1. Cut back on coffee to cope with endometriosis
Limit your coffee consumption to no more than two cups per day, and avoid other sources of caffeine, to minimize your chances of suffering more severe disease. A recent study of nearly 500 women aged 36 to 45 showed that those who drank more coffee or consumed higher levels of cholesterol or alcohol had higher levels of estrogen than other women. It is not proven that higher estrogen levels cause endometriosis pain or worsened disease, but experts believe that higher estrogen is not beneficial and may aggravate the condition.
2. Block prostaglandin to relieve pain
Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are enough to benefit 75 percent of women with pain from endometriosis, and may be the most helpful choice for you as well — check with your health care professional. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Rufen) and naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn) are all examples. These drugs block prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are natural body substances that promote inflammation, uterine contractions, and pain, and are thought to be linked to endometriosis.
3. What to do when pain remedies don't work
Make sure your body is best able to withstand pain, by getting enough sleep at night, eating right, and taking recommended doses of vitamins and minerals — some studies suggest good results with magnesium or thiamine. A heating pad or hot bath may help ease painful cramps. Relaxation techniques, meditation, and even acupuncture have helped some women — see a pain management specialist or visit a pain center. Other possibilities include prescription pain control drugs, hormone therapy, trancutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS) and surgery to remove endometriosis lesions, or to cut nerves transmitting pain.
4. Get help for painful intercourse
Tell your health care professional and ask for help, as painful intercourse is a symptom of endometriosis. Women typically feel pain during deep penetration, and some feel pain as if something has been "bumped into." Your health care professional will need to ask questions and perform a pelvic examination to find abnormalities and the source of tenderness. Ultimately, you may need a laparoscopy to document the presence of endometriosis lesions, and medication or surgery to relieve pain.
5. Prepare for Laparoscopy
Schedule your procedure at the end of the week, to take advantage of the weekend as part of your recovery time. Clear your schedule for a few weeks afterward to allow as much time as possible for rest. Clean and take care of errands in advance, and lay in a supply of convenience meals. Arrange with your partner or an adult friend to help you with transportation on the day of surgery. Don't eat anything heavy or fatty the evening before, follow your doctor's preoperative instructions, leave jewelry and valuables at home, and arrive early to fill out forms.