Have you heard of endometriosis? March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. In honour of spreading awareness we are going to educate you about Healthy Balance’s Endometriosis Program, and how Pelvic Physiotherapy can help people suffering from this disease.
Let’s first take a look at what Endometriosis is. This is a systemic, inflammatory disease that affects 190 million people worldwide1; which is equivalent to asthma and diabetes, yet it remains grossly underfunded and misunderstood, with no known cause and no known cure.
It is described as tissue that is similar to the lining of the uterus that is found outside of the uterus, the only way to truly diagnose and remove this disease is with surgery. Endometriosis has a dramatic impact on people’s sexual and reproductive health, quality of life, and overall well-being.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
- Painful periods that disrupt daily life
- Pelvic pain
- Bladder Pain Syndrome/ Interstitial Cystitis
- Pain with urination/ filling/ emptying
- Pain/bleeding with bowel movements
- Pain with penetration
- IBS/ digestive issues/ bloating/ nausea
- Extreme fatigue
- Depression/ Anxiety
- Trouble focussing
- Fertility challenges
- Other diagnoses: fibromyalgia, migraines/headaches
Although endometriosis is complex, there is a lot we can do for people suffering from this disease. The Pelvic Physiotherapy team at Healthy Balance will review the top ways our Endometriosis Program can help.
The Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor consists of the muscles at the bottom of the pelvic bowl. When we have pain these muscles are often tight.
They may even contribute to further pain contributing to pain with penetration, with going to the bathroom, tailbone pain, and hip and low back tightness.
If this is the case we will teach you how to relax these muscles and regain flexibility.
Pelvic/ Menstrual Pain
Persistent pain is complex and never imagined. Did you know that the brain of someone who lives in pain appears different on a functional MRI than someone without pain? There are many factors outside of disease that can make our pain worse. It also makes traditional treatments, like medications and surgery less effective.
Our therapists are well-versed in pain neuroscience and can help guide you to be less sensitized, more active and doing the things that you love to do. To learn more about pain, read our blog: "Know Pain, Know Gain"
Bloating/ Digestive Issues
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), bloating and other digestive issues are common in people with endometriosis.
Constipation, loose stools, painful bowel movements - we've heard and treat it all!
Our Pelvic Physiotherapists use gentle fascial mobilization techniques, education and advice to help improve your abdominal discomfort.
Interstitial cystitis, bladder pain syndrome, pain with filling or emptying your bladder, urinary urgency or frequency. These are all potential symptoms that can go with endometriosis.
We can evaluate whether you are drinking enough liquids and if what you are consuming is contributing to discomfort or frequency. We can use a bladder diary to review bladder habits, and retrain anything that might help ease the discomfort. Bladder issues interfere with life and we can help get you back on track.
Lifestyle and Goals
Physiotherapists are lifestyle therapists. We take a whole person approach and look at much more than your daily activity and movement; we look at how your symptoms are interfering with your goals. Are you fatigued? Do you suffer with depression and motivation? Is your sleep all over the place?
Your physiotherapist at Healthy Balance will collaborate with you to figure out where to start to get you back on track. They can teach you about sleep hygiene and behaviour modification, work to help desensitize your system and lead you step by step toward your goals.
Bonus: As physiotherapists we are blessed with the time to listen to how your symptoms are affecting you in all aspects of your life. It is a profession that looks at more than just physically how you feel, but how the physical affects how you live your life; and how your behaviour and habits may be contributing to your physical discomfort. We can do a lot of this virtually as well.
So whether you see us in person or virtually, know that our Pelvic Physiotherapy team is here for you. Know someone else experiencing these symptoms? Share our information with them so they don’t have to suffer any longer.
1. Zondervan KT, Becker CM, Missmer SA. Endometriosis. N Engl J Med 2020; 382:1244-56.