What's in My Bag: Endometriosis Edition

Life doesn’t stop for endometriosis — which is why I always have to be prepared. Wherever I go, I take a couple of endo essentials with me in my bag.

I know this post has been floating around the internet for a long time (and TBH, I’m obsessed with it — because I’m nosy AF), but I’ve never seen an endometriosis version before. Hence why I decided to create one!

These are the endometriosis essentials I don’t go anywhere without. I hope these help you survive and thrive on-the-go just as I have — and when the going gets tough, I hope these tips help you get through.

Painkillers

When you have endometriosis cramps, there’s not much you can do other than self-medicate and wait for them to pass. A travel-sized bottle of painkillers fits neatly in your bag and makes the perfect solution for pain relief on the run. Aleve or Midol is my drug of choice, but other people prefer Pamprin, Advil or Tylenol. My advice? Choose whichever brand works best for you (and be wary of taking too much acetominophen!).

Thermal Patches

When I’m out and about, I never know when endometriosis pain is going to strike. That’s why I always carry a ThermaCare Advanced Menstrual Therapy self-heating patch in my bag. These patches take about 10-20 minutes to reach their maximum temperature, and last for hours afterwards. They don’t require any microwaving and have an adhesive strip to attach to your underwear, so they’re perfect for pain relief on-the-go.

Cleansing Wipes

I’m currently taking progestin for my endometriosis so I will no longer get a menstrual period. However, despite the lack of periods, I do get quite a bit of random spotting throughout my cycle. It can be difficult to predict when my spotting is going to start, so it often takes me by surprise when I’m out and about. I carry my Coconut Water Summer’s Eve Simply Cleansing Cloths to freshen up when spotting catches me off-guard.

Hand Sanitizer

The world is full of sick people, now more than ever — but it’s not practical to wash your hands at real sink everywhere you go. Hand sanitizer is a must for staying germ-free when you’re on the run. I buy mine at Bath and Body Works because I love the variety of scents, but the most important thing is that your hand sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol to kill the widest number of germs possible.

Prescription Medication

I take medication for my chronic illnesses morning and night. When it comes to my night meds, I don’t always have the luxury of being at home when it’s time to take my meds. So, I carry my prescription meds with me on an as-needed basis — and I’m careful to take them out of my bag when I’m home, so I always know where my medication is hanging out.

The Ultimate List of Endometriosis Resources

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When I first began to consider endometriosis as the root cause of my long-standing symptoms, I didn’t know where to turn — other than the Internet! It’s thanks to the wonders of modern technology that I was connected to the Cleveland Clinic Center for Endometriosis & Chronic Pelvic Pain, and that I was able to discern that the period pain I’d experienced for years wasn’t normal, after all.

But one thing I wish I’d had that I didn’t was a list of resources to help me manage my endometriosis better at home. Everywhere I turned, I read the same advice: use a heating pad. Avoid dairy and gluten. Take some vitamins. But really, I was looking for more. I wanted to know everything there was to know about managing my endometriosis.

Now that I know more about my disease, and about how to manage it at home, I’ve decided to put together the ultimate list of resources — the list I wish I had when I first heard the word “endometriosis” — to help you learn everything there is to know about endo and take care of your body amid its pain and suffering.

Required Reading

Apps to Download

  • In the FLO is the paid period-tracking app to accompany WomanCode and Alisa Vitti’s cycle-syncing method. The app lets you log your symptoms and provides recommendations for controlling them naturally.
  • Flutter is a must-have for anyone with endo! In Flutter, you can log your symptoms in detail (the app is geared specially toward endometriosis sufferers), as well as your diet, exercise and sexual activity, and export them to a printable format to bring to your doctor’s office.
  • Clue is another period-tracking app I love. It learns from the symptoms you log to predict exactly when they will arrive, giving you a heads up via notification when you might be in for some extra pelvic pain or GI discomfort.

Printables

Vitamins & Supplements

  • Magnesium may prevent period pain and premenstrual syndrome. I take Nature Made Magnesium every day.
  • B vitamins are used in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and may improve focus and concentration if fatigue is a primary symptom for you. I take Nature Made B-Complex every day.
    • Evidence: Study (small sample size)
  • Dong quai is an herb used to treat heavy periods in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It has anti-inflammatory effects and has been used to treat dysmenorrhea. I like Moody Bird from HUM Nutrition, which combines dong quai with chaste berry, another traditional herb used to treat endometriosis.
  • Clary sage essential oil can relieve period cramps when rubbed into the pubic bone (mix with a carrier oil, like coconut, before applying to skin!)

Sexual Health Products

  • Slippery Stuff is my favorite lubricant. It is both paraben- and glycerin-free, helping reduce irritation and pain during sex.
  • Skyn Condoms are spermicide-free and non-latex, reducing the potential for irritation during sex. If you’re not in a long-term monogamous relationship, they’re a must for preventing the spread of STIs!
  • Zestra can improve low libido when applied to the clitoris 30 minutes prior to sex. The oil enhances sensation and blood flow to the clitoris.
  • Vitamin E oil reduces vaginal irritation when applied twice a day for at least two months, according to Amy Stein, author of Heal Pelvic Pain.

Wellness Products

  • Put an End to Your Endometriosis is an audio master class with Alisa Vitti, author of WomanCode, geared specially toward those of us with endo. Click here to purchase and download.
  • BKR makes glass water bottles that are both chic and functional. Switching to glass reduces your exposure to BPA, which has been linked to endometriosis and its symptoms. Click here to purchase the exact model I have.
  • Anthropologie’s Travel Yoga Mat folds up small enough to fit in almost any tote or suitcase, and is perfect for performing pelvic floor exercises on-the-go. Click here to purchase.
  • Yogi Tea’s Woman’s Raspberry Leaf contains pure raspberry leaf, an herbal remedy thought to ease the pain of menstruation and soothe the uterus. Click here to purchase on Amazon.

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