Ways to Manage Your Endometriosis

Ways to Manage Your Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a debilitating disease that impairs the quality of life in adolescent and adult females. Sorry – not exactly the best news of the day. But March is endometriosis awareness month, and it’s important to discuss a condition that affects females across the lifespan. Endometriosis occurs when the inner lining of the uterus implants outside of the uterus and cervix, causing scarring, adhesions, and pain within the abdominal and/or pelvic cavity. It has been known to affect 10-15% of all women of reproductive age, with the age of 13 being the median age for onset of initial symptoms. Commonly reported symptoms include dysmenorrhea (painful periods), pelvic pain between periods, dyspareunia (painful intercourse), dysuria (painful urination), and GI complaints (including chronic constipation and IBS-type symptoms). These symptoms closely mimic other conditions, making the diagnosis of endometriosis difficult. It is known as an “invisible illness,” as there is currently no minimally-invasive testing to determine the presence of the disease. The only definitive and most accurate assessment available is laparoscopic surgery.

While rehabilitation cannot stop or cure the disease process, rest assured rehabilitation can help patients in managing symptoms in hopes of improving their quality of life. Here a few ways a pelvic health physical therapist can help with conservative management:

1. Embrace a team approach: ensure the patient has the right medical providers on board, including but not limited to a primary care physician, gynecologist, acupuncturist, and especially a reproductive endocrinologist. Hormone and medical management are vital to promote reproductive health and fertility. PTs are happy to connect patients with the right provider.

2. Pain management: soft tissue work done by the therapist can help reduce pain and tension holding patterns within the muscles of the abdomen, low back, and pelvic floor. Teaching home techniques for the patient to use independently is important for long term benefits. After all, empowering the patient is the gift that keeps on giving.

3. Down training pelvic floor muscles: often with endometriosis the pelvic floor muscles (PFM) tighten up, which facilitates pain patterns. The PFM rarely go off duty when there’s pain. Pelvic health PTs help patients with being able to more successfully lengthen and relax their tightened, painful PFM. It’s almost like helping the pelvis breathe again.

4. Exercise: get the body moving! Keeping the abdomen gliding, moving, and grooving via various stretches and deep breathing techniques can help maintain mobility and reduce pain. Also, encouraging the patient to be successful in basic exercise is helpful, especially when pain is a limiting factor. As the saying goes, “motion is lotion” and all parts of the body require healthy movement.

5. Patient education: the pain and fatigue associated with endometriosis combined with the high demands of current lifestyles can cause further stress. Providing ways for the patient to be consistent with self-care and energy conservation techniques is important for regulating healing for the body. In addition, educating the patient about the disease process is helpful in order to maintain realistic outcomes and goals. Understanding the disease process helps the patient become an active participant in their medical management. As a wise man once said, knowledge is power!

 

 

References:
1. ACOG fact sheet: https://www.acog.org/about_acog/news_room/~/media/newsroom/millionwomanmarchendometriosisfactsheet.pdf
2. Endometriosis: epidemiology, diagnosis, and clinical management. Parasar P., Ozcan P., Terry K. (2017) Curr Obstet Gynecol Rep. March; 6(1): 34–41.

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Covid-19 Notice

06/09/2020 Covid-19 Notice:

Our clinics are open for in-clinic physical therapy visits, telemedicine physical therapy visits and virtual Pilates sessions. This allows us to comply as much as possible with the phased reopening of WA State, while also meeting our obligation as essential infrastructure workers. For in clinic treatment, the PT will wear a mask and patient needs to wear a mask of their own, social distancing is observed throughout the clinic and rigorous cleaning guidelines will be followed. At times during your treatment, it may not be possible for your PT to observe social distancing, such as during certain manual therapy techniques. The need for in-clinic treatment vs. telehealth treatment will be a joint determination between you and your PT. You may review our Covid-19 Exposure Control, Mitigation and Recovery Plan for the details of how we provide safe in-person care.

We are grateful for and support all of our clients who have been able to march and protest in support of Black Lives Matter. In order to continue to provide the safest clinic experience possible for our clients and providers, we are asking that any client who has participated in a march or protest do one of the following: 1.) Switch to telehealth visits for 14 days. 2.) Get tested for Covid-19 and provide us with negative results. Note that Seattle's mayor has cleared the way for those who march to get tested without symptoms and encourages participants to get tested. 3.) Wait 14 days after marching/protesting to return to the clinic. Thank you for understanding that this policy is in place to allow us to meet our responsibility to all clients, which is to do no harm.

We remain passionate about helping you improve and maintain the function of your movement system so that you can do the activities you love. We invite you to follow/Like our  Facebook page, where I am offering complimentary weekly Pilates mat class on Fridays at 7am. All are welcome to participate in these classes or view them anytime on our Facebook page.

Please contact me directly with any questions or concerns. Be in touch with your PT to schedule your physical therapy visit. We are available via clinic phone (206-535-7356) and email (elizabeth@elizabethrogerspt.com). We will update you here and our Facebook page as things change.

Thank you for your support of this small, locally-owned physical therapy private practice!

Elizabeth Rogers, PT

Owner, Elizabeth Rogers Pilates & Physical Therapy, PLLC