Should You Use Heat for Endometriosis Pain Relief?

As with most complementary therapies and treatments, using heat to help relieve the pain associated with endometriosis has divided opinion.

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Many women have found that a well-placed hot water bottle or heat pad can ease them through some of their worst endometriosis pain, but recently, some experts are advising patients to steer clear of using hot water bottles and heat pads for a variety of reasons.

On the Endometriosis UK website, one reader wrote to say that her doctor had told her to stop using her hot water bottle to manage endometriosis pain because it was leaving red marks on her stomach and suggested she use an electric heating pad instead. Other readers posted that they too had small red scars on their stomachs from using hot water bottles.

Melissa M. Turner from EndoEmpowered suggests that women shouldn’t use any source of heat to manage their endometriosis pain. In a video with Chris Toal, who specializes in deep fascial release massage, the two discuss how heat can soften and change the form of the fascia (the interconnective tissue which lies under the skin surrounding the muscles and internal organs). Once the heat is removed, the fascia will then reharden and potentially become more rigid and painful.

Another endometriosis blogger Aubree Deimler explains that scar tissue and adhesions from endometriosis act in the same way as the fascia, so deep penetrating heat could also soften them offering temporary relief but the adhesions would re-harden and stiffen when the heat source is taken away, causing more aggravated pain.

Deimler decided to experiment and hid her heat pad away to try and manage her abdominal pain without it. However, a few weeks later she was suffering from unrelated back pain so she dug out her heat pad to see if it would help and she noticed something different. The heat pad definitely offered relief while she was using it but once she removed the pad and her back had cooled down, the pain was even stronger. She tried this again the next day with the same result — heating and cooling down increased the pain.

Have you tried using heating pads or hot water bottles for endometriosis pain? Do you think they help or aggravate the problem?

MORE: Five natural treatment options for endometriosis

Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

2 comments

  1. Tina says:

    Heated rice packs are the only thing that kept me from needing narcotics every day and I still use my heat often for the chronic pain of endometriosis! I will not give it up because with endometriosis any relief we can get is critical and most often the drugs are just not available and we shouldn’t want to be on them long term either but we also can’t live in pain…in regards to burning the skin and leaving red burning pattern or scars we need to be smart enough to not leave it long enough to leave permanent burns…that is common sense! I have used the heat for over 2 decades without burning myself and have DIE stage 4 so it can be done! I have done the myofascia release, PT, massage, acupuncture and though it does help it is just not cost effective because you need it at minimum once a week to get relief and who can honestly afford that…so unfortunately those of us with relentless endometriosis pain have to do what we have to do and heat is one of my go to treatments for pain without the cost or side effects of other therapies.

  2. Lili says:

    for some reason heat increases the burning sensation and so the pain for me. i use cold or an ice pack and it numbs the pain.

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