Endometriosis Remedies: Should You Use a Heating Pad to Reduce Pain?
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.
Table of Contents
- Does Heat Help Endometriosis Pain?
- Can Heating Pads Help Endometriosis?
- Should You Use a Heating Pad for Endometriosis Pain?
- Other Endometriosis Remedies That Can Supplement or Replace Heating Pad Use
Does Heat Help Endometriosis Pain?
Heat can help reduce endometriosis pain — though doctors are still unsure how.
What we do know about treating pain with heat is that heat helps open up blood vessels and increases circulation, relax muscles, and affects pain receptors in the body. These actions are hypothesized to reduce pain.
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 associated with endo pain… but that relief may also be fleeting, unfortunately.
3 Downsides to Using Heating Pads for Endometriosis Pain
#1: Relief Can Be Temporary
A heating pad can help relax cramped muscles, providing much-needed relief from the stabbing pain that endometriosis can inflict.
Some sources even say that a heating pad can be just as effective as using an over-the-counter pain reliever pill.
Ultimately, keeping those muscles relaxed as long as possible will result in reduced discomfort.
Don’t discount the method completely though! While the pain relief may be temporary, 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.
#2: A Heating Pad Is Just a Band-Aid
At the end of the day, a heating pad will only help address endometriosis symptoms. And there are many unpleasant symptoms of endometriosis. However, a symptom is just that — a byproduct of the larger issue at hand.
Endometriosis pain typically stems from 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.
#3: Fascia Can Re-Harden After the Heat Is Removed (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.
Should You Use a Heating Pad for Endometriosis Pain?
Personally, yes! If you’re in a lot of pain, why not? 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.
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 useful 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.
Heating Pad Alternative: The 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 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.
Other Endometriosis Remedies That Can Supplement or Replace Heating Pad Use
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.
Eat Healthy, Anti-Inflammatory Foods
One of the best ways to fight 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 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 illnesses, not only limited to endometriosis.
One food group that is considered to be one of the biggest culprits of this is gluten. Some other examples include:
- Red meat
- Dairy; and
- Refined carbohydrates
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 and 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!
Chronic stress can even affect the parts of the brain responsible for memory and learning. So this is an important point.
Try and remove unnecessary things from your life that are causing you stress. 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 a 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.
Use Chiavaye for Pain-Free Sex
Speaking of stress relief… Do you know what else helps relieve stress? Sex!
However, endometriosis pain can make sex less than enjoyable, which puts a damper on all the amazing health benefits sex has to offer.
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