Endometriosis can be characterized by painful periods, severe cramping, low back or pelvic pain, painful bowel movements, and dyspareunia (painful sex). Dysmenorrhea is characterized by severe menstrual pain.
During each normal period, the lining of the uterus sheds. With endometriosis, a tissue that is very similar to the uterine lining starts to grow outside of the uterus and throughout the pelvis or even through the abdominal cavity. More specifically, it can grow throughout the ovaries, uterus, and vagina which can then cause scarring, restricting mobility of the organs. In turn, pelvic floor muscles spasm causing an more pain. Some patients may experience pain and/or tightness throughout the front of their hips, their pelvis, and low back.
Your physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation to assess your symptoms. Being the evaluation will be internal and external, you and your therapist will work together to ensure your comfort throughout the entire process. If your therapist feels you may need further examination or testing, she will refer you to an MD.
Treatment for endometriosis or dysmenorrhea will consist of releasing the muscle spasms throughout the pelvic floor musculature through various exercises and gentle manual techniques. Your therapist and you will also discuss home exercises and strategies to reduce your pain and discomfort.