Endometriosis Self-Care: Heat, Exercises, Nutrition and More

Endometriosis is a chronic gynecologic condition, with symptoms that include pelvic pain, infertility, and chronic fatigue. In this blog post, we take a closer look at self-care strategies that can alleviate the symptoms of endometriosis.
Sabrina Greco

Sabrina Greco

MSc in Anatomical Sciences at Queen’s University in Canada

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Endometriosis self care strategies

Endometriosis is a chronic gynecologic condition, with symptoms that include pelvic pain, infertility, and chronic fatigue. Self-care strategies can be used to manage and ease symptoms associated with endometriosis [1, 2].

Consult with your healthcare provider for self-care strategies that are best for you.

Heat and rest

Heat and rest are effective self-care strategies for endometriosis-related pain. More than 75% of women reported at least a slight improvement in symptoms with these self-care strategies [3].

Heat encourages and improves blood flow and reduces inflammation. You can apply a towel-wrapped heating pad or hot water bottle to your lower abdomen and pelvis. Warm baths may also provide temporary relief from pain.

Adequate rest is an essential aspect of endometriosis self-care, as it can help reduce fatigue and improve sleep quality, overall impacting the quality of life for individuals with endometriosis [4].

Nutrition

Nutrition plays an important role in managing endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory condition, and certain dietary choices can help manage symptoms by reducing inflammation. Certain foods, such as those high in trans fats, refined sugars and red meats, tend to exacerbate inflammation. Consume anti-inflammatory foods such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids [5, 6].

Endometriosis is also an estrogen-dependent condition. This means that estrogen levels in the body play a role in its progression. Consume foods which help regulate estrogen levels, including foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish and flaxseeds.

Exercise

Exercise can help manage endometriosis symptoms. Exercise increases heart rate, improves blood flow, and releases endorphins. Endorphins act like natural painkillers in the body and can help provide relief from pain and discomfort. More research is needed to determine the best exercise options for endometriosis [7].

Exercises like yoga are associated with reduced levels of chronic pelvic pain, and an improvement in quality of life for women with endometriosis [8]. Static stretching and positional hold exercises may also provide relief from lower back pain related to endometriosis.

Meditation and mindfulness

Meditation strategies, such as mindfulness-based interventions (MBI), have shown promise in managing endometriosis-related pain and improving mental health.

Cognitive behaviour therapy with integrated mindfulness meditation has been found to reduce pain intensity and psychological distress, and improve overall well-being in individuals with endometriosis [9].

Guided Self-Determination is another self-care strategy that has shown promise in supporting women with endometriosis. The process involves structured conversations based on their health and condition, which allows individuals to gain new knowledge about their condition and insight into their needs and next steps.

Support resources

Support resources, including online patient forums and advocate groups, can provide a sense of community, understanding and empathy to individuals facing health challenges.

Connecting with individuals who have gone through similar experiences can offer validation, emotional support, and encouragement. Support resources can inspire hope and resilience and increase access to new information and resources.

Conclusion

Self-care strategies can help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals with endometriosis. The effectiveness of these strategies can vary.

Consult with your healthcare provider for self-care strategies that will work best for your condition and complement your endometriosis treatments.

Sabrina Greco

Sabrina Greco

Sabrina is a pre-medical student based in Toronto, Canada. She completed her BSc in Life Sciences and her MSc in Anatomical Sciences at Queen’s University in Canada. Her recent research focused on investigating the symptoms and experiences of women who have undergone gynecologic surgery. Her research has been published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada, and presented at the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health Annual Conference 2022 and 2023. Sabrina is a patient advocate dedicated to improving communication and knowledge translation practices in clinical settings.