Thousands of women who suffer from endometriosis experience extreme pain during their periods (dysmenorrhoea). In the case endometriosis, the pain is due to secondary dysmenorrhoea which occurs as a result of a disorder in the reproductive system. Many women suffer in silence as most of those living with dysmenorrhoea do not speak about their experiences.
Dysmenorrhoea is not normal especially if it happens during every period and prevents a woman from going on with her normal life. Something can be done. Lack of knowledge by both women and healthcare providers leads to delays in the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis which is why more has to be done to create awareness of endometriosis.
Although there are drugs that can be used to treat endometriosis, the side effects may make those drugs not suitable for long-term use. Here are some unexpected ways of easing the pain caused by endometriosis.
- Physical therapy: Injuries are not the only reason for physical therapy, it can also be done for women with endometriosis. A physical therapist can come up with a plan to help your pelvis and abdomen work well and ease menstrual pain.
- Pain relievers: Pain killers must not be overdone and therefore you should talk to your doctor about which pain medications you should use and check the label before buying them. Some work best when taken before the cramps get severe. Some should be taken even 24 hours before your expected period pain as they block the body from releasing chemicals that cause inflammation.
- Try a gluten-free diet: This may work for some women and it is worth trying for a few months to see whether it works for you. Cut wheat from your diet by, for instance, replacing wheat-based foods with rice, lentils and buckwheat.
- Regular exercise: It is normal to feel like relaxing when you are in pain; however, it can help you feel better if you do regular exercise. A simple walk, breathing exercises or stretching will do – it does not have to be extreme. Pelvic floor exercises can help strengthen your muscles and relieve the pain.
- TENS Therapy: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a type of therapy that involves using mild electrical currents to treat pain. It works by preventing your nerves from sending pain signals to the brain.
- Massage: Having a back and abdominal massage can help ease menstrual pain and can also help you beat stress.
- Acupuncture: This form of traditional Chinese medicine involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate nerves and muscles.
- Getting enough sleep: Have a consistent sleep schedule because endometriosis can cause fatigue. A mid-afternoon nap in the days before your period can boost mood and improve a woman’s attentiveness.
- Counselling: Having to deal with the pain that occurs due to endometriosis can affect a woman’s emotions. It is, therefore, important to talk to someone; a friend, counsellor or psychologist, because even as you deal with the condition, you also need to take care of your mental health.
No woman should feel embarrassed by endometriosis and the more we talk about it, the easier we make it for women suffering from the condition to seek medical assistance. Every woman living with endometriosis deserves to get treatment and live a normal life.