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  • Writer's pictureAlyssa Hariprashad

Endometriosis

Take Home Messages and Nuggets

1. Definition of endometriosis

2. Q & A with a lovely lady who has endometriosis

3. What you can do if diagnosed


DISCLAIMER:

The questions asked in the following post were all asked by me and these answers are real. The lovely participant who answered these questions will remain anonymous to respect their privacy. It is important to note that even though she had certain experiences with medical providers - this DOES NOT mean all medical providers think this way.

 

Definition:

Endometriosis is an often painful disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows OUTSIDE your uterus. 

Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis. Treatment typically includes physical therapy and for severe cases there can be surgical intervention to remove the excess tissue outside of the uterus. I have found a common trend with my patients where they say “I wish I knew more sooner.” That’s kind of the common trend of my page, huh? Here is an interview of a lovely young woman who was nice enough to tell me about her experiences with endometriosis.


1. When did you first get diagnosed with endometriosis (endo)?


"I began having pain around 2012. Not knowing what it was until 2019, when a doctor mentioned I may have endo. I had surgery February 2020, when it was confirmed I had endo."

2. Did you feel as If there were enough resources out there for you to understand your diagnosis?


"1000% no! It took me years to fully find the support I needed. I saw about 12 doctors until I finally felt I was in the right hands. It took a collaboration of different medical professionals and referrals until I found the right people."

3. What are common symptoms you have?


"Depending on the day, I usually have bloating and aching consistently in my pelvic region. On bad days I have pain that starts in my thoracic spine that radiates down to my hips. On those days I have visible swelling in my lower abdomen."


4. What’s a typical day like for you?

"I am an Athletic Trainer. I work with in the college athletics setting, which consists of a lot of travel, being on my feet and long hours. A normal day of work consists of treating athletes in the rehabilitation setting from 10-6 Monday-Friday. I try to workout every day after work, for I feel it helps a lot with my pain. I go home make dinner and then do my self-care routine before bed."

5. Does diet play a role in the amount of pain you have?


"I am currently following the anti-inflammatory diet. If I let my diet slip, eating gluten or excess dairy i.e. pizza. I pay for it for days at a time. Increased pain radiates from my pelvis up to my diaphragm down to my hips. I know when I am traveling any where that I will not have access to the food I need, I pack my own. It is crazy how much of an impact diet has on endo and the inflammatory process. Working with a dietitian who understands what I am going through has made a huge difference. I highly recommend talking to an RD."

6. What do you do to decrease your pain? Do you find that specific things cause it?

"To decrease my pain, I do a combination of things. Manual therapy helps me the most, therefore I work regularly with my PT. They do soft tissue work around my lower abdomen, hips, low back and adductors, which gives me a lot of relief. When I am on my own, I start with an epsom salt bath. As uncomfortable as it is, I then do internal manual therapy. I use my foam roller every day. As well as using acupuncture cups and my electrical stimulation unit.

Advil usually does the job for my pain, so I take that consistently when I have a flare. I also drink a CBD ginger turmeric tea, which I feel calms me down. It is all about finding the right balance. Food and caffeine trigger a lot of my symptoms so it is a challenge to get it right. Its hard to live so diligently 24/7, so sometimes I do treat myself knowing there will be consequences. Stress also triggers my symptoms from time to time. So finding time to unwind always helps."


7. If someone newly diagnosed were to ask you for advice, what would be the first thing you suggest to them?


Go with your gut. If you know something is wrong, do not let doctors tell you otherwise. Continue to search for the doctor that wants to help you. Do your own research, look up things to help yourself. It is a mentally and physically draining disease. Being passed around between doctors is exhausting and expensive. Surround yourself with positive people you can lean on and make sure to put self-care as a priority. Even though it seems like a long road, you will find the medical team who wants to get you better."

 

Based on this young woman’s answers, it’s clear that there aren’t enough resources out there regarding endometriosis, however there is still some unknown regarding the cause of this diagnosis as well. As a physical therapist, I would have treated her similarly to what her physical therapist did. I tend to include manual therapy, stretches, calming exercises and lifestyle changes in combination with diet changes when working with my own patients. I hope there is a better understanding of this diagnosis now that these words came from someone who undergoes this pain on a daily basis.


Signing off until next time. With love always,





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