Let's chat about endometriosis
It's endometriosis awareness month, which is important because so many girls and women have endometriosis but aren't aware or are used to having their symptoms and complaints brushed off as "normal." They may be labeled as having IBS, fibromyalgia, or PCOS before they are ever diagnosed with the source of their symptoms.
- painful or irregular periods
- painful intercourse or pain after orgasm
- abnormal or heavy menstrual flow
- painful urination and/or bowel movements (can be worse during menstrual period)
- severe bloating
- Fatigue & brain fog
- Nerve pain
- Infertility (meaning: difficulty getting pregnant after 1 year of unprotected sex)
- Spotting a few days before your period (can be a different consistency than period blood and be brown or pink)
- Low back, abdominal, pelvic, hip, leg, or tailbone pain
What is it?
It's when endometrial-like tissue grows outside of the uterus. It is called endometriosis because the tissue imitates the tissue found in the uterine lining, however this doesn't mean the tissue is caused by the uterus just because it's normally found there. Therefore, having the uterus removed isn't always a solution. This endometriosis tissue becomes inflamed with the menstrual cycle, so the symptoms can be cyclical (but not always). If you feel like you have any of the symptoms listed above, pay attention to how you feel throughout the month. Usually symptoms are less during the follicular phase (the week after your period), and may increase around ovulation, and continue to worsen throughout menstruation.This tissue is most commonly found in the pelvic cavity and on structures like the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, rectum, bladder, and colon, however they can migrate and be found on the spine and nerves as well.
With all of these structures involved, it's easy to see how it could affect any/every organ system and have such an impact on the body. It's also why it can be hard to diagnose. In western medicine, we live in the world of specialists. You have low back pain? Get an MRI and see a spinal surgeon. You have abdominal cramps? Go to a GI physician, get a colonoscopy and start taking Miralax. Urinary frequency? Better see a urologist and take some antibiotics!
You go through medical gymnastics to treat the symptoms, when it's a systemic and chronic inflammatory issue that can affect most of our organ systems and functions. However the more knowledgeable you are of your symptoms, the better you can advocate for yourself to your doctor(s) and get the care you need and deserve.
How is it diagnosed?
The gold standard for diagnosis is through laparoscopic surgery. Often the tissue isn't identifiable by imaging like MRIs or ultrasound, and can only really be identified by actually seeing the tissue through surgical measures. You may have been told after an ultrasound that you may have it because they found fluid in the pelvic cavity, or the same with an MRI, but those measures are unreliable and are not considered indicators of endometriosis unless you have already been diagnosed through laparoscopy.
I think I may have endometriosis, should I get a laparoscopy to confirm?
Maybe! Generally, the less surgery someone has, the better. The surgeon is still cutting through and injuring the abdominal wall and core muscles, and it can take a long time to heal and regain strength and control of those muscles. However, if your symptoms are severe, it can potentially be life-changing to have the surgery and confirmation of a diagnosis.
How is it treated?
There are a lot of treatments available, the most successful treatment method is to actually remove the endometrial tissue through excision, however if surgery can be delayed or avoided there are other ways to manage symptoms and pain so you can live your best life, including nerve blocks, some medications, diet/lifestyle changes, and pelvic floor physical therapy.
How we help:
- Perform thorough testing to identify nerves, muscles, and connective tissue restrictions that are contributing to and/or causing you more pain
- Mobilize restricted tissue and adhesions
- Improve tissue compliance and blood-flow to reduce inflammation
- Improve movement patterns to reduce stresses placed through the pelvic and abdominal organs
- Provide you with strategies to manage your pain and symptoms that are designed for you and your body
- Optimize vasovagal tone to improve breathing patterns, decrease stress, and improve pelvic and abdominal mobility
- Optimize pelvic floor function so you can have better sex, painless bowel movements, and decrease urinary frequency and urgency
It's so important to manage your symptoms so you can do the things you love and have fun. It's our mission to help you do just that. If you have any questions, we're here for you! Shoot us an email or a text if you want to learn more.
Stay strong babes<3