What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a puzzling hormonal and immune disease affecting girls and women in their reproductive years, according to the Endometriosis Association. The name comes from the word, “endometrium,” which is the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus. This tissue builds up and sheds each month in the menstrual cycle. In endometriosis, tissue like the endometrium is found outside of the uterus. This tissue grows into what are called “nodules,” “tumors,” “lesions,” “implants,” or “growths.” These growths can cause pain, infertility, and other problems.
Treatments for Endometriosis
- Removal of endometriosis lesions can be done by open abdominal surgery (laparotomy) or by laparoscopy. Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be considered when other treatments have failed.
- There are many different types of medications that your doctor may try to help decrease the endometriosis lesions or to treat the pain. Consult your doctor for more information on medications.
The Role of Physical Therapy in Pain Management
Physical therapists trained in treating pelvic pain can help women who have endometriosis deal with the pain caused by the endometriosis. These treatments include:
- TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) is a treatment used by physical therapists to “cover up” the pain. It is often helpful when women must be active despite pain; for example, when you need to work, provide care for your family, etc. Endometriosis
- Some of the same treatments used for abdominal adhesions, such as specific stretching exercises to loosen tissue and restore function.
- A massage technique called “myofascial release” that stretches specific tissues and scars.
- Heat used before or after stretching.
In addition, special diets to treat problems with bowel movements can help to lessen the pain, and, if you are able, a general exercise program developed by a certified exercise physiologist can help you deal with the stress caused by living with a chronic illness.
For comprehensive information on endometriosis, or to learn more about treatment, education, research, and support, please contact the resource listed below.
Resource Endometriosis Association International Headquarters
8585 N. 76th Place Milwaukee, WI 53223 USA