Dealing with Endo Flares
One horrible, debilitating symptom of endometriosis is an endo flare. During an endo flare, which, as the name suggests, can flare up at any moment, “normal” symptoms of endometriosis are worsened, sometimes even resulting in a trip to the ER. My endo flares have never been that bad, thankfully, but I dread the feeling of nausea, fatigue, and debilitating pelvic pain. During an endo flare, I’m not able to do much more than curl into a ball and pray for it to end.
What can cause an endo flare (and can you avoid it)? While the onset of an endo flare is different for everyone, there are a number of things that commonly set it off. It is helpful to keep in mind that endometriosis symptoms are worsened when the endometrial cells are inflamed. This causes the pain we feel, and so, it’s good to try and stay away from anything that can have an inflammatory effect.
Common foods and drinks to avoid are alcohol and caffeine, as both can inflame the endometrial cells. Stress is never good, but it can really bring on an endo flare. It’s also a good idea to get lots of sleep, as lack of sleep is linked to a number of health issues, not just endometriosis. You want to give your body the best tools to fight endometriosis, and lack of stress and a good amount of sleep are invaluable.
Unfortunately, because endo causes so much pain, it’s not easy to suddenly turn into a relaxed, well-rested person, but there are ways to set yourself up for success as much as possible, for example, by learning relaxing breathing techniques. It would be a good idea to keep a food diary and see if the endo flares occur more often when you eat certain food. I found for me, red meat would trigger it more often, so I tried cutting it out of my diet altogether.
How to deal with an endo flare
I found introducing turmeric to my diet very helpful. Turmeric has great anti-inflammatory qualities which can help keep the endo flares down. Adjusting my diet to avoid triggering foods helped as well. That’s not to say I never have a coffee or a glass of wine, but if I take it in moderation (just one of each), it makes a huge difference to how often I get a flare.
Heat is also great to help with cramps that accompany an endo flare. A heat pad, a nice hot cup of peppermint tea, and loose clothing can help make the flare more manageable. An epsom salt bath can be very relaxing and the heat will help as well. As I said above, learning relaxing breathing techniques can help manage stress, which in turn will help with the endo flare. If all else fails, or if you’re not able to curl in a ball to deal with the flare, pain meds are a great way to manage the worst of the pain.
Endo flares are an awful symptom, but with a bit of planning, it is possible to manage them.
The holiday season is among us and can be so stressful! Do you experience more flares during this season?