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Wellness

A Pelvic Health Approach to Endometriosis Care

Terri Robicheau
 | 
May 29, 2024

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the tissue on the inner lining of the uterus implants and grows abnormally outside of the uterus. This tissue can take the form of lesions, cysts, nodules and other growths. These growths can occur on the other organs in the pelvic cavity, and in some cases completely outside of the pelvis. (Understanding Endometriosis, n.d.)

This condition can produce a myriad of symptoms. The most commonly known symptoms are pelvic pain, and pain with menstruation. However, endometriosis is not solely a condition of the reproductive system. These symptoms vary from person to person and are influenced by the location of the endometriosis tissue growth.

These symptoms can be divided into 5 categories:

(Fauconnier et al., 2013)

Severe pain - This pain is usually in the pelvis, but can branch around into the lower back and other regions. Severity of this pain is often reported as cyclic in nature, being at its highest intensity during menses. This pain is often described as severe, incapacitating and debilitating, significantly impacting participation in daily life.

Pain with intercourse - Sharp, burning, deep pain is often reported, limiting ability to participate in intercourse for patients with intercourse. Many women decide to avoid intercourse because of this pain.

Gastro-intestinal symptoms -  Often people with endometriosis report pain with bowel movements, as well as intestinal cramping. Anal pain has also been reported in relation to these activities. These symptoms can also include nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, or both. Like many other symptoms these can vary throughout the menstrual cycle

Bladder symptoms - People with endometriosis can experience bladder urgency, increased urinary frequency, and also painful bladder symptoms. This pain can be associated with both bladder filling and bladder emptying.

Other symptoms - These have been reported as physical and psychological impairments with regards to participating in daily life. Some people with endometriosis also report high levels of exhaustion and fatigue.

How can pelvic floor physiotherapy help?

While there is no cure for endometriosis, pelvic floor physiotherapy can have a significant impact on many of its associated symptoms. Patients often experience improved pain relief, symptom management and are better able to participate in the activities of their daily life when incorporating pelvic floor physiotherapy into their treatment of endometriosis. Some treatment techniques we use in these treatments are:

Pelvic floor relaxation strategies

* Penetration pain management

* Diaphragmatic and pelvic floor exercises

* Pelvic floor muscle soft tissue release and lengthening techniques

* Myofascial release techniques of the abdomen, low back, hips and pelvis

* Pain management through transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS)

* Ergonomic education for optimal bladder and bowel emptying

* Education on at home pain management strategies

If you or someone you know is suffering with the symptoms of endometriosis, please reach out and we can get started on your personalized treatment plan.

References

Fauconnier, A., Staraci1, S., Huchon, C., Roman, H., Panel, P., & Descamps, P. (2013). Comparison of patient- and physician-based descriptions of symptoms of endometriosis: a qualitative study. Human Reproduction, 28(10), 2686–2694. https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/28/10/2686/621306?login=false

Understanding Endometriosis. (n.d.). The Endometriosis Network Canada. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://endometriosisnetwork.com/understanding-endometriosis

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