Endometriosis and Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women. When women have a laparoscopic procedure to find out what may be causing their pelvic pain, endometriosis is found in 80% of women. Because endometriosis can wreak havoc on the abdominal and pelvic cavity, pelvic floor physical therapy can be a highly effective treatment for pain management associated with endometriosis.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is when tissue (like the tissue that lines the uterus, called endometrial tissue) grows outside of the uterus, most commonly in the abdominal and pelvic cavity. This tissue can attach itself to any surface, including the ovaries, bladder, rectum and abdominal wall.
Common Symptoms Include:
- Severe pain during or between periods
- Very long, heavy and irregular periods
- Painful bowel movements
- Pain in the bladder
- Pain during and/or after sex
- Extreme fatigue
Endometriosis is diagnosed laparoscopically in addition to ultrasound, CT scans and MRIs. Treatment of endometriosis includes laparoscopic excision surgery, medication and hormone therapy. For more information on the latest research in endometriosis visit: http://endometriosis.org/
Adjunct therapies such as pelvic floor physical therapy, acupuncture, nutrition and mental health support are all important members of the healthcare team, in addition to your physician.
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Can Help
Endometriosis impacts the pelvic floor directly and indirectly. It causes inflammation, scar tissue and adhesions in the abdominal and pelvic cavities. This can cause direct pain, but pain and inflammation also cause muscles to guard against the pain.
This creates muscle tenderness and trigger points (muscle knots) due to decreased circulation, decreased mobility of the tissues and a vicious cycle of persistent pain in the abdomen and pelvic floor, as well as hip and buttock muscles. If you undergo surgery for endometriosis, the surgery can also cause inflammation and scar tissue, and in turn the same symptoms.
The good news is pelvic floor physical therapy can help in many ways putting you in charge of your healing. PT’s can help teach you pain management strategies, stretches to decrease pain and gently get you moving. We directly work on the muscles and soft tissue of the abdomen and the pelvic floor as well as scar mobilization. All of these techniques can be taught, so you can do them yourself at home. In addition, we can look at how you are holding your body during the day, that may be contributing to your pain. All of this to say, my goal as a PT it to decrease your pain and give you the tools to manage your pain yourself. The ultimate goal is to have more good days than bad, and when you do have a flare-up, you know what to do. There is help and there is hope.
Do you need help finding ways to get back to your life with endometriosis? Do you need strategies to deal with your flare-ups? Ready to have sex with your partner without having to worry if you’re going to have to stop?
I offer a complimentary strategy call so we can discuss what problems you are experiencing and develop a strategy for you to gain control of your health.
Allison was able to pinpoint the location and movements involved in my pain right away, which was a huge relief because 1) it was validating to finally have a medical professional acknowledge that the pain was real, and 2) now that I understood the where and why of the pain I could FINALLY address it!