What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis, a chronic and often misunderstood condition which is affecting millions of women worldwide, remains grounded in mystery and plagued by misconceptions. This debilitating disorder occurs when the tissue lining the uterus, known as the endometrium, grows and implants outside the uterus, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, ligaments around the uterus (uterosacral ligaments) and the lining of the pelvis. These endometrial tissues do not shed during menstrual cycle as normal uterus lining and their build up can lead to inflammation which can cause severe pain, fertility challenges, and a host of other distressing symptoms.
What is the cause?
The definite cause of endometriosis remains enshrouded, but according to some researches it includes; immune system disorders, genetic predisposition, hormonal imbalances and retrograde menstruation.
Endometriosis is one of the most common gynaecological disorders which affects approximately 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years. The condition not only brings debilitating pain during menstruation and intercourse but also significantly affect the physical, emotional, and social well-being affected women. This excruciating pain can often lead to missed work or school, strained relationships, and a reduced quality of life.
What are the symptoms?
Endometriosis shows variety of symptoms, which can vary individual to individual. These may include:
- Severe menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding
- Fatigue and gastrointestinal issues
How is it diagnosed?
Diagnosing endometriosis can be challenging, as its symptoms can be mixed with other conditions. The standard for diagnosis is laparoscopic visualization and removal of endometrial tissues. However, some non-invasive diagnostic procedures, such as ultrasound and MRI, can be used in some cases.
Treatment Options and Management:
Endometriosis treatment focuses on decreasing pain, managing symptoms, and improving fertility. The options may include:
Pain medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce pain and inflammation.
Hormonal therapies: Hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control medicines, patches, or hormonal intrauterine devices are commonly used to reduce the symptoms.
Surgical interventions: surgical removal of endometrial implants, adhesions and cysts can provide relief and increases the fertility chances for some women.
Fertility and Reproductive Health:
Endometriosis can significantly impact chances of conception. However, not all women with endometriosis face infertility issues and there are various fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and assisted reproductive technologies can help in managing infertility.
Physiotherapy in endometriosis focuses on different areas mainly pain management, pre and post operative physiotherapy. Let’s explore further
Pain management : this includes massage of lumbo-pelvic region and use of electro and photo-therapeutic devices which has analgesic effects, these modalities includes Medium- and low-frequency currents and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). Phototherapy includes laser and infra red radiation which helps in absorption of exudates and improve blood circulation.
Read more here
Pre Operative: pre operative physiotherapy may include general conditioning, pelvic rehab and breathing exercises.
Post Operative : includes general post operative rehab, visceral mobilisation and scar therapy. Bode Clinic are one of the very few Manchester clinics offering specialist scar treatment.
Raising Awareness and Support:
Endometriosis often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years due to a lack of awareness of problem, and knowledge among healthcare providers and the general public. Increased education, research funding, and advocacy efforts are important to address the challenges faced by women with endometriosis and improve their quality of life. It is important to support and listen to individuals living with endometriosis, and create an environment where they feel comfortable discussing their symptoms and seeking appropriate care.
If you are in Manchester you can book in for an assessment with our Women’s Health Physiotherapist and discuss your diagnosis and treatment options. Book now
Author: Saira Urooj
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