I know… I have been promoting the use of heat and personally used heat to deal with endo pain for years! Years! Anything from hot water bottles to hot baths to heat packs! I really believed it was something positive to do for our bodies as it instantly relieved the pain for us. I have also promoted heat with castor oil packs and made it a “go to” for pain days. Sadly, I was wrong and many naturopaths and physicians are wrong in recommending heat and particularly hot water bottles for managing endometriosis pain.
Why is heat bad for endometriosis?
In this weeks video post, I invited Chris Toal onto the Endo Empowered show. He has been working with women who struggle with endometriosis since 1997 and has treated over 1000 cases in that time. He specialises in deep fascial release massage and has allowed women to achieve miraculous changes and resolve their pain and adhesions. He has taken on the worst cases and managed to help women with amazing success. *Don’t worry, I will be sharing more about Chris and his work with you over the upcoming weeks.
Today, I want to focus on one of the key messages Chris told me: “Don’t use heat on your belly or abdomen ever again!”.
Here is the reasons why:
I know that this is super scary for some of us and I know many of you have been relying on using hot water bottles for years but luckily we have found this information out and can share it with other women with endometriosis: Don’t use hot water bottles!
Here is a cool download for you to save, share or print to keep handy. It gives you the full background on why we don’t want to apply heat with endometriosis.
I am excited to have found Chris, who has a wealth of knowledge to share with us all about endometriosis. In the upcoming weeks, I will be sharing more about his treatment and my personal journey in releasing my own adhesions. To get the updates, be sure to enrol as a member of Endo Empowered.
Update: There has been some heated debate about this interview over the last few years and many claiming that the information isn’t correct.
Here is more research look at:
Some key points to pull out from the video interview:
- Inflammatory conditions (which endometriosis is) should restrict blood flow to the inflamed area. This is where using cold compresses would be more beneficial. Heat would further inflame the area as it encourages more blood flow.
- Fascia is not the same as collagen. Fascia alters with heat/cold.
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I’ve used heat pads for years. If my house caught on fire, I would indeed grab my heat pad on the way out the door lol. I read how heat actually can do harm instead of good when it comes to endometriosis. Desperate to find any relief, I decided to try Not using my heat pad on my pelvic area and I have to say, the heat Does actually make it worse! Heat increases blood flow which more blood flow means more pain for us with endometriosis. Heat affects fascia, adhesions, and scar tissue and this causes pain which is also explained in the article Melissa shared and the one I listed below as well). If you don’t believe then just try it for yourself. Apply the heat pad as normal for a little bit and then take it off and note the difference. You may also see a decrease in how much your bleeding if you stop using the heat pad. I’m not a scientist or anything. Just someone with endometriosis who found something that has really helped myself and I want to share what I learned from experience so others can get relief too. ( Here’s another great article that will help: http://peacewithendo.com/2017/01/stopped-using-heating-pad-endometriosis-pain.html )
You don’t need to use heat for the castor oil to be effective. Stick below 40 Celcius and it will work just fine 🙂
I thought the castor oil helped take away the scarring. Wouldn’t that mean that the heat + castor oil will take away the scarring?
No. Infrared is completely different and really beneficial. Keep doing them ?
Can you please tell me if this is the same for infrared saunas? Someone asked but there has been no reply. I have just started using infrared Sauna and felt that it was helping. Should I stop? Please reply.
I guess it all depends on how one views studies, research and personal experience and years of seeing clients and assessing what the difference was when women used hot water bottles or not.
Unfortunately, it is easy to get caught up in “scientifically reviewed studies” but proof can also lie in women getting better through experiences not always “proven by science”.
I am personally okay with taking on a combination of different approaches and trying things out for myself to see if they make a difference. Some things help, some things don’t – regardless of whether there is “science” to prove it or not 🙂
Simply create the castor oil pack as you would normally but don’t use heat – just warmth instead 🙂
But to be honest…where are the studies saying heat is helpful in endometriosis too? As an RN, we do a lot of things just because we’ve always done it that way, without studies to back it up. Fortunately, this is changing for the better because now we use “Evidence based practice” that uses actual REAL peer reviewed, scientific studies without bias that is reliable and able to be replicated. I get the feeling the next step is going to offer us some magical gadget (I’m thinking the Fascia Blaster) to buy that will fix all our problems. Thankfully, in my nursing education, I had to learn how to differentiate between real journal articles from some article written by anybody who can throw in a few graphs and fancy words and call it research. I don’t think using or not using a warm water bottle is going to hurt anyone but we just don’t know the harm these contraptions could do. Please, everyone, read carefully and watch for things that don’t seem right. Like they always say…if it seems to be too good to be true, listen to yourself because it probably is. Just pass on it if people are trying to make a buck off the desperation of women just trying to get some relief. Happy 2018, everyone!!!
But is actual scientific, peer reviewed, from actual medical journals or a book written by Joe Schmo? This has got to be another ad for the fascia blaster…I see it coming.
How can one make castor oil packs without heating packs can u give me the instruction step by step
Only Chris’s 20+ years of experience or read “Jobs Body” which has some research studies on it. I would say: rather safe than sorry. There is also no research to back that heating pads are good for endo 🙂
If you read a book on Massage which is designated to all practitioners “Jobs Body” you will find heaps of interesting correlations with heat and relevant studies. It is a great book and will also help with understanding endo a little more.
Hello! Can someone point me to the scientific study this information was taken from? To determine whether heating pads are indeed detrimental for endometriosis, this would need to be proven through carefully controlled clinical trials. I can find nothing on PubMed or Google Scholar relating to “heating pads + endometriosis adhesions” or similar searches.
Oh that is so awesome Sue! So happy we have connected 🙂
Me too. Hugs,
Hi Melissa, It was actually Chris who got me onto your website.
I came across his website one day when searching for answers/help with my pain, I live in Australia so would have to travel for treatment, then he sent me a link to you Sticky Tampons page then I found your wealth of information.
I’m really looking forward to you new treatment videos … cant wait.
Thanks again for sharing you knowledge.
Hi Melissa! I wanted to thank you once more! I tried the TENS machine last time I had my period and it really helped me lay off the pain pills. I found it works better for menstrual cramps than regular abdominal pain (IBS?) but anything is better than nothing!
Hi Melissa, I’m working with an occupational therapist who specializes in fascia and adhesions. She does use heat in her treatments. I told her about not using heat and she said she would like to see the research on it. Do you have any pubmed or google scholar links to the research studies proving this theory? Thanks! 🙂
You can use them but without the heat pack Sam. They are still amazing!
That is super cool Carol and how wonderful to have met him. Thanks for sharing.
Oh no! I can say good bye to castor oil hot packs but to hot yoga, finish sauna or hot spa springs? It is so cruel…. 🙁 Thank you so much for info Melissa and I am looking forvard for next 🙂
Thank you so much for your answer, I tried a TENS machine only once years ago but you motivated me to try more seriously this time.
Hi Melissa! Would this also apply to the use of near infra red heat lamps or taking a far infra sauna? Thanks!
Then what to do with castor oil packs? I was using it to conceive.
I’m not sure why but I was not able to watch the video. It says the video is restricted.
Thank you so much Melissa for sharing this video on “The reasons not to use hot water bottles for endometriosis”. This makes a lot of sense. I was recently at my chiropractor and had explained to him about the pain I was having on my left hip. He then to explained to me about the fascia and how adhesions can form around the hip/pelvic area after laparoscopic surgery.
He has this special percussor/vibration tool that breaks up adhesions and used it during my treatment. After a few days, the pain was gone, amazing. I need to see him again as it is helping me with my recovery.
What’s funny is recently my endometriosis spread to my ureter and I found a great group in FB called Nancy’s Nook Endometriosis Discussion and Education. They have butt loads of information!! In one article I stumbled upon…it said after excision surgery to use cold compresses on the areas. I questioned why it would say this……and then it made sense. Well, atleast I’m my mind. It’s similar to how bacteria grows in heat….and freezes in the cold.
It is a scary cycle. Chris and I are going to be developing a new form of treatment, which will be available worldwide. You can use a TENS machine in the meantime but please know that his treatment and method will actually get to the root cause of the pain. I am excited to share it with you very soon!
I know! I felt the same way Laura. Scary stuff. I would recommend trying Magnesium capsules, Turmeric and also massage techniques.
Here are some resources to help:
Vaginal Steaming is different. We aren’t applying any direct heat there and it is far enough away.
Wow, I’ve been doing castor oil packs with high heat for over a year….what about vaginal steaming? Is that safe to rid adhesions?
So now what? I literally LIVE under a heating pad. The thought crossed my mind the other day that I was cooking my insides but I kinda just giggled at my joke…its my only source of relief not to mention I am always freezing cold anyways. I like to be warm. Wahhh!
I understand that it’s (yet another) vicious cycle, but I don’t know how to break it. If I don’t use hot packs when I’m in pain, I will use at least twice more pain killers and I’m pretty sure it’s worse for me than heat.