The Endometriosis Gift Guide
It’s holiday season and you know what that means: Time to break out the gift guides! But while other sites are pushing guides for your mom or your siblings or your kids, we’re here to give you what you really want: a gift guide for people with endometriosis.
It might sound weird at first—we know—but endometriosis is often an all-consuming part of the lives of people who have it. So wouldn’t it be extra thoughtful to get a gift to help ease the (literal) pain of the endo badass in your life?
What is endometriosis?
But before we get to the fun stuff, let’s do a quick refresher on what endometriosis is and how it affects people’s daily lives. Endometriosis is a chronic condition characterized by tissue similar to endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus, instead of inside. Endometriosis shows up in different ways in different bodies, but there are a couple of commonalities.
Endometrial tissue is the stuff that lines the uterus. You’re probably most familiar with it when sheds once a month when a person gets their period. In the case of someone with endometriosis, similar tissue grows on the outside of the uterus, the ovaries, or even on the organs in the pelvic cavity, even going so far as fusing everything together.
Picture chewed up gum sticking your organs together, except once a month that gum melts and tries to leave your body, but doesn’t have access to the usual exit. Yeah—not great.
What kind of pain do people with endometriosis experience?
People with endometriosis might experience symptoms as “mild” (read: not actually mild, but not as extreme as is possible with endo) as very heavy periods and cramps. On the other end of the spectrum, some people experience deep, stabbing pelvic pain all the time, only to have it exacerbated when they get their period.
Other people experience pain around the vulva, the inner thighs, the lower back, and some even have migraines. Many, if not most, people with endometriosis experience pain during sex, either at the vaginal opening or with penetration.
It’s a lot. And you can probably see why an endometriosis-specific gift is such a thoughtful one. Here are seven suggestions to get you started.
1. Le Wand Massager
The Le Wand Massager is the gold standard of deep vibration vibrators—and that’s for good reason. This style of vibrator was originally sold as a “back massager,” but people with vaginas realized real quick that it could be used for… other purposes. For people with endometriosis, the Massager can provide deep pelvic rumbles that stimulate the internal clitoris (yup, that's a thing) without penetration.
In addition to providing sexual stimulation, these types of vibrations can also help ease cramps and pelvic tightness and also loosen up the intestinal tract, providing a measure of relief for the havoc endo can wreak on a person’s insides.
Ohnut is the only sex tool that was specifically designed to ease pain during penetrative sex. Emily Sauer, the creator of Ohnut, suffered from painful sex herself and created this series of rings that can be worn on a penis or a dildo to limit the depth of penetration during intercourse. For people with endometriosis who experience deep pelvic pain, this can mean the difference between penetrative sex being in play or totally out of bounds.
Pillo is a wedge-shaped sex pillow created by the woman-owned sex toy company Dame. It’s great for people with endometriosis who find that elevating the hips helps with that deeper pelvic pain. If you or your partner is sick of stacking three regular pillows to get that good angle, then Pillo is the way to go.
4. Lovehoney Ribbed G-Spot Sensual Glass Dildo
If you’re not familiar with glass dildos, like the Lovehoney Ribbed G-Spot Sensual Glass Dildo, it might seem kind of freaky. Who thinks off the top of their head that glass in a vagina is a good idea?? But fear not: Glass dildos are not only perfectly safe for insertion, they’re also super easy to clean, work with any type of lube, and can be heated or cooled before insertion. That last point is especially important for people with endometriosis because temperature changes can be a great way to ease internal pain. Just be sure not to go too hot or too cold! You don’t want to burn yourself.
5. Oh Naturale Aloe-Based Lube
You all already know how much we love lube. Lube, lube, lube—it’s the answer to (almost) everything! But it’s especially the answer to helping people with endometriosis have more comfortable and enjoyable sex, because lube makes everything from external stimulation (like with a vibrator) to penetrative sex just slide. Oh Naturale is our go-to lube because it’s long-lasting, scent-free, and compatible with vaginas, butts, and Ohnut. Nice!
6. Period products
People with endometriosis often experience really heavy periods with intense cramping. That can mean going through a lot of menstrual products every month. That’s where Flex comes in. Started by a woman in the Y-Combinator startup accelerator, Flex is the only company that makes menstrual products that have actually been shown to ease cramps when compared with tampons. You can get a box of discs as a gift they can unwrap as well as a subscription for a year's worth of discs or you can go for their newer reusable option.
In addition to their discs, they also make an innovative menstrual cup that has a loop which breaks the seal of the cup, making it as easy to remove as a tampon. If the person you’re gifting to this season has periods that aren’t too heavy, that can be a great option for not only saving money but also reducing waste.
And if your loved one can’t handle any penetration during their period, reusable period panties are a great option. Check out Period Aisle or The Period Company, whose period underwear can handle up to nine tampons-worth of blood.
7. Sunbeam Heating Pad
People with endometriosis often have severe menstrual cramps. If that’s the case for the person on your list this holiday season, grab them a Sunbeam Heating Pad for a top of the line cramp-relieving experience.
Look, anyone can buy a nice sweater or some headphones to wrap up and place under the tree at Christmas. So, this year, why not be creative and show your partner or BFF that you’ve been paying attention? Just save the more intimate ones for one-on-one gift-giving time.