Coping with Endo Pain and Headaches

HeadacheWhen I first started to get endometriosis pain I noticed that it would coincide with terrible headaches. I never thought there was a connection, but as the years went on I noticed it more and more.

I was in the middle of doing some school work recently, and started to experience some endo pain. I tried to resist the urge to do something else because I was really focused on getting my work done, but I started to feel a bad headache coming on. At that point I bargained with myself and decided to lie down for a little while and watch something on the Food Network. The pain from my headache eventually went away, but I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a connection between my endo pain and my headache.

I decided to go online to Google scholar and see if I could find any medical articles that connected the dots. After a few searches I found an article that did show a connection between the two, but it’s important that I note that the study only evaluated 171 women ages 18 years and older. Similar to other published research studies, the authors admit that this study has limitations; it was a small group of women, and teens under the age of 18 were not evaluated. More research is definitely needed, and participants under the age of 18 should be included.

What I read was that researchers at Duke University Medical Center and the University of Toledo Medical Center in Ohio found that women in their study diagnosed with migraines and endometriosis had more frequent and disabling migraines than women with a history of migraines without endometriosis. The sub-group of women with migraines and endometriosis in this study were also found to be more likely to have other conditions affecting mood and pain. (Tietjen, G., Bushnell, C., Herial, N., Utley, C., White, L., & Hafeez, F. (2007). Endometriosis is associated with the prevalence of comorbid conditions in migraine. Journal of Head and Face Pain, 47(7), 1069-1078.)

I was a little surprised when I read the results of this study, but then I realized that I’ve experienced headaches for over six years. Maybe there is a connection after all! I was happy that I did the research, but I wondered how it would make a difference in the way I handle the pain.

Whenever I feel a headache or endo pain coming on, I take three deep breaths and think of something that makes me happy. That tends to relax me and ease some of the pain I’m feeling. If I’m in busy or in the middle of something I try to remain relaxed and think of positive things rather than focusing on the pain. If I’m able to, I try to lie down and engage in some sort of mindless activity, such as watching TV or a funny movie. If I’m not in a lazy mood I’ll do some yoga or go for a run to relax my mind and leave my thoughts at the doorstep. However, these are just things that work for me, and they might not work for everyone.

Here are some other suggestions that may help you cope with your endo pain:

  • Write a story
  • Paint or draw a picture
  • Listen to music
  • Take a nap
  • Go for a walk and take pictures of what you see
  • Go someplace you have never been with a friend
  • Make a new recipe
  • Read a new book
  • Take a bath or long shower