Back when my doctors thought I had IBS, I used to dread writing health updates. Something always felt “off” about my diagnosis, and writing these updates only drew attention to that fact. But now that I’ve been diagnosed with suspected endometriosis, I love writing these! Not to mention, I’ve learned so much in the past few weeks about my body that I can’t wait to share with you all.
One of the most insightful parts of my recovery from suspected endo has been pelvic floor physical therapy. If your initial reaction was “uh, what?” then you aren’t alone — that’s how I felt the first time I heard it, too! As someone who’s dealt with a sexual assault, the idea of being alone in a room with a pelvic floor physical therapist (even a woman) felt daunting. But as it turns out, pelvic floor physical therapy can be a powerful tool to help you feel better with endo.
Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) is a common contributor to endometriosis pain. Often, the pain function as a cycle: endo pain causes PFD and PFD creates more pain. As a result, interrupting this cycle with pelvic floor physical therapy exercises can make a big difference in the way you feel and how well you are able to function despite endometriosis pain.
Granted, I’m aware that not everyone has access to a pelvic floor physical therapist — especially right now. These types of physical therapists are incredibly specialized and may not be available in all areas of the world. Not to mention, I haven’t seen mine in weeks due to COVID-19!
That’s one of the reasons why I’m sharing with you my home PT routine for lengthening and relaxing the pelvic floor. Here are my must-haves for pelvic floor physical therapy at home — and what I do to take care of my pelvic floor at home.
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Essentials
Heal Pelvic Pain, the seminal work by Amy Stein DPT, is the classic book for dealing with pelvic pain. This book is your how-to guide for taking care of your pelvic floor at home. It comes with exercises you can perform, with guidance on how long and how often to perform them, as well as practical advice for helping your pelvic floor feel better.
Soul Source Silicone Dilators are my go-to tool for internal self-massage. (You can check out a handy guide to performing trigger point release on the pelvic floor at home by clicking here — I recommend ONLY trying the intra-vaginal exercises!) These dilators aren’t made of hard plastic like most, so they feel more comfortable for trigger point release. Plus, you can purchase a variety of diameters, so you can choose whichever feels best for your unique body.
Sustain Natural Latex Condoms aren’t necessary, but I prefer to use condoms with my dilator because it feels cleaner. We have dog hair all over our house — I don’t know about you, but that’s NOT something I want to find inside myself, thank you very much! I also use plenty of Good Clean Love Bio Nude Lubricant, which was specially formulated for ultra-sensitive skin like mine. If you have vulvodynia like I do, I highly recommend this natural product!
At-home videos can be helpful for following along with pelvic floor physical therapy exercises, especially if you aren’t sure where to start. I recommend this Pilates for Endometriosis and Fibroids video by Jessica Valent Pilates, or Yoga With Adriene’s Yoga for the Pelvic Floor video.