Endometriosis is a chronic condition that affects at least 10% of girls and women globally. It occurs when tissue that is similar to the endometrium (lining of the uterine wall) grows outside of the uterus leading to pain and infertility. This tissue is usually still found within the pelvis, but in rare conditions can be found in other areas of the body. Infertility can result because it causes a chronic inflammatory reaction that forms scar tissue and adhesions around the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or uterus. Endometriosis can also be a very painful condition because of these lesions and lead to painful bowel movements, urination, intercourse, and pelvic/abdominal pain with daily activities. Learn how Physical Therapy can help treat endometriosis in Wisconsin.
How is it treated?
Currently, there is no cure for endometriosis, but there are ways to manage the symptoms. Laparoscopic surgery is used as a diagnostic tool to confirm endometriosis and is also used to surgically remove lesions, scar tissue, and adhesions. Medications are also a way to manage the symptoms by altering hormone levels and inflammatory factors that may contribute to pain and the development of the endometrial-like cells. Pelvic physical therapy is also helpful to manage symptoms.
How can PT help?
Although endometriosis is a medical diagnosis that we cannot cure, physical therapy is an important part of the multi-treatment approach to managing the symptoms of this disease. There are many changes in the pelvis as a result of endometriosis. Oftentimes the body starts to become hypersensitive to painful and non-painful stimuli. This process is called central sensitization.
Decrease Stress and Calm the Nervous System
Physical therapy provides stress management and relaxation techniques to decrease this hypersensitivity. We can use breathing exercises, stretches, gentle mobility, and pain-free strengthening to calm down the heightened nervous system which helps to decrease pain.
Reduce Muscle Guarding and Trigger Points
Another common secondary effect of endometriosis is muscle guarding where the muscles of the surrounding pelvic floor, low back, and hip area tend to tense up in response to the pain as a way of protection. We perform a variety of manual techniques including dry needling that are extremely effective and helpful to reduce trigger points and tightness.
Mobilize Visceral and Fascial Restrictions
Because endometriosis is a disease that involves adhesions that attach to structures outside of the uterus, there can be limited mobility of the pelvic and abdominal organs and leading to pain. We use hands-on mobilization techniques for the tissue around the organs and fascia in the abdomen and pelvis to create the appropriate and necessary movement of the connective tissues. This will help minimize unnecessary tension and pain.
Address Bowel and Urinary Dysfunction
Bowel and urinary dysfunction such as painful bowel movements, painful urination, constipation, and urgency are commonly seen in individuals with endometriosis. Pelvic floor therapy helps modify water and fiber intake and address pelvic floor muscle impairments to allow for less pain with these daily functions and allow for a better quality of life.
Working with a pelvic floor physical therapist can help to address the symptoms of endometriosis. The Freedom PT pelvic floor therapists can help you on your road to less pain and a return to living your life to the fullest.