Endometriosis – How can we help?
Endometrial tissue lines the uterus (womb). Each month the lining thickens in preparation for pregnancy. If no pregnancy occurs, hormones will cause the womb lining to break down and this is shed as a period.
In endometriosis the endometrial tissue is also found in other locations in the pelvis such as the ovaries, vagina, bladder or bowel. Although not in the womb, this tissue is also affected by the monthly cycle. When the cells are shed the bleeding has nowhere to go, causing inflammation and adhesions (scar tissue).
It is difficult to know how common it is, but around 5-10% of women are affected during their reproductive years (between the onset of periods and the menopause).
Diagnosis can often be delayed because the symptoms are similar to many other conditions. The most common symptoms are painful periods (dysmenorrhoea); pelvic pain between periods; prolonged, heavy or irregular periods and painful sex (dyspareunia). It can also lead to difficulty conceiving, or infertility.
Endometriosis awareness week runs from 3rd – 11th March 2018 and aims to raise awareness of this condition and help women be diagnosed earlier. Further information can be found here: Endometriosis UK: Awareness Week
Pain can be severe and significantly impact on a woman’s daily activities, which can also lead to depression and fatigue. There is no evidence that delaying starting a family makes the condition more likely, but there may be a genetic link.
Personal stories about living with endometriosis (from Endometriosis UK website) can be found here: Personal stories
Medical treatment is hormonal and aims to mimic the non-reproductive state, by altering levels of oestrogen and progesterone. Surgical treatment can involve local removal of the endometriosis or more major surgery, such removal of the womb or ovaries.
Some women manage the condition without medical intervention, using pain relief.
How physiotherapy can help
Although Physiotherapy doesn’t modify the endometriosis itself, it can help to treat the postural and movement disorders that, for many women, contribute to ongoing pelvic pain.
- Postural changes and adaptations
- Tense abdominal and pelvic floor muscles
- Muscle imbalance
- Stress and anxiety
Physiotherapy uses a range of approaches including:
- Posture and movement correction through manual therapy and exercise
- Improving pelvic floor and abdominal muscles flexibility and strength
- Exercise to aid rehabilitation following surgery procedures.
- Helping with pain management – through exercise, acupuncture, relaxation and coping strategies.
Carolyn uses her experience as specialist pelvic physiotherapist to help women struggling with the symptoms of endometriosis. To make an appointment, or to discuss further please Contact Carolyn
Carolyn works from The Treatment Space, a shared space where western and traditional therapist work alongside one another. Her colleagues Kat Love (Traditional Acupuncture) and Penny Dembo (Nutritional Therapy) also work with women experiencing symptoms from Endometriosis. Kat uses acupuncture to help regulate the cycle and treat symptoms, whereas Penny advises on food choice and nutritional support to reduce symptoms.
More details can be found on their personal websites here:
Kat Love: Traditional Acupuncture: katlovesacupuncture.co.uk
Penny Dembo: Nutritional Therapy: www.lifelong-nutrition.co.uk/