If you have painful periods or a child who suffers from painful periods, it could be a sign of endometriosis.

Many people have heard about endometriosis but don’t necessarily know what it is. So let’s start there. It’s a disease where tissue (similar to the lining of the uterus) grows outside the uterus.

It can be excruciating.

In the Past, You Might Have Gone Unheard by the Medical System

In the past, doctors did not always take women seriously when they voiced concern over their period pain. (And really, not just period pain, but any kind of pain.)

Planned Parenthood says this long history of overlooking women’s pain is especially prevalent in women of color. They also say it happens partly because of a belief that severe period pain should be expected and tolerated.

Even today, some medical professionals may unintentionally dismiss women who express concern over their period pain. We’re here to tell you, that it’s not in your head. And you’re not alone.

If this is something you’ve been told in the past, please reach out to us. We can talk through your symptoms, determine if it’s endometriosis or something else, and take action to help you feel better.

What Everyone Who Has a Period Needs to Know

Symptoms of Endometriosis

Endometriosis is estimated to affect roughly 10% of all people of reproductive age worldwide.

Teenage girls who suffer from it will often miss school because the pain is so debilitating. In addition, women who have it may experience painful sexual intercourse.

Symptoms include:

It can occur in anyone who has a uterus. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to reach out to a medical professional for a proper diagnosis.

Treatment for Endometriosis

The only way to know if someone with a uterus has endometriosis is through surgery or an MRI.

If a doctor suspects endometriosis, they often start by giving the patient a pelvic exam and maybe even an ultrasound. From there, if they still suspect endometriosis, they will recommend exploratory surgery to identify where the endometrial tissue is and try to remove it.

Therapeutic treatments such as contraceptive steroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, and painkillers can help manage pain and inflammation, but it’s important to seek medical evaluation if you’re concerned you may have endometriosis because it’s a complex thing to treat.

At Care On Location, we can offer birth control to treat endometriosis. For some people, it helps with their pain. Then, there’s also Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy that we can connect you with. Not only does it help with endometriosis, but cervical cancer treatment as well.

Living with Endometriosis

There is no way to prevent endometriosis from happening. Still, an early diagnosis can go a long way to slow the disease down and reduce the symptoms in the long term.

It can also cause those suffering from it to experience anxiety and depression, especially when they’re being told nothing can be done.

It’s also important to note that there is some misinformation about infertility and endometriosis. Yes, some people who suffer from endometriosis experience this, but not all. Those who can still conceive may need medical intervention to get pregnant.

The important takeaway is that if you’re suffering from endometriosis, your pain can be managed, and there is help. You don’t have to suffer through it. We’re here for you!

Care on!

We get to observe many special days in January, but don’t forget that the whole month recognizes one important cause: cervical cancer awareness.

Every January, we spread awareness in the US for this preventable disease (with vaccination and screenings!) to reduce the number of people with cervixes who are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer each year. To help you learn more about this disease, we’re sharing the information you need to know about detection, prevention, and treatment. Plus, we’re digging deeper with Care on Location physical therapist Krystyna Holland, PT, DPT into how cervical cancer and treatment can affect your body — specifically, your pelvic floor.

An Overview of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer occurs when there’s any genetic change in the DNA of healthy cervical cells. These cells grow and multiply at an abnormally rapid rate, then eventually form cancerous tumors. Most commonly, though, the viral infection of human papillomavirus (HPV) causes this type of cancer.

While it’s a very common cancer in people with cervixes, cervical cancer is quite preventable and treatable, especially with early detection. Because this cancer doesn’t show signs or symptoms early on, catching it early is crucial. As the disease progresses, it can cause irregular vaginal bleeding or discharge.

That’s why Pap smears and HPV tests are so important — they help prevent or find cervical cancers. Pap smears look for cell changes on the cervix that might become cancerous, while the HPV test looks for the virus that can cause these cell changes.

Here are some expert recommendations to follow to improve your chances of early detection:

If your healthcare provider finds any abnormalities during your screening exams, they’ll determine whether you need a follow-up screening or if you require additional testing.

How Cervical Cancer Impacts Your Pelvic Floor

Our pelvic floor is a group of muscles that start from the pubic bone to the tailbone (AKA the coccyx) — so, essentially, they cover us from front to back. The proper functioning of these muscles is incredibly important, because they support our bladders, bowels, urethras, and anuses. And for people with vaginas, pelvic floor muscles also support the uterus.

Does that mean it helps us control those organs? Absolutely! Your ability to control or delay the release of pee, poop, or gas is all thanks to the pelvic floor. Besides this, these muscles also support your sexual function.

Because they’re so critical to vital elements of your health, it’s crucial to seek help when pelvic floor muscles are weakened and create issues with bladder or bowel control, or even cause pain during sex — all of which are possible results of cervical cancer and/or treatment of the pelvic floor.

According to Holland, “If there’s any type of surgery anywhere in the abdomen or pelvis, there’s very likely going to be some change in the way the pelvic floor muscles and the deep core muscles work.”

With the impact of cervical cancer and radiation, these changes may include:

Keep in mind these symptoms can also occur in people who haven’t had cervical cancer but have had preventative procedures, such as a colposcopy (examines your cervix, vagina, and vulva for signs of disease) or a loop electrosurgical excision, which is a removal of precancerous cells and tissue from your cervix. 

“Sometimes, that exam in and of itself can be quite uncomfortable,” explains Holland, “and people can have [a] reflexive guarding response to that type of localized injury to the tissue.” This refers to the possibility that you walk away with symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction as a result of your pelvic floor’s attempt to protect you from the discomfort associated with these procedures.

On the bright side, you don’t have to deal with it alone.

Pelvic Floor Therapy at Care on Location

Unfortunately, something we know for sure about cancer and cancer treatment is how much pain and discomfort anyone impacted can experience. Whether you need support to use and manage dilators after radiation treatment, help soothing pelvic or vaginal discomfort after surgery or treatment, or guidance to navigate the changes in your pelvic floor, we’re here for you!

Our team at Care on Location is here to assist you however we can via our telemedicine system. Here’s what you can expect pelvic floor therapy to look like with our care team, including Holland.

We welcome every question and concern

Each telehealth visit begins with you sharing your primary concerns. Based on her experience, Holland says this typically includes:

Because your safety is our priority, members of our care team always get your consent to ask additional questions to learn more about what you’re experiencing. Based on the information you provide, you and our medical providers, including Holland, discuss how pelvic floor muscles might contribute to your symptoms. 

If your issues don’t seem pelvis-related, however, Holland helps refer you to the right specialist, who is usually a gynecologist. But your session doesn’t end there. Detection is key to treatment, so Holland also talks about how you can perform self-checks on your body to detect any abnormalities, like redness or inflammation in your tissue. 

She even shares self-massage techniques, pelvic floor exercises that target your problem areas, and tips on how to check if your pelvic floor muscles are moving as they should.

We leave no one behind

Got a cervix? Then, everything related to cervical health is for you, and it’s important to us that you feel seen. 

Besides having clinical expertise in gender-affirming care, much of Holland’s experience includes working with transgender women, especially after vaginoplasty, as well as nonbinary people who were assigned female at birth and might be on low-dose testosterone while navigating pelvic pain, painful intercourse, or urinary symptoms.

Although medical advice related to cervical cancer is largely specific to women and cisgender women, we believe that anyone who has a cervix should participate in screenings and get the care they need and deserve in a way that feels affirming to them and their identity. Many transgender men and nonbinary individuals report barriers to cervical cancer screenings despite being at high risk, which results in them going without the support they need to catch and fight life-threatening diseases.

Your body and identity are welcome and safe here!

Fact: Your expertise is as valuable as ours

The foundation of Holland’s practice is trauma-informed care, which to her means “a purposeful and intentional ongoing process of making sure we mitigate the chance of doing harm to someone else.”

Pelvic care can be triggering, sensitive, or uncomfortable for some people, so she leads with compassion, validation, and medical expertise to meet everyone where they are. Plus, Holland makes sure you feel like no question is dumb or unreasonable. 

“Something I regularly tell clients or patients is that I know a lot about the pelvic floor muscles, bones, and nerves, but I don’t know anything about what you’re experiencing. You are the expert of your own body.” 

At Care on Location, we take your expertise and match it with ours, then work together to create a plan that’ll work specifically for you.

Benefits of Telehealth for Pelvic Floor Therapy

This one is simple: “Telehealth totally removes the potential that anyone is going to touch you in any way that could not feel good to your system,” says Holland.

Our mission at Care on Location is to provide a judge-free zone that’s also respectful of your background and boundaries. We champion telehealth because it allows you to go at your own pace — then when you’re ready, we’ll take the next step together.

Care on!

Urinary tract infections are incredibly common. In fact, over 20% of all women will experience the effects of a UTI at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, the symptoms of a UTI range in severity from mildly annoying to incredibly serious. The upside? Once signs and symptoms start to pop out, diagnosis (and treatment) is relatively easy.

Before you go running to Google for a self-diagnosis, Colorado Medicaid patients should consider getting an official diagnosis through Care on Location’s telehealth services. Through a simple video visit or phone call, our medical specialists can help you figure out whether an in-person trip to the doctor’s office is even necessary.

Advocating for Your Personal Health

Our healthcare system is built on patient-centered care — treatment options that put you, the patient, in the driver’s seat. For residents of Pueblo, Sterling, and the surrounding San Luis County, Colorado, telehealth serves as an incredible tool to help you advocate for yourself. While many mild UTIs are easy to diagnose by yourself, Colorado Medicaid patients can use our video visits and phone call options to get a more accurate diagnosis without significantly disrupting their daily routine. 

If you suspect that you have a urinary tract infection, here are some signs and symptoms to look out for:

The bottom line? There’s a wide range of urinary tract symptoms to be on the lookout for. After all, your urinary tract is a huge system which includes multiple organs including the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra. While the bladder and the kidneys are the most common infection sites, bacteria can invade anywhere along your urinary tract. For women, urinary tract health is especially important due to the proximity of the urethra to both their reproductive organs and their rectum.

If you’re looking to prevent a UTI in the first place, there are a number of frontline measures you can take to protect yourself. Good hygiene — especially after sexual activity — can help reduce bacteria buildup. A good, well-rounded diet that includes citrus and other fruits can help kill nasty organisms within the body. If you suffer frequent UTIs, there are many over-the-counter testing products available. And while a UTI may be mild at first, if left untreated, it can seriously damage your body. The best course of action is to seek the advice of a professional before our symptoms get out of hand. Through Care on Location’s telehealth services, Colorado Medicaid patients have an easy alternative to an in-person doctor’s visit. 

Care on Location features a full staff of urgent care specialists. Through a simple video visit, they can help you determine how severe your individual case is, recommend home therapies, or refer you to a higher level of in-person care if necessary. No matter who you are, telehealth solutions are an ideal alternative to a traditional office visit. At Care on Location, we treat San Luis residents from all walks of life. We believe that everyone, no matter their occupation or social status, deserves access to high-quality care, especially when it comes to something so easily treatable as a urinary tract infection. 

Urgent Care for Urinary Tract Infections Through Telehealth

Care on Location’s telehealth services are perfectly suited for the uncertain times that we’re living in. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and our overtaxed healthcare system, the thought of waiting in an ER or urgent care facility just to diagnose a simple UTI can be both frustrating and anxiety-inducing. Our video visit options can help put those fears to bed. Through our telehealth services, you can get an accurate diagnosis — and effective plan of care — on your own schedule. To book a quick and convenient appointment, visit Care on Location today. 

Care on!

Krystyna Holland

Dr. Krystyna Holland is a Physical Therapist who helps people get back to doing the things they love with the people they love to do them with. She has additional training and clinical expertise in pregnancy and postpartum care, gender-affirming care, and persistent pain treatments. She graduated with her DPT from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA, and lives in Denver with her husband and her pup, Tori.

Please make sure the provider matches your location, care needed, and insurance prior to booking an appointment.
States Licensed:Colorado
Care Provided:Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy
Insurance AcceptedCash/Credit, FSA, HSA, Medicaid(CO)

Schedule a visit with Krystyna Holland, PT, DPT (she/her)

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