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How Can Pelvic Floor PT Treat Endometriosis?

Apr 10, 2023

Endometriosis is a painful health condition that can be truly challenging to manage. Around 10% of women between the ages of 15 to 44 can experience endometriosis. This condition can bring pain that can disrupt your daily life. So, what can women do to find relief? This article discusses pelvic floor physical therapy and how it can help treat endometriosis.


What Is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a disease in which tissue similar to that of the uterine lining (endometrium) is found in other places of the body. This tissue responds to hormonal changes involved with each menstrual cycle, resulting in tissue adhesions and scarring overtime. 

Although this condition is considered a reproductive disease, it can affect various systems of the body. It is associated with menstrual pain, musculoskeletal pain, bowel and bladder dysfunction, infertility, and autoimmune conditions. Endometriosis takes, on average, 7-10 years to be correctly diagnosed. 


Why Can Endometriosis Be So Painful? 

The endometrial-like tissue (endo lesions) typically found in the pelvis and abdomen change with hormonal fluctuations. Overtime, more blood vessels and nerve endings feed the tissue, supplying it with nutrients and providing the brain with increased pain signals. The lesions often cause muscle, ligaments and organs to stick to one another rather than slide and glide against each other. 

When we think about physical activities like standing up, bending, reaching overhead, or even having sex, it requires our joints and connective tissues to slide against and pull off each other to create movement. Over time, the body begins to anticipate pain and restriction with these movements, which results in muscles becoming short and tender in an effort to protect us. The more the brain picks up on pain from muscle tension, adhered tissue, or anticipation of pain, the more it turns up its alert system. 

This alert system over time starts to become sensitive to things that otherwise would not be painful, or not painful enough to be bothersome. Pain can begin to spread to wider surrounding areas. This becomes a cycle of pain known as central sensitization.

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Signs and Symptoms 

The main symptom experienced is pain in the pelvic region, or abdomen.

In addition, another sign of endometriosis to look for is a history of dysmenorrhea (painful periods) since the teenage years, especially if this pain resulted in missed school and activities. Another common symptom is dyspareunia (painful intercourse). 

Symptoms of endometriosis can be masked when a woman is taking hormonal birth control, although the condition has not stopped progressing. Many women who have primary dyspareunia, meaning painful intercourse since the first encounter, accept that sex must hurt for everyone. 

Sometimes it is not until a woman decides she has found a life partner or wishes to become pregnant that sex becomes a priority. This condition is often something that is left to progress over time before someone not only seeks care, but gets the correct diagnosis and the correct specialists on her team to help. 


List of endometriosis symptoms

Here are the symptoms of endometriosis you should be aware of: 

  • Pelvic pain 
  • Painful periods (dysmenorrhea)
  • Pain during or after sexual intercourse
  • Pain with urination
  • Pain with bowel movements 
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Heavy menstrual periods or bleeding between periods
  • Infertility

Pelvic floor physical therapy exercises and treatment can help with endometriosis, including reducing symptoms and pain relief.


How Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Helps With Endometriosis

Pelvic Health Physical Therapy is an essential part of comprehensive treatment of endometriosis. With sensitization, the muscles, joints and organs need to relearn that they can move and work together safely. 

Pelvic floor physical therapy uses exercises, stretches, manual techniques to address endometriosis and improve symptoms. Professional physical therapists partner work with patients to address the pelvic floor to reduce pain and improve quality of life.

Muscles and connective tissue respond to physical mobilization techniques to help eliminate pain and regain functional range. Because muscles and organs of the pelvis often refer pain signals to one another, behavioral strategies are often needed to improve bladder and bowel management while the muscles are being re-trained. 

Physical therapy can treat symptoms of endometriosis, including bladder pain, constipation, painful intercourse and dysmenorrhea. The overall goal is to turn down that sensitization and pain with collaboration of your medical provider, and the rest of your team of Endo-informed providers.


Get Started with Pelvic Health PT

To address symptoms of endometriosis through pelvic health PT, consult with the local Las Vegas physical therapists at White Wong PT. We will create a personalized PT plan to get you out of pain.

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