By Fiona McMahon (she, her)
March Is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Treating endometriosis and improving the lives of people with endometriosis has long been a passion of Dr. Amy Stein, founder of Beyond Basics Physical Therapy, so much so, that she teamed up with Dr. Iris Orbuch and wrote a book about it! This month we are reviewing some of the major talking points in their book, Beating Endo For more on endometriosis, check out our past blogs as well as Beating Endo.
For most who have heard of endometriosis, the defining symptom is extreme and painful menstrual cycles. Bladder dysfunction and pain is not necessarily top of mind, but for many with endometriosis it can be a very disruptive facet of this disease.
Common bladder complaints in people with endo include:
- Increased urinary frequency
- Sensation of incomplete bladder emptying
- Burning urination
- Pain within the bladder
- Having to push urine out
For those of you experiencing painful bladder symptoms, there is a lot you can do to start managing symptoms. I write a lot about it in the following blogs; Pelvic Floor MythBusters! Don’t eat lemon to avoid bladder pain, true or false? and How to Improve Bladder Health. Changing your diet is a logical first step. There are some foods that in some people can cause an increase in bladder symptoms. In Amy and Iris’ book , Beating Endo they list the most common bladder irritants in endo patients as:
- Sodas, both diet and regular
- Citrus fruits
- Coffee- including deca
- Green Tea
- Spicy food
- B complex vitamins
- Cranberry Juice
- Electrolyte waters
Amy and Iris recommend not consuming any of these irritants for 8 weeks and then slowly reintroducing these foods back into your diet. What I have written here represents a basic summary of what is discussed in Beating Endo. If researching bladder irritants intrigues you, I would highly recommend checking out the book.
These symptoms can also be caused by pelvic floor dysfunction. Tight pelvic floor muscles can irritate the bladder and the urethra, which is then processed by the brain as needing to go to the bathroom, resulting in disruptive frequency, pain, retention and hesitancy. Pelvic physical therapy can be exceedingly helpful at mitigating these symptoms and improving your comfort. If diet changes are simply not enough, I would highly recommend seeing your local pelvic floor therapist.
Check out our previous blogs on endo, if you missed them