How can physiotherapy help my Endometriosis?

All Posts, Pain

WHAT IS ENDOMETRIOSIS?

Endometriosis is a disease in which the tissue that is similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside it in other areas of the body. These areas include the surfaces in the abdominal cavity, ovaries, bladder, rectum and abdominal/pelvic walls.

Endometriosis affects an estimated 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years (ie. usually between the ages of 15 to 49), which is approximately 176 million women worldwide.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ENDOMETRIOSIS?

  • Fatigue
  • Pain that stops on or around your period
  • Pain on or around ovulation
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Pain with bowel movements
  • Pain when you urinate
  • Pain in your pelvic region, lower back or legs
  • Having trouble holding on when you have a full bladder or having to go frequently
  • Heavy bleeding or irregular bleeding
  • Difficulties with fertility

HOW IS ENDOMETRIOSIS DIAGNOSED?

Now all these symptoms could mean a million and one things, so how do we identify them as being caused by Endometriosis? The only way to be diagnosed is through a biopsy wherein a tissue sample is taken via laparoscopy under general anesthesia. But, sometimes a symptomatic diagnosis may be made. And to note there is a blood test that is under testing that may be able to test for Endo too- I’ll be frank I don’t know too much about this.

Medical management may include:

  • Surgical removal of offending tissue
  • Medication to help shrink the tissue
  • Referral to Allied Health practitioners including Physiotherapy- Yay!

HOW CAN A WOMEN’S HEALTH PHYSIOTHERAPIST HELP WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS?

It must be stressed upon, first and foremost, that physio does not cure Endometriosis, but rather, helps manage the symptoms of endo.

With Endo there may be inflammation, scar tissue and adhesion formation. This can lead to the surrounding structures having reduced mobility and consequently reducing blood circulation in the tissue and organ structures, tight muscles and trigger points; ultimately resulting in pain and movement dysfunction. This is usually an unremitting cycle of pain and dysfunction impacting quality of life and emotional/psychological well being.

When we are in pain our bodies move into a protective state (cue sympathetic nervous system up-regulation), which in some may mean that we grip our abdominal or pelvic floor muscles to protect. This can, in turn, irritate/ tighten already angry structures AND repeat.

As a Women’s Health Physiotherapist, I can use manual therapy to help with trigger points, prescribe stretching and release exercises, perform visceral mobilisation, give advice on gentle movements to help release and relax angry muscles. Together, we can work on a management plan for when flare-ups occur.

There is no best treatment and a multidisciplinary approach is recommended. We can refer you to Psychologists and/or Nutritionists for support.

As with most conditions, finding relief takes time and dedication to your program. Remember that there can be good and bad days and knowing how to manage during these times will go a long way in improving your health and well being.

 

 

If you would like to seek help through physiotherapy for Endometriosis symptoms, please call/WhatsApp on 9780 7274 or get in touch over email to make an appointment..

You can also visit our website to learn about other women’s conditions we treat through physiotherapy and how we can help you.

References:

Giudice LC. Endometriosis. Clinical Practice. N Engl J Med 2010;362(25):2389-98.

Endometriosis.org

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