Endometriosis is full of mystery. There are so many questions that are still left to be answered. Some women will undergo surgery only to find that they have very little endo cells while others will have more cells out of place but be in no pain. One theory is that not all endometriosis is actually endometriosis. Pelvic floor dysfunction is often misdiagnosed as endometriosis. Let’s take a look at what it is and what pelvic floor therapy is.
What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Your pelvic floor is the muscles that hold up the pelvic area. It is the same muscles that hold up your bladder and bowel. They are the ones that help you to hold in your urine. If they are too relaxed you could have urine leaks or anal leaks. You can feel them when you tighten your pelvic area. Kegel exercise is the exercise where you tighten up the muscles, hold it for as long as you can, and then release them. You should try to do this every day, several times a day to help build up and strengthen these muscles.
You can have pelvic floor dysfunction and endometriosis.
Pelvic floor dysfunction may have some of the same symptoms as endometriosis like:
- Painful sex
- Painful urination
- Frequent constipation
- Painful walking or standing
- The inability to sit up straight
- Painful periods
While they do have a lot in common pelvic floor dysfunction and endometriosis do have some symptoms that are different. For instance, endometriosis can cause intestinal problems, digestive problems, and stomach issues. Also, endometriosis is more likely to result in surgery while pelvic floor dysfunction is more likely to be less painful with exercises.
Now, let’s look at some common causes of pelvic floor dysfunction.
What causes pelvic floor dysfunction?
Endometriosis can be the cause of your pelvic floor dysfunction. The severity of your endometriosis can affect the severity of your symptoms. However, there are many other things that can cause you to suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction.
Obesity puts pressure on your pelvic floor. You may see fat as the rolls that keep your pants from buttoning. In reality, fat builds up around organs, including your female reproductive system and your bladder, which can put a strain on your pelvic floor causing you pain.
Childbirth can put a strain on your pelvic floor. Having multiple children close together can cause you to lose muscles in your pelvic floor. You can strengthen these muscles with exercise but it is a big factor in pelvic floor dysfunction.
Chronic constipation, which can be caused by endometriosis, can affect your pelvic floor. It can cause muscle weakness, pain, and pelvic floor dysfunction. It is easier to fix the reason behind your constipation, in most cases, than it is to fix the damage that it can do.
Extreme exercise is a big factor in pelvic floor dysfunction. It sounds like a contradiction, but over-exercising can do more damage to your body than you think. Gravity isn’t your friend, in this case. When you do weight lift, you use the same muscles to lift as you do to push out a child. That means if you don’t do it the right way, you are pushing your pelvic floor too hard and can do some serious damage. Don’t forget to work out this muscle.
This is a controversial reason for pelvic floor dysfunction. Some people will argue with you. Waist trainers and corsets can cause your issues. When not used properly, and along with proper diets and exercises, waist trainers can push your fat and organs down on your pelvic floor causing damage to it.
What does a pelvic floor therapist do?
A pelvic floor therapist is going to help you to focus your exercises so that you are getting the best treatment for you. It is focused on your pelvic floor the same way a sports therapist will focus on your throwing arm, ankle, or whatever part of the body you need a little extra help on. They will help you to identify your pelvic floor muscles. You may not realize what or where they are.
Your appointment will start off like most other doctor’s appointments. Your therapist will ask you questions about your condition. They will want you to be specific about symptoms, including pain. They will also want to do a physical exam to see the extent of damage done to your pelvic floor. Pelvic floor exams are never fun. However, you should find comfort in knowing that your therapist sees a lot of pelvic floors and knows how to make you feel as comfortable as possible.
Pelvic floor therapy appointments are usually twenty to thirty minutes long. You will go one to three times a week. Most therapists will get you exercises to do at home so that you get the most benefit for your pelvic floor as possible.
What is pelvic floor therapy?
Pelvic floor therapy for endometriosis is a lot different than normal pelvic floor therapy. It does focus on the bowl of muscles that hold up your bladder, uterus, anus, and bladder. You will learn how to stretch and contract them. You will learn how to control these muscles so that you can have better control of your pain.
There are breathing exercises that you will learn. These are designed to help you control your body and muscles so that you gain muscle tone and awareness. These will resemble yoga or even Pilates. In fact, there are some yoga and Pilates poses that will help you when you are on your own. The idea is to help you isolate and control these muscles. You may find relief from pain. Besides that, there are some other benefits to pelvic floor therapy that you should be aware of.
Benefits of Pelvic Floor Therapy
You will find huge relief in your bladder issues. You will see that you don’t have to go as often. You will be able to control the urge when you do have to go. That means no more accidents. Well, at least fewer accidents. You will be able to empty your bladder better. It can also help with pain or burning when you urinate if the pain and burning are related to your endometriosis.
You will also see a better tone in your colon and anus. This means if you suffer from constipation on a regular basis, you will be able to go more often. It will be less painful when you go. You could have less impaction and fewer hemorrhoids. If you have trouble with diarrhea or anal leakage, you will have fewer accidents. Once you can control your muscles, you can keep your anus closed better. You won’t have to rush off to the bathroom. Also, you will notice less cramping and pain when you do have to go urgently.
Are you having trouble enjoying sex? This is a big one for moms. Pelvic floor therapy has been known to bring pleasure back to the pelvic floor. Sex isn’t as painful. You can control the muscles to be more pleasurable. You may even feel like yourself again. You could possibly even see your sex drive become what it was before you had children.
Endometriosis can give you a bloated, heavy feeling. It can be uncomfortable. It can make your clothes fit funny. However, there is no reason why you have to live with that feeling. You can relieve it, or at the very least, you can lessen the amount of bloat that you have. You can be comfortable in your own skin. You can wear your favorite jeans or go swimming and not be self-concise.
Finally, you can have your period your way. If you are unable to wear a tampon, have a spasm in your vagina, or are just uncomfortable during your period, pelvic floor therapy can help. For a lot of women, that pressure, or full feeling, that you feel in your vagina seems like a normal part of life. It is not something that you should have to live with. Pelvic floor therapy can help you to put things back into place so that you feel normal again. It does work if you follow the guidelines laid out by your pelvic floor therapist.
There are so many ways that endometriosis can be helped with pelvic floor therapy. For some women, it isn’t all about the relief. It is more about taking control of your body and the way it feels. It is empowering to learn how to move so that you are getting relief. You don’t have to rely on a doctor. You don’t have to look at medications to control symptoms. The best part is that you may be able to avoid having to have surgery. If you do have to get surgery, you have the ability to take healing from surgery in your own hands so that you feel like you again. Pelvic Floor Therapy can help you to feel like the woman you were meant to be.