We’ve spent the last couple weeks sharing our stories about how endometriosis has affected us mentally and physically as well as talking about infertility but we would love to end the campaign on a more positive note and share some strategies to cope with this awful disease.
In the last eight years I have tried just about everything to find a way to cope with the effects of endo – surgeries, every kind of birth control you can imagine, changing my diet, herbs, even some off-label treatments in hopes that something would help. Some things worked ok where others did not. I had a lot of success with the birth control patch but obviously if you are hoping to get pregnant it takes it out of the pain relief equation. Most of my surgeries have provided at least some short term relief, even the one performed by the specialists in Atlanta. However, I won’t waste your time today telling you want hasn’t worked for me but instead offer an option that we’ve just recently tried: pelvic floor physical therapy.
It sounds scary, I know but if you can find the right physical therapist it may be worth a shot. My PT specializes in this type of physical therapy and is very knowledgeable about endometriosis as well as other pelvic issues. She explained that as the body is trying to protect itself, for example from endo, the muscles will lock down which will in turn cause more pain so the muscles lock down even further. Its a vicious cycle and one of the reasons women struggle with the unspoken side effect of endo.
On my way to my first PT appointment I was more than a little nervous as I had no idea what to expect. Because of the amount of doctors appointments I’ve been to and all of the fertility treatments we’d done, my modesty went out the window a while ago. Between being highly recommended by my doctor and knowing pelvic floor PT is all she did, I felt a little more at ease.
The initial evaluation was done in two visits. The external evaluation included checking out the lower back and hip muscles (which she found were very, very tight). The internal evaluation involved checking the pelvic floor muscles. A lot of women see a PT because the need to strengthen those muscles to have better bladder control but in my case, the PT would involved getting those muscles to relax.
Following treatments were focused on working to get these muscles relax and included stretches, deep muscle massage, and trigger point therapy. I will not lie. The first month of therapy was excruciating because everything was so tight. Many sessions I left in tears or sick to my stomach. But as time has gone on, I have gotten to the point where I can see the results. I’m still having some pelvic pain but its not quite the same as it was when I first started and I can tell a big difference in marital activities.
I wanted to share my experience with pelvic floor PT as a pain treatment option that didn’t include surgery or medications. I think its is a treatment option that is not regularly tied with endometriosis but as all of the lower back, lower abdominal, and hp muscles work extremely close together, it is a viable option that you may want to consider.
If you have any specific questions, please ask! I’m an open book!
Be sure to check out the other posts with coping tips!