Natural Remedies for Endometriosis Pain Relief

Managing endometriosis can be overwhelming for people with the condition. On a tough day, you may find yourself looking for a quick home remedy. Other times, you just want a natural remedy to use as complementary treatment. Let's delve into some natural remedies that can help relieve endometriosis symptoms. 

A picture of the female reproductive system, showing the uterus, ovaries and cervix

Key takeaways

  • Pain from endometriosis usually comes from the inflammation that occurs due to endometriotic lesions.
  • Natural remedies for pain relief focus on reducing inflammation and relaxing the pelvic muscles. Examples of natural remedies for endometriosis include heat application, acupuncture, and massage therapy. 
  • Not all natural remedies work for everyone, and some may not have strong clinical evidence backing up their effectiveness. Ensure to discuss with your doctor about any natural remedies you may want to try out.

Approximately 10% of people with uteruses worldwide have endometriosis, a disorder in which the lining of the inner layer of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside the uterine cavity. It is most common among people in their 30s and 40s.

Endometriosis is primarily characterized by chronic pain, which could manifest as low back pain, pain during menstruation, pain during sexual intercourse, leg pain, or pain while peeing or defecating. Other symptoms may include heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding, bleeding in-between periods, and gastrointestinal discomforts, e.g., nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea.

Living with endometriosis can be debilitating because, not only are the symptoms intense, but there is no known cure. Its treatment is majorly conservative, meaning that it is limited to managing symptoms. In addition to the conventional treatment provided, some natural remedies can help relieve endometriosis symptoms.

10 natural remedies that can relieve endometriosis pain

For simplicity, the natural remedies for endometriosis management can be grouped into physical therapies and dietary management. 

Physical therapies mainly provide pain relief through muscle relaxation and the release of the body's natural pain-relieving chemicals, while dietary management mostly focuses on foods to eat and those to avoid to reduce inflammation associated with endometriosis.

Some natural physical therapies that can help relieve endometriosis pain include:

1. Heat application

The application of heat to a painful area can help relax the muscle and increase blood flow to that area. With increased blood flow, more oxygen, nutrients, and blood cells are transported to that area, providing relief and aiding healing. Heat application also interrupts the transmission of pain signals by activating heat-sensitive channels that can block pain receptors.

You can apply heat by using heat pads, hot water bottles, warm baths, or visiting saunas. 

While using heat pads and hot water bottles, ensure to use a towel to provide a barrier between your skin and the pad/bottle to prevent burns on the skin.

2. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient art that has been used mostly in Asian countries. Recently, other regions of the world have adopted this practice due to its effectiveness in the treatment of low back pain, headaches, menstrual pain, and other types of pain.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely fine needles into the skin at specific points called acupoints'. This relieves pain by releasing endorphins (the body's natural painkillers) and influencing the brain to secrete "feel-good hormones" like serotonin. This practice is done by certified acupuncturists. It is well tolerated with little or no risk of adverse effects.

Ensure that you visit a certified acupuncturist for this practice. Also, discuss this with your doctor before you commence. Your doctor can recommend a good acupuncturist for you.

3. Massage therapy

Massage involves pressing, rubbing, and stroking soft tissues (skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments) with light or deep pressure. People with endometriosis may benefit from pelvic massage in that it helps improve blood flow to the pelvic region, relax the pelvic muscles, and reduce scar tissue formation associated with endometriosis.

Massage offers short- and long-term relief from pain and muscle spasms. Studies have shown that pelvic massage therapy can be a good method to reduce pain caused by endometriosis.

4. Yoga

Yoga is a mindfulness practice that relieves stress, tension, and body pain, and also improves blood circulation. It encourages relaxation, which helps calm the mind and relieve discomfort. 

In a recent 2023 study conducted to examine the effectiveness of yoga practice among people with endometriosis, it was found that after 8 weeks of practice, the respondents' pain and stress scores reduced.

Some yoga poses can cause more pain in some individuals. So, ensure to discuss with a yoga expert for recommendations of gentle yoga exercises to take on.

5. Light exercise

Regular exercise may help improve endometriosis pain. Exercise improves blood circulation and relaxes the muscles. In addition, it causes an increase in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant markers in the body and can also reduce estrogen levels, making it a great idea to include light exercises in your management of endometriosis symptoms.

Dietary management

Dietary management of endometriosis involves the use of some natural herbs and foods to soothe endometriosis symptoms. Some of them include:

6. Turmeric

Turmeric has been found to contain antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects because of its active ingredient, Curcumin. Curcumin has been found to regulate the growth of endometriotic tissues and reduce inflammation in endometriosis by decreasing the level of estrogen in the body.

Using turmeric as a tea or spice in meals may help provide relief for people with endometriosis.

7. Ginger

Ginger is a herb widely used in traditional medicine. You can consume it as tea or add it to your daily meals. Ginger reduces inflammation and boosts immunity. Additionally, it can also reduce nausea and vomiting, which some people with endometriosis experience.

8. Chamomile

Chamomile contains a substance called Chrysin. Like ginger and turmeric, it can reduce inflammation and endometriotic cell growth.

In addition, it contains antioxidants that help fight the free radicals that cause oxidative stress (a process that develops from an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants, resulting in scar tissue formation and inflammation) in people with endometriosis.

9. Isoflavones

Isoflavones are plant-based substances that mimic the action of estrogen. They are found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. They contain a specific antioxidant called phytoestrogen. 

The use of isoflavones for relieving endometriosis symptoms is still controversial because phytoestrogen has a similar structure to estrogen and can mimic its action, thereby worsening endometriosis symptoms. But the truth is that phytoestrogen exerts a different effect on the body depending on the level of natural estrogen in the body.

When natural estrogen is high, it exerts anti-estrogenic effects, i.e., it blocks estrogen from being active in the body, and when it is low, it mimics the role of estrogen in the body. 

In people with endometriosis, the estrogen level is high, making phytoestrogen beneficial for them. Some sources of isoflavones include soy and its products (soybean, tofu, etc.), legumes (lentils, beans, peas, red clover), cabbage, sprouts, grains, fruits, and vegetables. However, it is richest in soy and legumes.

10. Limiting or avoiding pro-inflammatory foods

Inflammation associated with endometriosis contributes to some symptoms experienced by people with endometriosis. Therefore, avoiding or minimizing the intake of foods that can increase inflammation and consuming foods that have anti-inflammatory effects may be beneficial in relieving symptoms of endometriosis. 

Avoiding foods rich in red meat, trans- and saturated fatty acids, caffeine, and alcohol may provide relief from endometriosis symptoms. Also, consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants may help with managing your symptoms.

Can you cure endometriosis naturally?

Natural remedies for endometriosis are alternative or complementary treatments to help you manage your symptoms without the use of conventional drugs. There's currently no known cure for endometriosis.

Can endometriosis go on its own?

Endometriosis does not often go on its own. Nevertheless, research has shown that during pregnancy, menopause, and postmenopause, the symptoms may reduce due to the lower level of estrogen during these times.  

When to seek medical help

It is worth noting that the management of endometriosis is not one-size-fits-all. Before embarking on any of these natural remedies, ensure to speak to your doctor for proper recommendations on the probable ones that might work for you.

However, if your symptoms remain persistently severe after a few weeks of these complementary treatments, consider visiting your doctor for a review. 


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