March is endometriosis awareness month so we feel it is our duty to give it a little attention. If you don’t know, endometriosis is a disorder in which uterine tissue (tissue that is usually found in the uterus) starts growing in places it shouldn’t, like the fallopian tubes or ovaries. This can cause a myriad of problems, and symptoms include pelvic pain, abnormal menstruation, nausea and other gastrointestinal symptoms and even infertility. Endo is a tricky disorder and has many faces. It affects one in ten women and takes an average of seven years to be correctly diagnosed.
Endometriosis can be pretty tricky to treat. The gynecologist typically prescribes hormonal birth control to manage the symptoms. If that is ineffective, many people opt for surgery to remove the tissue causing the symptoms.
What many people don’t know is that a pelvic health physical therapist can help improve endo-related pain or symptoms. And although it’s not a cure, symptom reduction and pain management can be a very invited reprieve.
Endometriosis is an inflammatory visceral condition (same as Interstitial Cystitis). The most common symptoms of endometriosis include:
Pain with penetration
Urinary and bowel dysfunction
SI joint instability
And other diagnoses that are commonly associated with endometriosis such as interstitial cystitis, painful intercourse etc.
So how can pelvic health physical therapy help?
Pelvic health therapists improve muscle mobility and coordination control in the pelvic floor and diaphragm. This can reduce some of the symptoms like cramping, urinary and bowel dysfunction, etc. We can also treat abdominal tissue and fascial restrictions to help reduce the pain from the abnormal issue itself.
These techniques often reduce symptoms such as painful bladder, painful penetration, back pain, SI joint pain, and hip pain. Manual techniques promote lymphatic and venous circulation to encourage the absorption of inflammation to decrease abdominal pain and bloating.
So if you or someone you know suffers from endometriosis or any other kind of pelvic pain, I highly recommend seeking an evaluation with a pelvic health specialist. They can assist in diagnosing the problem and providing treatments to reduce symptoms and education to keep your body healthy and functioning as optimally as possible.
Happy Endo Awareness Month,
Dr. Yvonne Huang