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Painful Periods and Endometriosis

By Dr. Kristin Kennedy, PT

painful periods can be a symptom of Endometriosis

Period pain is a common issue for many women. However, when this pain becomes so unbearable that it starts to affect your daily life, this might mean that something more is going on. 

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue resembling the uterine lining grows outside the uterus, often resulting in inflammation, scarring and pain. Endometriosis symptoms can vary but may include severe pelvic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, painful intercourse, infertility, pain during bowel movements or urination, chronic fatigue, and digestive issues such as bloating and nausea, especially during menstrual periods. Unfortunately, we don't have a great non-invasive way of testing for endometriosis yet, and the current gold standard for diagnosis is through laparoscopic surgery. While surgery can be an effective option for many, it might not be immediately accessible or suitable for everyone due to long waitlists and individual circumstances.

How to relieve symptoms of Endometriosis and painful periods

Fortunately, there are alternative approaches to help manage the pain associated with endometriosis!

1. Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Pelvic PT has been shown to reduce pain in patients with endometriosis. Aside from period pain, many people with endometriosis also experience pain with sex, GI issues, bladder dysfunction and low back pain. Pelvic PT is a great way to address all of these symptoms! During treatment, we may focus on manual therapies such as myofascial release, nervous system retraining through diaphragmatic breathing, pelvic floor strengthening and stretching exercises and teaching you how to use pelvic therapy tools to manage your pain at home.

2. Hormonal Treatments

Hormonal therapies can also play a role in managing endometriosis pain. Medications such as birth control pills, GnRH agonists, and progestins help reduce estrogen levels, which can slow the growth of endometrial tissue and reduce inflammation. A clinical trial reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that hormonal treatments significantly decrease the recurrence of pain during and after treatment periods.

3. Diet and Lifestyle Modifications

Dietary and lifestyle changes can also make a huge impact on endo symptoms. Because inflammation plays a large role in this condition, following an anti-inflammatory diet can greatly improve pain. Some examples of anti-inflammatory foods are things like: 

  • Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, tuna, chia seeds and walnuts

  • Fiber-rich foods like fruits and veggies to remove excess estrogen from your body

  • Magnesium-rich foods to help reduce menstrual cramps like leafy greens, dark chocolate and almonds

Exercise and stress reduction

We also encourage our patients to include regular exercise in their routine because it helps to decrease estrogen concentration and improve pelvic blood flow. And finally, stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation and acupuncture can also have a huge impact on fighting inflammation and pain in your body. 

Reach out to us - we can help!

If you are experiencing debilitating period pain, we are here for you! It can be a frustrating process to obtain answers for your symptoms, and we understand that. At Wellest, we are experts at providing excellent care for patients experiencing pelvic pain and a host of other symptoms related to endometriosis, and we can’t wait to guide you on your path to healing. 


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