A brain and a uterus bandaged up and reaching out to hold hands to illustrate the connectivity between the two in pain and trauma

Endometriosis and Emotional Trauma

It’s no surprise that there has been immense research between the connection of emotional trauma and physical ailments. About 80 percent of the women I’ve met with endometriosis have suffered from trauma. That being said, it is obviously not the cause of the disease itself, but many believe it can cause more pain in those suffering. I’m no scientist or doctor, but I do know that stress exacerbates pain in anyone. Trauma or no trauma, this is just how bodies work. I’m not going to write about the evidence that this exists, but, instead, how I manage these intertwined pain issues.

Seeing a therapist

This one might be obvious when it comes to anything causing depression or anxiety. But it’s important to talk about, because there can be a lot of shame around needing to speak to someone. Just as we go to the doctor when something doesn’t feel right in our pelvis, we need to be doing the exact same thing with our mental health. When I walk into therapy, my body is tense and stiff. I walk out feeling lighter and more relaxed, something I rarely feel while living with chronic pain. Though seeing therapists will not get rid of endometriosis, I believe they can help us navigate life a bit easier.

Emotional triggers

Trauma triggers are everywhere. They can sneak up in the smallest forms and can be hard to explain to other people. Though I don’t have any special remedies to avoid them, we can learn to acknowledge them. Knowing what triggers emotional responses that could lead to pain flare-ups can help a lot.

Once we know what triggers possible panic attacks, depressive episodes, etc., we can also learn how to take care of ourselves. Some may call it “self-care”. What makes you feel more calm when something has caused a sudden fearful response? Focusing on these things can hopefully get us to loosen our muscles, slow down the mind, and release some good endorphins.

Taking care of your pelvic floor

You know when you focus on your shoulders and realize how tight you were holding them without even realizing? Maybe even try it now. Once you notice it and release it, the feeling is incredible. But now think of your pelvic floor. A place that holds so much physical pain, usually almost constantly for most. Endometriosis can cause an array of pelvic floor issues, and left unaddressed, they can leave us in pain even once the disease is removed.

Many women with trauma, especially sexual trauma, hold tension in these areas. We do this without even realizing, just as we do with our shoulders, jaws, and sometimes hands and feet. Almost everyone does it, but those with chronic pain will feel it the most.

If and when you’re ready, speak with your physical therapist about your history and triggers. That being said, it is not easy to speak out about trauma and there’s no right or wrong time to do so. If possible, let them help you understand where you’re holding your pain and how to work on healing.

Finding a balance

I am no expert on this subject, only someone with experience’s living in a body with these issues; There’s so much more I need to learn. I still struggle with pelvic floor pain, panic attacks, and general anxiety. Each day. I try and release tension and put my mental health first. Both issues are challenging and sometimes discouraging. But I hope that working on both together, will give us a better chance at finding the right balance for recovery.

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