Tag Archives: dyspareunia

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is unfortunately a common health problem in women, 1 in 10 women are dealing with this diagnosis today. It gets its name from the word endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the uterus or womb. Endometriosis happens when this tissue grows outside of your uterus into other areas of your body where it doesn’t belong. It can most often be found in the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, and in the abdominal area surrounding the uterus. The vagina, cervix, vulva, bowel, bladder, or rectum can also be affected.

Symptoms felt with Endometriosis?

There are several types of symptoms that can occur with Endometriosis and women can present differently with what they may feel. Common symptoms reported are pain – severe menstrual cramps that may progressively get worse with age, or chronic pain in lower back and pelvis area. Pain with intercourse (dyspareunia), can be described as deep or superficial pain with penetration. Intestinal pain, and pain with bowel movements or urination or blood in stool or urine are also reported.

In addition, patients often present with bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods. Other common complaints include difficulties with conceiving/infertility, digestive issues – IBS, constipation, bloating, and/or nausea.

Diagnosis of Endometriosis?

There are several ways a physician may diagnosis Endometriosis.

  • Pelvic exam – During a pelvic exam, your doctor will feel for large cysts or scars behind your uterus. Smaller areas of endometriosis are harder to feel.
  • Ultrasound –  to check for ovarian cysts from endometriosis. Both vaginal or abdominal ultrasound can be helpful in diagnosis.
  • MRI – another common imaging test to help assess.
  • Laparoscopy – a surgical procedure doctors can use to look inside your pelvic area to see endometriosis tissue. Surgery is the only way to be sure you have endometriosis.

Treatment of Endometriosis?

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy specialists can help to manage and decrease symptoms of endometriosis such as painful menstrual cramping, abdominal discomfort, pelvic floor pain, and painful intercourse by treating connective tissue dysfunction, treating myofascial trigger points, visceral mobilization  (helping restore the proper mobility of the internal organs, such as the uterus, bladder, colon and small intestine), correcting postural and movement dysfunction, and providing patients with the information and advice they need to take charge of their bodies.

Integrative medical options such as Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Massage, Nutritional therapy, Yoga, Meditation, etc. can be extremely helpful as part of your rehabilitation plan.

Medicine – Your doctor may prescribe things like hormonal birth control, Intrauterine device (IUD), and pain medication to help reduce pain and bleeding.

Surgery is usually chosen in cases in which other interventions were not successful overall. During the surgical procedure, the surgeon attempts to locate any areas of endometriosis and remove them. After surgery, hormone treatment is often continued. Pelvic Physical therapy is important in the recovery to help improve abdominal mobility and minimize any adhesions from surgery and surgical scars.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with this, please don’t hesitate to contact our office for help.

Helpful references to learn more:

http://endometriosis.org/

www.womenshealth.gov

www.endofound.org

www.acog.org

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Meditation For Healing

Meditation has many health benefits and can really help you heal from injury, illness or chronic conditions. It doesn’t have to be complicated to get started either. Here is a meditation 101 primer for you, to help you unfreeze, focus, re boot, re-frame and calm your mind.  Use this acronym and the tips below to help start your practice and read on for links to resources.harmony-image

SIMMPLE: this may help you remember elements of a meditation practice: Steps to consider:

Select a place. Sit tall. Sitting tall will help you stay alert. Folded blankets or stacked pillows or a “meditation cushion” can help with support. If you have back pain while sitting, you may lie supine, on your back. If you are lying down, turn your palms up and move your arms out to the side slightly, as in the “corpse pose” at the end of yoga classes, Shavasana. The arm posture will help you to not fall asleep.

Intent: Calming, relaxation, peace, and joy. Interest the mind in calming, relaxation, peace, and joy. Intent: Non -judgmental, beginners mind, noticing thoughts and calmly, gently re-direct to present time. Intent: positive feeling, appreciation.

Mental: scanning, body, skin, pressures supported by the chair and floor, and note sounds, sensations, aromas, mood, moment. Melt away from it all.

Mantra; Your phrase. Choose your mantra for calming your mind, and focus. See the guide at the end of this post.

Pace: your breath, with an easy pulse of airflow in, and a pulse of air flow out. Pure oxygen, Pace 1, 2, and 3 inhale, pace pause, pace 1, 2, 3 exhale, pace pause. Peaceful recharge. Pace the breath as a wheel turns, flowing, circular. Gradually lengthen the inhale, the pause, and the exhale, as you are comfortable.

Let: Let go of your thoughts, your busy rabbit brain, let your mind wander and come back, let your thoughts be without judgment. Leave the concerns of the past, leave concerns of the future, and let yourself be. Let go of the need to move or “do” let go, to be present. Let all be. Continue the mantra, and the breath cycling, flowing.

Enjoy: positive feelings, a positive thought, enjoy gratitude. Enjoy a sense of gratitude for the positive things in your life. Enjoy being, and your mantra, and your breath. Enlist all thoughts of gratitude and appreciation.

The practice of meditation can allow you to slow down and focus on moments during the day, with appreciation. This is when meditation overflows to mindfulness. Mindfulness entails a slowing down sense,  appreciation and being in the moment throughout the day,

The mantra:  A great text is Strength in the Storm, by Easwaren, founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in Berkeley Ca. Easwaren provides examples of how individuals of various faiths can use a mantra specific to their faith for meditation. He advises half an hour in the morning, and evening if possible for meditation and spiritual reading. Even 5 minutes AM/PM can be a good start. You may use his guide for selecting a mantra or simply make one of your own that’s meaningful to you.

There are many free online-guided meditations that can be useful to guide your practice. Here are some links:

Meditation guides

About Meditation: This is a nice site with free offerings of guided 10 -minute sessions, great for mini breaks, and more extensive options for those who want to study as a free course.

UCSD Mindfulness UCSD hosts mindfulness based stress reduction training classes, and they offer free online guides, such as a body scan, and loving-kindness. Choose a voice you like, and start with a short one to develop the ability to “be” vs. “do”.

Meditation music

Last FM, Free music downloads

Ipnos Apps:  Relax Melodies, apps available for i-phone and Android. I use the combo ocean wave sound, and flute, during yoga, and some meditation session.

Medical effects and benefits of meditation are abundant and there have been many articles in medical literature to describe them. Here are just a few of the benefits: Improved status of those with PTSD, reduced worry and reactivity, improved sleep, improved cortisol levels, reduced signs of cellular-DNA aging with longer telomeres,reduced BP, weight loss, and other benefits as noted in these links:

Health benefits of meditation from ADHD and anxiety to cancer and menopause

Can meditation slow rate of cellular aging? Cognitive stress, mindfulness, and telomeres.

Meditation benefits for Youth

Meditation is becoming more of a mainstream practice for all of its benefits and ease of performance with simple training. Enjoy creating your own practice, and reap all the benefits that come with regular time for re framing and re booting your body and mind.

About the author:   Maureen is a Board Certified Women’s Health Specialist, Credentialed Clinical Instructor, and Professional Yoga Therapist utilizing Medical Therapeutic Yoga. She is an advocate for resiliency training in human performance, and she utilizes principles of meditation/relaxation and yoga postures as part of her Physical Therapy intervention. You may schedule with her at Function Smart to create your own unique mind -body program for wellness.

What is Pelvic Physical Therapy?

What is pelvic physical therapy?

Pelvic physical therapy is a specialization within physical therapy that addresses musculoskeletal dysfunction of the muscles of the pelvic floor as well as the muscles stabilizing the hips and core. Dysfunction in these muscles can lead to urinary or fecal incontinence, constipation, pelvic pain (including pain with sexual activity), difficulty reaching orgasm and even erectile dysfunction.

Who can benefit from pelvic physical therapy?

Men, women and children can all benefit from pelvic physical therapy. Some common diagnoses include:

  • Children with constipation, bed wetting, soiling of urine/feces during the day.
  • Women with pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, prolapse and post-partum.
  • Men with pelvic pain (including testicular and penile pain), erectile dysfunction, and urinary incontinence post-prostatectomy.

Who can practice as a pelvic physical therapist?

A physical therapist who completes post-graduate advanced education on the evaluation and treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction. These physical therapists often have additional post-graduate education on other systems including orthopedic, gastrointestinal, pediatric, reproduction/sexual health and are experts in treating musculoskeletal conditions of the pelvis.