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How can physio help with your endometriosis symptoms?

As a women's health physiotherapist, I've had the privilege of working with many individuals who suffer from endometriosis. This chronic condition affects millions of women worldwide, causing pelvic pain, discomfort, and a range of other symptoms that can significantly impact daily life. While endometriosis is a complex condition with no cure, there are ways physiotherapy can help manage its symptoms and improve overall quality of life.

Understanding endometriosis:

Before delving into how physiotherapy can assist in managing endometriosis symptoms, it's essential to grasp what endometriosis entails. Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, commonly on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and surrounding pelvic structures (but it can travel further afield!). This tissue responds to hormonal changes in the menstrual cycle, leading to inflammation, pain, and the formation of scar tissue.

Symptoms of endometriosis vary from person to person but often include:

  • Chronic pelvic pain

  • Painful periods (dysmenorrhea)

  • Pain during intercourse (dyspareunia)

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding

  • Fatigue

  • Digestive issues

  • Infertility

How physiotherapy can help:

While physiotherapy cannot cure endometriosis, it can play a crucial role in managing its symptoms and improving overall well-being. Here are some ways physiotherapy can help individuals with endometriosis:

  • Pelvic floor therapy: Endometriosis can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction, causing muscle tightness, weakness, or spasms. Pelvic floor therapy aims to address these issues through exercises, manual techniques, and biofeedback to restore proper function and alleviate pain.

  • Exercise prescription: Regular physical activity can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis. A physiotherapist can develop an exercise program tailored to individual needs, incorporating low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, or yoga to improve strength, flexibility, and overall well-being.

  • Manual therapy: Hands-on techniques such as soft tissue mobilisation and myofascial release can help release tight muscles, improve blood flow, and reduce pain in the pelvic region.

  • Education and self-management strategies: Empowering individuals with knowledge about their condition and self-management strategies is essential in managing endometriosis. Physiotherapists can provide education on pain management techniques, ergonomic advice, and lifestyle modifications to help individuals better cope with their symptoms.

  • Relaxation techniques: Chronic pain and stress often go hand in hand with endometriosis. Physiotherapists can teach relaxation techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing, mindfulness, and progressive muscle relaxation to help individuals manage stress and reduce pain perception.

  • Collaborative care: Physiotherapists often work closely with other healthcare professionals, including gynaecologists, pain specialists, and mental health professionals, to provide comprehensive care for individuals with endometriosis. This interdisciplinary approach ensures that all aspects of the condition are addressed effectively.

In conclusion, while endometriosis can be a challenging condition to manage, physiotherapy offers valuable tools and techniques to help individuals alleviate pain, improve function, and enhance their quality of life. By addressing pelvic floor dysfunction, providing tailored exercise programs, and empowering individuals with education and self-management strategies, physiotherapists play a vital role in the multidisciplinary approach to managing endometriosis. If you're struggling with endometriosis symptoms, consider seeking the support of a women's health physiotherapist to develop a personalised treatment plan that meets your needs and goals.

Remember, you're not alone in your journey with endometriosis, and there are healthcare professionals ready to support you every step of the way.


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