By Roshni Ravi, Pelvic Health Physiotherapist
Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of it, on other organs or structures in the pelvic cavity. This tissue, called endometrium, acts just like the lining of the uterus and thickens, breaks down, and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. However, because this tissue is located outside of the uterus, it has no way to exit the body, which can lead to pain, heavy bleeding, and the formation of scar tissue and adhesions. Endometriosis can also affect fertility.
What is Endometriosis?
The cause of endometriosis is not well understood. It is usually treated with hormones, pain medication, and surgery. The average delay from symptom onset to diagnosis is 5.4 years in Canada, because of the uncertain etiology. Patients wait for an average of 3.1 years from the onset of symptoms to seeking consultation with their physician.
Some causes for endometriosis may possibly include:
- Retrograde menstruation: some of the endometrial tissue flows backwards through the Fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity, and attaches to other organs and structures.
- Embryonic cell growth: develops from cells in the embryonic stage that grow into endometrial tissue instead of into other tissue types
- Immune system dysfunction: some women may have a dysfunction in their immune system that allows endometrial tissue to grow outside the uterus
- Hormonal factors: hormonal imbalances contribute to the development of endometriosis
- Genetic factors
So what can I do about it?
Medical treatment includes surgery, hormonal therapy and medicated pain management. Other alternatives are acupuncture, herbal supplements and pelvic floor physiotherapy.
Pelvic floor physiotherapy can be beneficial for endometriosis. It can help alleviate pain, improve mobility and flexibility as well as reduce the formation of adhesions and scar tissue. Treatment targets the muscles and soft tissue in the pelvic area through techniques such as manual therapy, trigger point release and myofascial release to relax the muscles and thereby alleviate pain. There are a variety of pelvic floor exercises that can also contribute towards alleviating pain and improving symptoms.
Unsure of what to do next but experiencing these symptoms? Consult a pelvic health physiotherapist to see if pelvic floor physiotherapy is right for you. Our Mississauga Pelvic Health Physiotherapists are experienced and qualified to help you through this diagnosis. Book an appointment here.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis.