Interviews

Finding Drug-Free Period Pain Relief with Endometriosis

Burning hot lava. Putting your insides through a shredder. Crushing pressure. That’s how HoMedics copywriter and endometriosis sufferer, Missy, describes her period pain. According to Yale Medicine, endometriosis is a painful condition that occurs when the normal lining of the uterus grows outside the uterine wall. From surgery to medication, Missy has tried everything for relief. We sat down with her to learn more about her pain story and her treatment of choice (hint: it might surprise you).

Q: WHEN DID YOU FIND OUT YOU HAD ENDOMETRIOSIS?

MISSY: Well, my period pain started becoming unbearable in my early teens. I remember thinking I was a wimp because none of my friends complained about their cramps, and I just assumed they were the same for everyone. I didn’t realize mine were actually on another level until I started going to the gynecologist. My exams and pain intensity were consistent with endometriosis, so my doctor suspected it right away. Unfortunately, the only way to get an official diagnosis is through a laparoscopic surgery, so I didn’t get real answers until I had the procedure when I was 18.

Q: WHAT DID THAT DIAGNOSIS MEAN TO YOU?

MISSY: It was validation and proof of my pain. Women are conditioned to grin and bear painful periods, even when it feels like being tortured from the inside out. When that became hard to do, I was embarrassed and even ashamed to admit the extent of my pain, so I hid it. Period pain is finally starting to become normalized, but it was still a taboo subject back then. Once my endometriosis was diagnosed, I felt empowered to open up about it and find a way to get it under control.

Q: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERIOD PAIN AND WHAT HAVE YOU TRIED FOR RELIEF?

MISSY: It feels like burning hot lava, putting my insides through a shredder, and crushing pressure—all at once. The surgery eased my pain for a little bit, but it didn’t take long for my cramps to come back with a vengeance. I tried all kinds of hormones and medications that my doctors prescribed for relief. When my husband and I started trying for a baby a few years ago (that’s a whole different story!), I went in search of a natural, drug-free solution. I turned to the unsung hero of pain relief, the trusty heating pad. Never underestimate the soothing power of heat therapy. Aside from surgery and pharmaceuticals, it’s the most effective relief I’ve found—and it’s a whole lot easier and more accessible than the alternatives.

Q: DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR CHOOSING A HEATING PAD?

MISSY: For me personally, it’s important to have multiple heat settings so I can customize it throughout my cycle. (That’s another fun side effect of endometriosis—it’s not only painful during THAT time of the month, but also ANY time of the month.) Another thing I look for is the option to add moist heat. Moist heat provides deeper pain relief than dry heat, which is definitely a must for me. It’s also nice to have a longer cord or a cordless option so you aren’t tethered to your nearest outlet. I was super excited when HoMedics came out with the new Hot & Cold Therapy collection that checks all of those boxes.

Q: WHAT DO YOU WANT WOMEN WHO HAVE (OR SUSPECT THEY HAVE) ENDOMETRIOSIS TO KNOW?

MISSY: I want them to know that they’re not alone. Even though it still isn’t widely talked about, endometriosis is way more common than you might think. If you’re struggling with pain or infertility for any reason, it’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling. You’re not broken, and you’re so much stronger than you realize.

Medical Disclaimer: This content is provided for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

SOURCE

Endometriosis, Yale Medicine: https://www.yalemedicine.org/conditions/endometriosis