Endometriosis is a debilitating chronic disease characterized by symptoms such as chronic pelvic pain, abdominal cramps, painful menstruation, heavy bleeding, weakness, and fatigue, among others. Given the severity of these symptoms, travel, whether for work or leisure, can be a challenging prospect for you if you have endometriosis. However, following some of the tips below can make travel easier for you.
Plan your itinerary well in advance
It is always a good idea to plan your travel itinerary ahead of time. This helps avoid the last-minute rush. It also gives you ample time to ensure all necessary medications and other requirements are taken care of. Before going ahead with travel plans, be sure to consult your healthcare provider to make sure you can travel. Planning ahead will also let you time your travel in a way that can ensure you avoid periods of potential symptom flare-ups.
Endometriosis pain and fatigue can negatively impact your travel plans. Traveling with excess baggage can further exacerbate things. Whenever possible, travel light packing only necessary clothing preferably those that you feel comfortable wearing for long periods.
If you are an avid reader, it may be a good idea to carry your favorite books and magazines in eBook or audiobook format on your smartphone or tablet. This can ensure you don’t have to lug around heavy reading material.
Pack enough medications and essentials for the trip
While it is good to travel light, it is equally important that you include all the medications and other essentials in your bags. This is particularly important if you are traveling to areas where immediate medical assistance may not always be available. These could include birth control pills, hormone therapies, and pain medication.
It is also a good idea to pack essentials and comfort items so that you are prepared for all kinds of situations. These could include sanitary pads, extra underwear, and equipment such as heating pads.
Try to maintain a proper diet
Traveling to new places brings with it the excitement of tasting new cuisines and popular street food. However, it is important to maintain a proper diet plan as much as possible while traveling to avoid symptom flares. For instance, food and drinks such as processed food, alcohol, sodas, and caffeine can worsen endometriosis symptoms. So, try avoiding them as much as possible.
Make a note of the anti-inflammatory diet plan that you’ve been following at home. Look for similar foods at your destination. Such a diet can also help minimize uncomfortable abdominal bloating or endo belly.
Maintain your sleep hygiene
If you are traveling long distances on a tight schedule, your sleep is bound to be affected negatively. Endometriosis can already have a negative effect on sleep quality. The vagaries of travel only serve to further complicate getting a good night’s sleep. If you are adjusting to a new time zone, it may not be immediately possible to follow a strict sleep routine. However, you can still practice good sleep hygiene by following certain measures such as reducing exposure to digital devices before bedtime, setting a new sleep schedule, or creating a relaxing ambiance for yourself before sleep.
Pace yourself and take adequate rest
Travel brings with it a lot of excitement, but it can also get pretty strenuous quickly depending on your itinerary. It is important that you pace your activities both before and during travel to ensure you get adequate rest and relaxation. If you are traveling for work, it is a good idea to apprise your workplace or client of if you have special needs beforehand.
Take short naps during the day to recuperate and regain energy whenever possible. A brisk walk can also help revitalize your body, but ensure intermittent rest to avoid exhaustion. Use the periods of rest that you’ve planned in your itinerary to relax and unwind.
Stay emotionally strong
Travel often provides the necessary relaxation, but the symptoms of endometriosis can take a toll on your mental health. Coping strategies such as mindfulness and yoga can help calm your mind and help you focus on yourself. It can also help you create a positive outlook, and reduce anxiety and depression. Breathing and stretching exercises can be very relaxing and can be easily performed in most settings without the need for any specialized equipment or instructor. New places often give us a chance to meet new people and learn more about their cultures. This could be a great way to socialize and can be an excellent motivating factor.
Seek help when you need
Remember to actively seek help when you need it. It is a good idea to make a list of healthcare centers and their contact numbers at your destination or layover points. Carry a self-identification badge or letter that has basic information about yourself, your condition, any ongoing therapies, and emergency contact details. This comes in handy for first responders in case of an emergency. Also, make sure to carry your medical records either in physical or electronic format. This way, healthcare providers at your destination can get a better idea of your medical history.