Many women struggle with endometriosis pain. In fact, just in the US, researchers think that more than 6.5 million women have endometriosis. If you’re not sure you have endometriosis and your pain is persistent, you may have questions: How much pain is too much? Is this normal or something more serious?
Whatever your situation, we want to help out by providing some information on endometriosis by sharing a story of someone like you. Here is Haley W.’s story of what pain to look for, when to see a doctor, how to find relief, and most importantly how to cope with your physical and emotional pain.
Here’s how the Chirp Wheels helped Haley W. on her personal journey for pain relief from endometriosis:
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful disorder in which tissue grows outside your uterus. It can involve your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining your pelvis and rarely may spread beyond your pelvic organs. If you have endometriosis, your endometrial-like tissue does what endometrial tissue would which is thicken, break down, and bleed during each menstrual cycle; however, because the endometrial-like tissue has no way to exit your body, it is trapped and cysts may form. This causes irritation, pain, and other issues.
What pain to look for
Here are a few general symptoms you might experience if you have endometriosis:
- Painful periods: You might experience pelvic pain and cramping before and after your period. This might also be accompanied by lower back pain and abdominal pain.
- Pain during intercourse: Pain during or after intercourse might be a sign of endometriosis.
- Pain while going to the bathroom: If you have endometriosis, pain during bowel movements and urination is very common.
- A heavy period or bleeding between periods: If you experience very heavy bleeding during your period or between periods, this could be a sign of endometriosis.
- Infertility: If you have had issues with infertility, this could be because of endometriosis.
- Other: If you experience anything out of the ordinary, especially during your menstrual periods, such as diarrhea, fatigue, constipation, bloating, nausea, this could be a sign of endometriosis.
This is how Haley explained her pain:
Haley described her endometriosis pain that was consistently there every day as “someone grabbing onto the muscles in [her] low, low back and pulling downwards.” When one thing is off in her body, she just felt like it cascaded throughout.
Haley experienced many symptoms leading to her diagnosis of endometriosis: a lot of lower abdomen pain, lower back pain, pain during her cycle, an upset stomach during cycle, sensitivity to meats and gluten (she discovered that meat is often treated with growth hormones with high levels of estrogen that trigger her endometriosis).
When to see a doctor
For Haley, she had sort of a sixth sense that she knew something was wrong. She said, “Chances are that if something is wrong, you have an inkling. Trust your gut and trust yourself and be prepared to try something that you think is going to help and have it not help. If I could give one tip to someone who thinks they might have endometriosis, get on top of it. If your doctor isn’t listening to you, find another doctor if that is available to you.” She went on to say, “To know that I wasn’t making it up [my pain] made it easier to treat. Now I know what’s causing it and can address each issue as itself.”
If you have any of the symptoms listed above (See What pain to look for), it’s a good idea to go see a doctor and find some relief.
If you and your doctor decide to move forward with treatment, you would be tested to check for endometriosis with a pelvic exam, ultrasound, MRI, or laparoscopy.
For Haley, they decided to go with laparoscopy. When the surgeon was examining Haley, they did find multiple cysts that the surgeon then removed, thankfully non-cancerous. And for a time, this procedure helped with pain relief. Haley even said she had three to four months of good relief before her pain began to return (keep reading to see her full story of pain relief with the Chirp Wheels).
How Haley found relief with the Chirp Wheels
Before Haley knew she had endometriosis, she experienced a lot of pain: lower abdomen pain, lower back pain, pain during her period, upset stomach during her period, and for Haley even a sensitivity to meats and gluten. Once she had the procedure done to find out if she had it, she had three to four months of relief before her pain started coming back (unfortunately, her pain didn’t respond to medication). Because her whole back was tense from anxiety and stress related to having a chronic illness and from the pain of her illness, she began to look for things she could add to her self-care routine for pain relief.
She tried foam rollers, but found that they were too big and didn’t target the pain well enough. She tried lacrosse balls, but she found it difficult to stand and maintain the needed pressure for relief.
She had trouble performing in her day-to-day activities at 100% when her body was actively working against her. Finally she saw an ad for the Chirp Wheels and decided to try them out. The tension from her lower back made her whole back hurt and she hoped the wheels could help relieve muscle tension. Thankfully, the Chirp Wheels worked!
She even said, “the most consistent thing that has helped my pain the most has been the Chirp Wheels.”
The wheels helped her relax from the mental and emotional distress of having a long term disease as well as the physical distress related to endometriosis.
Other ways to find relief
Haley has also found relief by changing her diet to a vegetarian diet and limiting gluten intake. Some others find relief through medication, hormone therapy, or consecutive surgeries. Work with your doctor to find out what is right for you. Here’s Haley’s advice when you’re looking for a solution to your pain: “Be prepared to try something that you think is going to help and have it not help. The wheels might not be for everyone in the end. But give it a try because it’s definitely not going to hurt anything and you might find that it is something that really helps.”
Haley’s daily roll out routine with the Chirp Wheel+ for Endometriosis
Every morning, Haley rolls out on the Medium 10” wheel along her spine until she feels tension relief. Before bed, she rolls out with the Deep Tissue 6” wheel along her spine and on her legs (piriformis muscle, IT band, hamstrings). Consistent daily rolling on the Chirp Wheel helps Haley find pain relief and relieve muscle tension.
She said that on mornings she forgets to roll out she feels it immediately: she couldn’t even imagine going days without using the wheels for her endometriosis pain relief.
How to cope with your physical and emotional pain
We know chronic pain can be a huge source of not only physical pain but also emotional struggle. When others are active and outside, sometimes you have to give up the social life and spend time in isolation with your heating pad and blanket. That is at least Haley’s experience. She said, “Something I wish I could have been told was you’re not making it up, not for attention, if you’re debilitated on a regular basis. That is not for sympathy, that is for something that is wrong with you. Don’t let people persuade you to do something that isn’t right for you. Do what feels best for you.”
“There is a whole emotional side to chronic pain. When you have to make sacrifices (giving up activities), you get isolated. Having people support you can make a big difference.” Haley also expressed that having this chronic pain made her think she was alone. But making choices for her health, safety, comfort, and future health was important. Once she explained to people what was going on, people were willing to accomodate more than she had expected.
Advice for friends and family
When your loved one went to you about their pain did you just shrug it off or did you try and help? It can often be hard for those with pain to help their loved ones understand how they feel. In Haley’s experience, the best thing you can do as a friend or family member to help is make them feel validated and be flexible for their needs.
For Haley the beginning was a struggle. One experience she shared was that she only ate green beans and mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving despite her grandma’s pleas to have some pie. But Haley knew eating pie would only trigger her endometriosis pain so she stuck with it. Now, she expressed that her family is okay with adjusting to necessary changes to help her feel her best.
Whether helping your loved one work through endometriosis pain means adjusting to different meals or introducing them to the Chirp Wheel, try and find something you can do to ease their burden both mentally and physically.
Haley W. (12 April, 2021). Personal Interview.
Mayo Clinic. (2021). Endometriosis diagnosis & treatment. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354661
Mayo Clinic. (2021). Endometriosis symptoms & causes. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354656#:~:text=Endometriosis%20(en%2Ddoe%2Dme,the%20tissue%20lining%20your%20pelvis.
Women’s Health. (2021). Endometriosis. Retrieved from https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/endometriosis#:~:text=Endometriosis%20is%20a%20common%20health,the%20United%20States%2C%20have%20endometriosis.