Stabbing Pain. Cramping Pain. It all hurts.
The causes of endometriosis are varied, but one commonality is that many women experience a good deal of pain.
Explaining endometriosis pain is not always simple since women can have different experiences, but many relate it to a sharp stabbing or cramping sensation that occurs around menstruation.
With the connection between the painful flare ups and a woman’s menstrual cycle, recently women have been trying to reduce the symptoms of endometriosis by using tips and tricks that help to reduce menstruation.
One of the easiest non-medical treatments being the use of a heating pad.
Can the answer be that simple?
Let’s explore the remedy of using heat to help reduce the abdominal discomfort caused by endometriosis and the reasons why it may not be as easy as it sounds.
The Difference Between Treating Symptoms & Treating The Root Cause
There are many unpleasant symptoms of endometriosis. However, a symptom is just that, a byproduct of the larger issue at hand.
When using a heating pad to reduce traditional menstrual cramps, the purpose is to relax the blood vessels, called myometrium, that coat the inside of the uterus. The heat helps to increase the blood flow to the uterus to ease the pain.
So what causes endometriosis? Specifically, where does the pain come from?
The root cause of most of the pain from endometriosis is inflammation. While using a heating pad can help to reduce the inflammation temporarily, just like ibuprofen will wear off and herbal remedies will digest, when the heat is removed the inflammation could and probably will return.
By treating the pain caused by the inflammation, you are treating a symptom, not the root cause.
If a person does not have the ability to sit around all day with a heating pad around their midsection, the relief will just be a temporary one.
Of Course, You Should Treat Symptoms To Reduce Pain
Don’t discount the method completely though! While the pain relief may be a temporary one, that doesn’t mean to not try it out and see if it works for you.
Just like if I have a headache, I may take an Advil while trying to find the root cause of the headache, which usually for me personally is dehydration. The pill can reduce the pain while I hydrate.
Obviously, the use of heat won’t help to prevent endometriosis or stop the pain altogether, in my book short term relief is better than no relief at all.
But… Figuring Out The Root Source Of The Symptoms & Treating That Is More Effective
Even if you have researched every tip and trick in the book about how to get relief for your symptoms, don’t forget to continue to try and treat the root source of the problem.
What is causing this inflammation that is having a domino effect on your body?
As far as long-term healing is concerned, getting to the bottom of the issue is going to render you a lot more success than treating the symptoms one by one.
Can Heating Pads Help Endometriosis?
The bottom line of the issue is that yes, using a heating pad can give a woman relief from the inflammation and cramping causing the pain… but, that relief may also be fleeting, unfortunately.
They Loosen Tight & Cramping Muscles (Temporarily)
In order to reduce the pain, the heating pad will loosen up the tight muscles and help to increase the blood flow to the area it is applied to.
Besides a heating pad, a person could also find a heat source in other ways like taking a hot bath or applying a heat patch to their abdomen. Either of these choices can help to temporarily reduce the inflammation without leaving a person stuck to an outlet with their heating pad.
Ultimately, keeping those muscles loose as long as possible will result in reduced discomfort.
The Fascia Will Re-Harden After Removing Heat (Which Can Cause Even More Pain)
One point of caution I will point out when using a heating pad, is that the fascia can re-harden after the source of heat has been removed.
For some women, this can leave them in just as much, if not more, pain than before.
Since the heating pad is not curing the root problem, the painful cramping may come back with a vengeance on the person suffering.
So, Should You Use Heating Pads?
If You’re Experiencing A Lot Of Pain, Then Yes
Personally, yes! I would prefer to have some relief over none.
Even though the use of a heating pad will only work while you are using it, it can give time for other methods to work as well.
For example, if you are in pain and you took an over-the-counter pain reliever but it has not started to work yet. You can then use a heating pad to relieve the symptoms while you wait for the medicine to do its job.
Also, if exercising is one of your ways to relieve the pain, but you are waiting for your gym class to start and need a temporary solution, then a heating pad may be perfect.
This usefulness method will vary from person to person based on the effects of removing the heat. If you are someone that experiences a significant amount of pain from the fascia re-hardening then the temporary relief may not be worth it.
There's Actually Another "Heating Pad" Option Called a BioMat:
Now, before we jump into this section, it's important to know that this BioMat is really, really expensive.
But, in my experience, it does wonders for endo pain.
Instead of superficially "heating" up the painful area (as a regular heating pad does), the BioMat actually uses infrared heat to warm up the body from the inside out, soothes muscles, reduces cramping, and more.
In no way are we affiliated with their company - I just personally love the product :)
Make Sure You’re Doing Other Home Remedies For Endometriosis, Too
While the use of a heating pad may be useful, if you are in a situation where you can sit with one on for an extended time, don’t forget that there are many other ways to reduce your painful symptoms right from home.
You can implement multiple remedies into your daily routine to get the maximum amount of relief possible. A great place to start is with your diet.
Eat Healthy, Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Once of the best ways to fight to painful inflammation can come not from a prescription but from the local grocery store. The heating pad would be working to reduce the inflammation but what if that it was never triggered?
Many of the foods that we love and enjoy can be what is considered, “an inflammatory food.” When you choose anti-inflammatory foods you may be able to reduce your risk of aggravating all chronic illness, not only limited to endometriosis.
By doing the research and overhauling your diet, you can try and keep the inflammation down so that the use of the heating pad is minimal, if at all.
Reduce Stress & Anxiety
There is an interesting relationship between stress and endometriosis and can become a catch-22. Being in pain can cause stress, which can worsen pain. Yikes!
Try and remove unnecessary things from your life that are causing you stress. Chronic stress can even affect the parts of the brain responsible for memory and learning. So this is an important point.
If you need to, make a list of the things in your life that are giving you anxiety and causing stress. This may help you decide what things can be removed.
A job or bad boss may not be among the things that can be removed, but crazy posts on Facebook from your mother-in-law… and now blocked. Trigger removed.
Don’t give up! If trying one thing, say a heating pad, doesn’t relieve the symptoms as much as you would like, try another and another, until you find what works for your life and your body.