How Physiotherapy Can Help Endometriosis
Last updated: August 2020
Endometriosis can cause pain as a result of scar tissue and adhesions in the abdominal cavity and on the surrounding organs. Endometriosis can also cause pelvic floor spasms and throughout the surrounding area. It can make you more sensitive to pain, and can 'turn up the volume' on the nerves in the pelvic area. Even after excision surgery, pain may not be resolved.
Muscle spasms, weak core muscles, postural alignment issues can be helped by a pelvic floor physiotherapist.
Pelvic floor physiotherapy can help with reducing the pulling of adhesions or scar tissue by stretching the muscles and fascia surrounding the pelvis. It can help through the release of external and internal tissue and through relaxation techniques. Physiotherapy helps to mobilize the fascia, bones, ligaments, and muscles that can be impaired due to the disease.
It’s believed that exercise can relax the muscles which in turn helps to stop the pain cycle.1 One small study of 20 endometriosis patients showed that there was a decrease in pain after performing an exercise program created by a physiotherapist.1
What physiotherapy for endometriosis involves
At a first appointment, the physiotherapist will take your case history and listen to your story. They will then make an assessment and may examine your pelvic floor, breathing, bladder function, and musculoskeletal system through movement, objective testing (such as x-ray or ultrasound), and a vaginal exam.
Your physiotherapist will then work out what the contributing factors are and how they will be addressed. A diagnosis is then made and you should be given the knowledge as to what is contributing to your problem and how it will be treated.
Physiotherapists can create a program of stretching, exercise and breathing techniques. The aim of the program is to help reduce pain, strengthen pelvic muscles and help to manage stress. After surgery, you may be encouraged to see a physiotherapist to help you with rehabilitation which can comprise of gentle movement, pilates, or yoga.
Is it painful and does it always involve internal treatment?
It should not be painful, however some women report feeling some symptoms initially. Make sure you are seeing a qualified and experienced professional to avoid any issues. It may not involve internal manipulation and your physiotherapist should always wear gloves and give you the option to say no.
Is physiotherapy a standalone treatment for endometriosis?
No. Physiotherapy is a supportive therapy that can be part of a multidisciplinary approach to treatment and management that may include surgery, dietary modification, hormonal treatments, and alternative therapies such as herbs and meditation.
Which symptoms are you experiencing the most this week? (Check all that apply):