04 Jun What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a common and painful disease in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in other parts of the body. Endometriosis is known to affect 11% of the Australian cisgender female population; however, this number could be much higher due to the varying symptoms and a lengthy diagnostic process.
Endometriosis is commonly found growing in the lower pelvis around the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus; however, it can extend further up to the bladder, bowel, and, in some cases, elsewhere in the body.
During a sufferer’s menstrual cycle, the endometrial tissue will bleed, causing pain, inflammation, scarring, and adhesions. Depending on the severity of the condition, the effects can range from an abnormally painful period to severely impacting a woman’s quality of life.
What are the symptoms of Endometriosis?
The symptoms of Endometriosis are often present a few days before and during a woman’s menstruation.
- Pelvic, abdominal, back, hip, and leg pain
- Painful and irregular periods
- Heavy and prolonged periods
- Pain with emptying the bladder or bowel or both
- Painful sex
- Difficulty getting pregnant or possible infertility
How are you diagnosed with endometriosis?
Endometriosis develops at puberty; however, it often takes many women a long time to seek medical advice. This results in a lengthy diagnostic process, with most presentations taking between 7 and 12 years to get diagnosed.
A gynaecologist can formally diagnose Endometriosis through a laparoscopic investigation. However, clinical signs and symptoms are often used to assist in early diagnosis and to guide treatment. During a laparoscopy, cells surrounding the uterus are tested to determine if Endometriosis is present. The gynaecologist will also be able to grade the severity of the Endometriosis and identify its location. During the procedure, some of the Endometriosis may be removed, which can help improve symptoms.
How can physiotherapy help with endometriosis?
Physiotherapy can assist in the treatment and management of endo by providing the patient with exercises and education to help with:
- Relaxation of the nervous system
- Which can reduce emotional distress and pain associated with the condition
- Release tight and painful muscles
- Which can also assist in the reduction of pain
- Pelvic Floor Muscle Downtraining
- Reducing pain during bladder and bowel movements
- Reduces pain during intercourse
Some of the exercises and treatment techniques provided by the physio may include:
- Self Massage
- Diaphragm Release
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Hip Flexor Stretch
- Adductor Stretch
- QL Stretch
Some helpful stretches include:
For effective management and treatment of Endometriosis, a collaborative approach between health professionals, including a person’s GP, gynaecologist, and physiotherapist, is required.
The GP and Gynaecologist will provide medical intervention involving pain relief, hormone regulation, and in moderate to severe cases, surgical interventions.
If you have Endometriosis and would like to learn some practical techniques to assist in managing the condition, book your appointment with Sarah at Quay Health today.
Post by: Physiotherapist Sarah Loveband