Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that normally grows on the inner lining of the uterus, grows in abnormal places. This may include the outside of the uterus, ovaries or bowel. Endometriosis affects 176 million women worldwide: 1 in 10 girls and women in the U.S. It affects women usually between the ages of 12-60. Endometriosis is characterized by chronic debilitating pelvic pain, low back pain, and abdominal pain. The pain often interferes with activities of daily living and may effect fertility as well. Approximately 30-40% of women who have endometriosis experience issues with fertility.
Symptoms of endometriosis can include the following:
- Pelvic pain and cramps before, after, and during menstruation
- Heavy menstruation
- Low back pain
- Lower abdominal pain
- Pain with intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Pain with urination (dysuria)
- Urinary frequency or uergency
- Pain with bowel movements and/or constipation
How can Physical Therapy Help?
Physical therapy can help relieve the symptoms of endometriosis alongside medical treatment. Physical therapy often includes relaxation techniques for pain relief, manual therapy to relieve pain, stretching and strengthening exercises, and a home exercise program. Manual therapy can play a big role in helping endometrial symptoms by reducing tightness of pelvic floor muscles to decrease pain and improve bowel and bladder function. It can also release endometrial adhesions and scar tissue in the abdomen, using manual techniques such as visceral mobilization which can help to improve the natural movement and function of internal organs.
Some Tips to Manage Endometriosis Naturally:
- Diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing)
- Do a sitz bath or use a heating pad to reduce pain and cramping for 15 minutes.
- Dietary changes-look for foods that are anti-inflammatory.