March is Endometriosis Month!
Endometriosis can be a debilitating condition that may significantly disrupt a woman’s quality of life. I think it is only fair that we try and spread more awareness about this condition. So what exactly is Endometriosis? The tissue found within the uterus is known as the endometrium. This tissue normally grows and remains within the uterus. With endometriosis, this tissue (or tissue very similar to endometrial tissue) begins to grow in other areas outside the uterus such as the ovaries, bowel, bladder and other parts of the pelvis and body.
This can cause severe restrictions and adhesions in the surrounding tissues and organs. As a result, pelvic pain, back pain, painful intercourse, infertility, bowel and bladder dysfunction and extremely painful menstrual cycles can develop and persist. The pain experienced with endometriosis is often at its worst during menstruation. Since the endometrial tissues bleed within the uterus, so may the tissues found external to the uterus.
There are several avenues for treating endometriosis. Some of the treatments listed within the Society of Obstetrician and Gynacologists of Canada (SOGC) Guidelines include:
1) Managing pain with lifestyle changes and pain medication
2) Hormone based treatment including the use of oral contraceptives or progestin based therapy
3) If these do not work, an IUS (intrauterine system)/Mirena may be an option. Other hormone-based drugs such as Danazol and GnRH Agonists (gonadotropin releasing hormone agonist) may be used to stop menstruation to help minimize pain.
4) Laprascopic surgery for diagnosis and treatment of the endometrial tissue
5) Chronic pain management, often including a combination of alternative medicines or multi-disciplinary support
At Proactive Pelvic Health Centre, we are able to provide women suffering from endometriosis with multi-disciplinary pelvic care. Whether it be Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy, Registered Massage Therapy, Sex Therapy/Psychotherapy, Nutrition Counseling or Homeopathy, we are here to help and support women with their pain.
For further information and other helpful resources in Toronto, please visit the Endometriosis Network at www.endometriosisnetwork.ca