What I Carry In My Purse to Help Manage My Endometriosis
Over the past several years, "What's in my bag" videos and pictures have trended online. In these posts, people empty out the contents of their purses or backpack to provide a window into their everyday life.
Welcome to my backpack.
Used with permission from author
Since I've become chronically ill, I've had to upgrade to a larger bag so I can tote around all of the things I need every day plus some extra tools just in case I have an unexpected flare. Some of my favorite items I use to cope with my endometriosis include:
- Journal: Over the past year, my symptoms have begun to change. A journal is a vital tool for me to organize medical appointments. I also keep notes about my menstrual cycle that I can provide to my doctor. It can also be therapeutic for me to use the journal to vent about my thoughts and frustrations when I feel overwhelmed.
- Water bottle: Endometriosis changes my body on a daily basis. For example, some days I'll have to wear leggings since I'm so bloated. Other days, I'll feel constipated and low-energy. Staying hydrated is a helpful way for me to help my digestion and for me to combat inflammation.
- Tiger Balm or another kind of pain-relief ointment: I love dabbing some pain relief ointment on my temples, my back, or my stomach when I'm feeling the pain of a flare.
- Period panties: Some days, I'll spot outside of my period. When I'm on my cycle, I may bleed so much that I leak before I can make it to the bathroom to change my menstrual cup. A pair of period panties provide some much-needed peace of mind.
- Ginger candies or tea: People with endometriosis often report having tummy problems like nausea and IBS. I also have a sensitive stomach. Fortunately, ginger helps me combat that discomfort.
- Pain relief medication.
- My phone: On my phone, I have several handy apps that help me feel connected to my support systems. Chronic illness can make me feel exhausted, isolated, and anxious. My Facebook app gives me notifications from the Endometriosis.net Facebook group, where I can always learn new things about endometriosis, laugh at memes, and make friends with other people who also live with this disease. I use virtual therapy apps that help me take care of my mental health. I also keep track of my mood and my bodily pains in apps like Mood Log or Daylio. These apps help me keep track of my emotions and my physical symptoms over weeks at a time, so I can convey that information to my therapist and my doctor.
- Peppermint essential oil: Essential oil isn't a magical cure for my illnesses, but it does lift my spirits. Peppermint is my favorite oil because the strong scent helps me feel refreshed and focused, even if I had a hard time sleeping through the night before due to my cramps.
- Menstrual cup: I don't often use pads or tampons, so I always carry my menstrual cup with me.
What do you carry in your bag? Do you have certain "go-to" accessories or items that help you navigate everyday life? Please post your recommendations in the comments below.
Do you ever experience urinary incontinence?