Over 176 million women suffer from Endometriosis, with symptoms ranging in variety depending on the individual.
Endometriosis is a condition where there is abnormal growth of the uterine lining on the female reproductive organs, and most commonly found in the abdominal cavity. With over 176 million women suffering from this condition, Endometriosis is one of the most common causes of pelvic pain and infertility and may present with a variety of symptoms.
The cause of these symptoms are due to excessive bleeding when menstruating and result in scar tissue and adhesions throughout the pelvic floor and abdominal cavity.
Symptoms of Endometriosis may include:
- painful periods
- excessive bleeding
- back or chest pain
- pain during sex
- pain during urination or bowel movement
To receive a true diagnosis of Endometriosis, one must consult with their physician and receive a pelvic exam by their gynecologist. Further action would require a laparoscopic exam if Endometriosis is suspected. The laparoscopic exam consists of a small device with a camera on the end. This is inserted into the abdominal cavity, looking for any abnormal tissue growth and scar adhesions. The findings from laparoscopic surgery would then decide if a woman has Endometriosis and at what stage is her condition.
Endometriosis and the Pelvic Floor
Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles that sit inside your pelvic bowl. These muscles have several functions and can become dysfunctional with Endometriosis. Your pelvic floor has a variety of purposes such as supporting organs, aiding in sexual function, and providing a role in urine and bowel elimination. For your pelvic floor to perform optimally, these muscles must be able to lengthen to allow blood flow and mobility of your connective and muscle tissue.
A woman who has developed Endometriosis will most likely have scar tissue adhesions throughout her abdominal cavity.
This results in additional swelling and bloating, commonly known as the “endo belly.” In addition, if you have undergone laparoscopic surgery for removal of Endometriosis, there is additional trauma to the abdominal cavity—perhaps causing further pain.
The pelvic floor and abdomen have a close relationship anatomically and physiologically, as they share the same attachment points on the pelvis and work together to change intra-abdominal pressure. As a result of increased stress on both bodily structures, one can develop trigger points along the abdominal muscles and throughout the pelvic floor. Trigger points are points along the muscle that have become in a persistent contracted state. This causes pain that may be localized to the pelvis or abdomen, or perhaps can be felt down the leg or in your back. While your body remains in this pain cycle it can facilitate a neurological response with the sympathetic nervous system continuing the endless pain cycle.
It is common to have pain with sex if you have Endometriosis.
This is because you have inflammation, scar tissue, and adhesions throughout your abdomen and pelvis, as well as secondary pain from trigger points and muscle tension from being in constant pain. To have intercourse, your pelvic floor muscles must be able to lengthen and relax. However, if you are having significant tissue tension this can again cause pain and create difficulty with becoming pregnant.
The Good News
How does Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Help?
With collaboration with your physical therapist there are many different strategies to relieve pelvic pain caused by Endometriosis.
Interventions from your physical therapist would include a pelvic exam and manual therapy. These techniques would include myofascial release to treat trigger points and allow tissues to become normalized, visceral manipulation to treat organs that have been affected by adhesions, and scar tissue mobilization. Through skilled interventions, we help provide pain relief and improve overall tissue mobility. Our objective is to empower you as a patient to reach your goals to become a mother or have painless intercourse and periods.
Sarton Physical Therapy is home to the best pelvic health physical therapists in Orange County. The women at Sarton PT have an eclectic perspective in treating Endometriosis with their successful interventions. Let our advance board certified physical therapists help, please contact us with any questions or requests for additional information.
"After being diagnosed at the age of 8 with IBS, I have lived in pain for 20 years. Money thrown for colonoscopy-nothing found. Doctor after doctor who quickly brush me off with more medicine to try nothing worked."
When I had my period for 4 weeks on one week off for 4 months straight and in severe pain every single day- my obgyn telling me just take birth control you’ll be fine...I felt I couldn’t function.
From being diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis(not truly diagnosed) I knew I needed to find answers and find them quick. My body was telling me something is not right. I stumbled across Sarton PT and was immediately greeted with an angel who finally had some hope for me. As the tears rolled down my face and no hope in my voice she said never give up hope. I very nervously went to the apt and spent what seemed a fortune at the time to see Julie. After sitting with her for 2 hours I walked out with little to no pain from 1 PT apt! She truly is a Godsend and I have never felt so reassured that after 20 years of constant pain I had some relief. She is remarkable and makes you feel you are beautiful on the inside and out. As the road ahead to make many lifestyle changes- going GF and working to repair my body of pain, I know she and her other amazing staff will be with me every step of the way. There will never be words to describe her amazing work except THANK YOU! I walked out with tears in my eyes- not from pain but the happiness of finally not being in pain. Even if it lasted only a few minutes. Side note I’m paying out of pocket and I have never been so sure of anything in my life.......GO!