Reproductive Health Issues

Talking to Your Doctor About Endometriosis

January 11, 2018

Is your interval incredibly debilitating, especially in the days leading up to your cycle? Is intercourse painful for youpersonally? Do other women in your family–such as your mom, aunts, or sisters–also have similar symptoms? You may be experiencing endometriosis.

What’s Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic condition that results when the tissue which lines the uterus also grows outside of the uterus.

This tissue builds up and creates adhesions that could connect to the bladder, bowel, vagina, and other places inside the reproductive system.

These adhesions develop each menstrual cycle and, unlike the lining that is shed during a woman’s time, the tissue that builds up outside the uterus remains. This can cause severe pain for girls, together with other symptoms like irregular or heavy bleeding, cramping, stomach problems including constipation, and painful intercourse. The status can affect a woman’s quality of life, interfere with her relationships, and also affect fertility.

Despite the fact that roughly 1 in 10 are affected by endometriosis, Beth Battaglino, RN, CEO of Healthy Women, clarifies that the illness can be commonly overlooked by doctors. Doctors might not be well aware of the signs of endometriosis or they might not be taking the time to assess a woman’s pelvic health as well as the symptoms that can be related to variants of pelvic health disorders.

Endometriosis, in particular, can go overlooked for a very long time. “Many women go 6 to 10 years before the accurate diagnosis of endometriosis,” Battaglino notes. This is sometimes due to the fact that women are not talking about their symptoms to their physicians and that, often, physicians are not accurately assessing patients for the illness as part of the general debate on pelvic health.

In order to change that, it’s important to increase awareness about endometriosis–both among women and one of their doctors.

Endometriosis Is Not”Normal”

Battaglino clarifies that one of the factors which could prevent women from getting an accurate identification is that they can mistakenly believe that their symptoms are”normal.” Many girls may live with their symptoms for many years, not realizing what they’re experiencing is from the ordinary. Or, it’s typical for endometriosis to run in families, so girls might hear female family members speaking about their encounters with their span or pelvic pain and absorb the message that those indicators are normal.

However, any symptom or pain that is affecting your quality of life, or is happening so frequently that it produces a lady being forced to miss work, school, or the like, isn’t normal and needs to be dealt with. And in some cases, endometriosis is a quiet condition, making it even more important for doctors to be vigilant about doing a thorough evaluation and analysis of women’s pelvic health and how it affects their overall quality of life.

Starting the Conversation

A dialog about endometriosis is a dialogue that has to take place for a discussion of general pelvic health, says Battaglino.

For girls, their menstrual cycle is just another very important indication that affects virtually every other area of health. It has to be discussed more openly and freely in every physical check-up and examination.

Women should also be encouraged to speak freely about any pain they are experiencing in their pelvic area, particularly as it occurs with sexual relations. Your physician should be asking you questions about your cycle, such as how it affects your life, any symptoms, such as pain, which you may be experiencing, and what pain you’ve prior to, during, or following your cycle.

A female’s menstrual cycle is an important indictor of her general health and pelvic health.

If your physician isn’t addressing it, it’s important for you to bring it up yourself or find a doctor who’s willing to discuss it. “Girls shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about pelvic health and also have that conversation with their health care provider,” adds Battaglino.

Battaglino points women to Healthy Women for prompts that can help them get the conversation about pelvic health began with their physicians. These include:

  • I am experiencing cramps that I believe are more severe than usual.
  • This pain is affecting my quality of life. Could it be endometriosis?
  • Explaining what their pain is on a pain scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the worst pain possible ).
  • Sex with my partner is debilitating.

Tracking Your Symptoms

One of the most crucial things you can do when coming a dialogue with your doctor about an endometriosis diagnosis or while having an ongoing discussion about the affliction is to keep track of the signs and symptoms you’re experiencing.

Healthy Women is partnered with the campaign Get in the Know About Me In EndoMEtriosis that offers different tools that will help you recognize your symptoms and take charge of your personal health. You can rate your symptoms with a endometriosis checklist that walks you through all the possible signs and symptoms of the problem.

Symptoms may vary widely among women and, in some cases, women might have no symptoms at all. Thus, it’s particularly important to be methodical in your self-examination.

For example, some girls might have severe back pain in the days leading up to their span, some can experience pain only during their own periods, and others might have pain with urination. Other women might not have pain at all–so know your symptoms.

Also offered is a symptoms tracker that will assist you document any symptoms you might be experiencing in relation to your menstrual cycle. The symptoms tracker prompts you to keep an eye on when you have pain, at exactly what point it occurs during your period, and the way it impacts your quality of life. Understanding your symptoms can allow you to bring up the conversation with your doctor to help you both explore treatment options together.

A Second Opinion May Assist

If your physician or healthcare provider isn’t receptive to talking about your pelvic health and symptoms or researching the possibility of an endometriosis identification, you shouldn’t be afraid to seek a second opinion. Statistically, women’s pain, especially in relation to pelvic problems and menstrual cycle, has not been taken as seriously by physicians. However if pain is affecting your quality of life, it is serious.

What’s more, it’s important for girls to understand their own pain, be knowledgeable about how it impacts their own lives, and also to stay strong in advocating for a physician who will work with them to determine what is causing it, instead of dismissing it.

“This is your life and you need to become empowered,” Battaglino says. If you aren’t comfortable with your health care provider, she recommends that you seek an expert from a record of physicians who specialize in endometriosis to find a doctor who is educated and open to discussing the condition.

A Word From Verywell

Endometriosis is a condition that can be treated best with early intervention, and that’s why it’s best for doctors to assess to it early on in a woman’s life. Symptoms may appear anytime throughout a female’s reproductive and post-reproductive years, so it also has to be tracked. Lifestyle modifications, such as exercise or diet modifications, are often not effective in treating endometriosis, which is the reason why early intervention is key.

If you are experiencing symptoms, such as acute pain with your periods or intercourse, heavy or irregular bleeding, or stomach problems, it is particularly important to begin a conversation with your doctor about endometriosis. Symptoms can vary among girls, so some physicians might not be aware of the potential for endometriosis, therefore it is crucial that you are your own health advocate.

As you prepare to bring your pelvic health with your physician, learn how to track your symptoms, know your body, and be willing to seek a second opinion if your physician isn’t willing to discuss what it is you are having. “The earlier, the better,” says Battaglino.