Endometriosis is a disorder affecting women’s reproductive organs, where cells that resemble the uterus lining, called endometrial cells, grow outside the uterus. The endometrium-like tissue most commonly grows in the the pelvis, the ovaries, and the fallopian tubes. In severe cases, it can spread behind the reproductive system.

The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, especially during the menstrual period. Instead of the annoying cramping many women experience during their periods, women with endometriosis often experience severe pain that can be difficult to manage. Other symptoms include:

  • pain during intercourse
  • pain with urination or bowel movements
  • excessive heavy bleeding during periods
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • bloating
  • fatigue

Finding relief from symptoms is important for women trying to manage the condition, especially if a treatment plan hasn’t been worked out yet. Fortunately, there are plenty of home remedies that you can use to help reduce symptoms fast.

1. Heat

If your symptoms are acting up and you need relief, heat is one of the best home remedies you have at your disposal. Heat can relax the pelvic muscles, which can reduce cramping and pain. You can use warm baths, hot water bottles, or heating pads to treat cramping effectively.

2. OTC anti-inflammatory drugs

Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can offer fast relief from painful cramping caused by endometriosis. These drugs include ibuprofen and naproxen. Make sure you take them with food or drink to prevent stomach upset and ulcers, and don’t use them for longer than one week.

3. Castor oil

Castor oil has been used for hundreds of years to treat endometriosis. It can be used at the very beginning, when cramping is first felt, to help the body get rid of excess tissues. It’s important that this technique is only used before the menstrual flow, and not during.

Castor oil should be massaged directly into the abdomen. You can also mix it with a few drops of a relaxing essential oil like lavender to help relax the pelvic muscles, and apply it to a warm compress to place on the abdomen.

4. Turmeric

Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial to people experiencing endometriosis symptoms. It can also be used to manage endometriosis in the long term. Some research has even found that it has the ability to inhibit endometrial growth.

You can take turmeric capsules, or make turmeric tea by boiling one cup of water and adding a teaspoon of both turmeric and ginger powder. You can also add honey and lemon. Drink this three times daily while experiencing symptoms, and at least once daily when you’re using it for maintenance.

5. Choose anti-inflammatory foods

This won’t offer fast symptom relief, but it could help manage the endometriosis long term. By avoiding foods that cause inflammation and increasing foods with anti-inflammatory properties in your diet, you can reduce symptoms in the future.

Foods to avoid include:

  • dairy
  • processed foods high in refined sugars
  • caffeine
  • alcohol

Foods to increase include:

  • green leafy vegetables
  • broccoli
  • celery
  • blueberries
  • salmon
  • ginger
  • bone broth
  • chia seeds

6. Pelvic massages

Massaging the pelvic muscles can help relax them and reduce inflammation, reducing cramping. Using a few drops of high-quality lavender essential oil can help further relax the muscles. Gently massage the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

Pelvic massages should only be used before the menstrual cycle; it may aggravate symptoms if you use it as a treatment during your period.

7. Ginger tea

Some people with endometriosis experience nausea as a result of the condition. Ginger tea is one of the best home remedies for treating nausea, and research has consistently shown that it’s both safe and effective.

You can purchase ginger tea packets at many supermarkets and grocery stores. Just add them to a cup of boiling water and drink two to three times daily when experiencing nausea.

If you’re experiencing pelvic pain, pain during sex, or heavy or abnormal periods, make an appointment to see your doctor. Your doctor will likely conduct a pelvic exam and may order an ultrasound. They can help you come up with the right treatment plan for you. Since endometriosis can cause infertility, you should also see your doctor if you have endometriosis and are planning on getting pregnant.

Treatments recommend by your doctor may include:

  • pain medications, to be taken during your period
  • hormone therapy, which may slow endometrial growth and reduce symptoms
  • surgery, where the endometrial-like tissue is removed
  • hysterectomy, which is a surgery to remove the uterus and cervix

Endometriosis can cause painful symptoms that are difficult to manage. The home remedies discussed above can help with symptom management, but are best used in conjunction with other treatment options that your doctor prescribes.