In the last blog we discussed Vulvodynia. We are going to continue discussing diagnoses that cause women pelvic pain. Here we will discuss Endometriosis.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis occurs when tissue that lines the uterus starts growing outside of the uterus. It may start growing on other reproductive structures such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, or more rarely on the intestines. This endometrial tissue makes the surrounding areas irritated and causes scar tissue or adhesions. When this happens, pelvic tissues and organs can start to stick together. It can be painful. Women report the pain especially during their menstrual periods. Unfortunately, it may also cause fertility problems. Endometriosis can last for years or a lifetime. Fortunately, however, there are effective treatments for Endometriosis.
What are symptoms of Endometriosis?
❖ Pain with periods.
❖ Pain with bowel movements.
❖ Pain with urination.
❖ Pain with intercourse.
❖ Excessive bleeding with period or bleeding in-between periods.
The pain described with periods is usually cramping beyond normal menstrual pain. It may also be in the abdomen and low back areas. Other symptoms reported as being greater, especially around one’s menstrual cycle, include fatigue, bloating and nausea, constipation or diarrhea.
One woman suffering form endometriosis described, “I didn’t know what was going on or that I even had a problem. I was having problems getting pregnant and horrible pain with my periods, but I just thought that was normal. It wasn’t until I saw my doctor about what was going on and he got me to the right people to diagnose it as Endometriosis that it was able to get treated and make things better.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, certain factors make women at higher risk for endometriosis. The Mayo Clinic states the following are risk factors:
- “Never giving birth
- Starting your period at an early age
- Going through menopause at an older age
- Short menstrual cycles — for instance, less than 27 days
- Heavy menstrual periods that last longer than seven days
- Having higher levels of estrogen in your body or a greater lifetime exposure to estrogen your body produces
- Low body mass index
- One or more relatives (mother, aunt or sister) with endometriosis
- Any medical condition that prevents the normal passage of menstrual flow out of the body
- Reproductive tract abnormalities”
Treatment for Endometriosis:
❖ Self care
❖ Physical Therapy
❖ Other medical procedures
Medications are focused on hormones to treat Endometriosis. Self-care includes remedies such as using a heating pad, getting rest, and deep breathing or relaxation to help with the pain.
When medication and other treatments are not successful, surgery may become indicated. Surgeries may include excision of the Endometriosis through Laparoscopic surgery, Laparotomy or a Hysterectomy. Laparoscopic surgery is the only way to truly find out if one has Endometriosis.
Bottom line, is seek help from a medical professional instead of just living with these symptoms and problems. Your doctor can help determine appropriate treatment for you and can also refer you to a pelvic floor physical therapist to help with pain relief.
Questions? Give me a call 816-607-3747 or message me. I’m always happy to chat.