Endometriosis comes from the Latin terms ‘endo’ meaning ‘inner’, ‘metri’ refers to the uterus or womb, and ‘-osis’ means ‘condition.’
In short, endometriosis is a condition where cells that usually line the uterus start to grow in other places.
Endometriosis has 2 main symptoms:
- Fertility problems
It is important to understand that not all women with endometriosis display symptoms. Some have infertility but no pain, where others have pain but no fertility issues. There is no correlation between pain and/or fertility dysfunction with the amount of endometriosis present. For example, some women have large amounts of endometriosis with minimal dysfunction where others have minimal endometriosis causing large amounts of pain and fertility issues.
Endometriosis is a condition that develops in women at the age of puberty. Women have it from the onset of their first menstrual period however it is often not diagnosis until the individuals 20’s or 30’s. In fact, it takes (on average) 7 years for most women to receive their diagnosis. The only way to diagnose endometriosis is via laparoscopic investigation where a biopsy is taken (something which should be discouraged in young females). Ultrasound scans can diagnose endometriosis in a small number of women but a negative ultrasound DOES NOT exclude endometriosis.
It is NOT essential to have diagnosis via laparoscopic biopsy often clinical history and symptom evaluation can be enough to guide treatment.
Treatment options? How does Physiotherapy help?
There are 3 main treatments for endometriosis and therefore a collaborative approach between many health professionals is best. There are:
- Medical treatments: pain relief and hormone regulation medication is vital from your GP.
- Surgical interventions: laparoscopic removal of the endometrial cells can help with pain reduction and fertility. A gynaecologist specialising in endometriosis can help you with this.
- Complementary treatments: these can be delivered by physiotherapists, alternative medicine practitioners and psychologists. These are directed at reducing pain and improving function.
As a women’s health physiotherapist, I often work with women on reducing the pain and dysfunction caused by endometriosis. Massage, acupuncture and specific exercises and stretches can help relieve symptoms. Understanding the nature of pain and offering pain management techniques including supportive education, breath work and mindfulness meditation are all part of the services we offer here at Synergy Physio
to help women manage their pain.
Many women with endometriosis also experience bladder and bowel issues. This can include urinary frequency, urgency, constipation, and/or incontinence. Women can also commonly experience pain with intercourse and pelvic examinations.
A women’s health physiotherapist is well skilled at helping reduce pelvic floor dysfunction and improving bladder, bowel and sexual function. We offer expert pelvic floor assessment and compassionate advice to help you manage your symptoms.
If you’re unsure whether a women’s health physiotherapist can help you, feel free to call us at Synergy Physio on 07 5448 3369. We are happy to discuss your specific condition in person.
Rebecca Horrocks Womens Health Physiotherapist