan Bs in place can make a world of difference.

Brain fog, or a severe inability to focus on anything, is usual with flare-ups. It can occur due to chronic fatigue, or after strong pain that lasts more than a couple of hours. Sometimes it’s not even possible to keep one’s eyes open. So doing at little as possible, or only easy-to-do tasks, is the way forward.

The frustrations of flare-ups

Flare-ups can be extremely disrupting. The loss of control over our own bodies is a frustrating and very upsetting experience. But, we can regain some of that power back by finding the right tools that work for us.

Flare-ups are also very personal. What works for me, may not be as good for everyone else, so if you feel like sharing, why not tell us what you reach for during flare-ups?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Endometriosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. National Health Service. TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation). National Health Service. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/transcutaneous-electrical-nerve-stimulation-tens/. Accessed October 7, 2018.
  2. Johnson J. Everything you need to know about CBD oil. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317221.php. Accessed October 7, 2018.
  3. CBD Oil Review. What is the Difference Between THC and CBD? https://cbdoilreview.org/cbd-cannabidiol/thc-cbd. Accessed October 7, 2018./
  4. Lewin J. The health benefits of turmeric. The Good Food. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-turmeric. Accessed October 7, 2018.

Comments

  • Endo Warrior moderator
    4 weeks ago

    If I’m unable to take pain medication, or my pain meds haven’t kicked in yet, I use breathing techniques to get me through the pain.
    https://endometriosis.net/living/breathing-pain/
    It’s quite effective really, and not unlike what they teach you when you go into labour. I can’t sustain it for too long before the pain gets the better of me, but it does help.
    Christina – team member

  • isimmons
    4 weeks ago

    I worked during my flare ups, but by the time I would make it home from work, all I could do was lay on the couch with a heating pad. My kids or my husband would have to cook supper or we would have to order food during my bad flare ups because I could barely move. I would watch tv or try to sleep. Hot chamomile tea, ibuprofen, and my heating pad were my best friends. Oh, and my big comfy pj’s that did not touch my stomach.

  • Endo Warrior moderator
    4 weeks ago

    Yes to comfy clothing! During a flare up I used to not even be able to wear underwear. A long night gown was usually all I could manage to wear (I had a few from when I was pregnant which were absolutely perfect because they were so billowy.
    Christina – team member

  • Rain6363
    7 months ago

    Its difficult too because so many times I think, ” hey why don’t i knit or do my seated work during a flare up so i will be productive” then Flare-up hits and I can’t do much more than roll/moan with my heating pad and tea.

  • Jessie Madrigal moderator author
    7 months ago

    Yes, @rain6363 sometimes there is very little we can do, other than just lie horizontal and breathe deeply. But every time it gets this bad, we have to remember that it won’t last forever. It will pass, and we will be back to being our usual selves, step by step, we get our life back. Thanks for reaching out – Jessie (team member)

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