I’ve been dealing with Stage 4 endometriosis for more than a decade, and I’ve come to build up quite a toolbox for managing my more painful days. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone in your life who lives with endo (or if you’re looking for something to help with your own self-care), these are the purchases I can highly recommend!

For me, and most people I know who live with endo, heat is often one of the very best options for managing endo pain. But not all heating pads are created equal. Those ones you have to heat up in the microwave, for instance? They’re only great for about 10 minutes. Then the heat fades out of them and the relief wears away.

Similarly, a lot of electric heating pads are made to only cover a small section of skin. But I tend to like heat on my low back, mid back, hips, and abdomen. For me, that means utilizing a few different heating pads at once. So a king size heating pad that covers as much surface area as possible absolutely helps.

I also like to take a lot of hot baths while on my period, and Epsom salts can help with the inflammation and bloating I experience. I’m a big fan of the Dr. Teals brand, their ginger and clay variety, mostly because I like the scent.

It’s nice to feel like I’m pampering myself a little that time of the month. But I would imagine most Epsom salts brands are created equally and could offer a similar level of relief.

I’ve reached the point in dealing with endo where I cannot stand to have anything inside me while on my period. Tampons and menstrual cups alike just make my pain levels so much worse.

But that leaves me with pads as my only period-mess-management tool for a while, and I absolutely loathe those. I personally think that they’re sticky, stinky, and never stay in place.

So, when I recently discovered period panties, it was an absolute game changer. Something I can comfortably wear, without worrying about leaks or extra stuffing between my legs, until my period has run its course? Sold!

After just one period using Thinx, I was convinced this was the answer I had been looking for. They’re pricey but can supposedly last for years. And while there is a learning curve to the cleanup, these are hands down the best option I’ve found so far.

One of the things people may not realize about chronic pain is that when you’re laid up in bed, or when you’re tensing up because of the pain, you can actually cause damage and strain to other muscles that aren’t even involved in your original pain areas.

A good massage can help, and it’s a great way to relax and take care of yourself a little. But it’s also one of those things people aren’t always great about splurging on for themselves. So a massage gift certificate is one way you can help your loved one with endo to take care of themselves, and to hopefully find a little relief while they’re there.

Pycnogenol, or pine bark extract, is one of the only supplements with scientific studies backing up its usefulness in the treatment of endometriosis. And the results are promising, with patients experiencing a slow but steady reduction in endometriosis symptoms.

I’ve been taking 100 mg of a pycnogenol supplement every day since my endometriosis specialist first recommended it seven years ago. I wouldn’t say it’s a miracle cure (I still have endometriosis, and symptoms, after all). But I do think it helps.

Over the years, I have tried every manner of anti-inflammatory, overly restrictive diet you may have heard of. Most were hit or miss as far as symptom relief for me.

But the keto diet was different. In fact, it’s probably the closest thing to a “cure” I’ve found. When I stick to it at least 70 percent of my month, my period pain is often non-existent. That low-pain situation was unheard of for me for many years.

Still, I’m someone who has a hard time sticking to restrictive diets. I also don’t love cooking. So, I struggle sometimes to be as good about keto as I think that I should be.

But if you have someone in your life who enjoys being in the kitchen, and who is looking for symptom relief — a keto cookbook might be helpful.

At the end of the day, the best thing you could give the person in your life who has endo is your love and support.

Offer to take their kiddo off their hands on particularly rough days. Bring meals over. Or just sit with them and allow them to vent.

Most of us know this is the deck we’ve been dealt, and we’ve learned to handle that as best we can — but that doesn’t mean we don’t still sometimes get angry, or sad, about the pain we’re experiencing. Being there during those hard times, providing a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen, can be an incredible gift to give.

If you love someone with endometriosis, you know there are sometimes good days and bad days. But you also know they’re fighting to create as many good days for themselves, and those they love, as possible.

Any of these gifts might help them to achieve that goal. But more importantly, it lets them know you care. And it reminds them to take care of themselves.

Which is maybe the best gift of all.


Leah Campbell is a writer and editor living in Anchorage, Alaska. She’s a single mother by choice after a serendipitous series of events led to the adoption of her daughter. Leah is also the author of the book “Single Infertile Female” and has written extensively on the topics of infertility, adoption, and parenting. You can connect with Leah via Facebook, her website, and Twitter.