Get Educated About Endometriosis
Diagnosing and Caring for Patients
For decades, endometriosis has been a diagnosis of exclusion, resulting in delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis of countless patients. The true symptomatic profile of endometriosis isn’t well-taught or well-known within the medical field.
What are endometriosis symptoms?
The symptoms of endometriosis can be experienced during your period, before your period, after your period and/or anytime during the month. The symptoms can be related to the areas where endometriosis invades. Even one symptom can be suggestive of endometriosis. Some women have no symptoms yet only suffer from infertility. In 40-50% of cases of ‘unexplained infertility,’ endometriosis is thought to be the underlying cause.
The most common symptoms are:
Severe period pain
Diarrhea or constipation
Heavy bleeding with your period
Frequent or burning urination
Pain with exercise
Lower back or leg pain
Pain with sex
What’s the cause of endometriosis?
The true nature of endometriosis has eluded the medical community for centuries. The cause of the disease remains uncertain; said simply, many different factors (genetic, developmental and environmental) have been implicated in the course and nature of this condition.
How to treat endometriosis?
Endometriosis varies widely in appearance, location, and severity. The effects of the disease on the body differ between individuals and within the same individual throughout life. The effects of endometriosis can be both local (pelvic pain) and systemic (affecting multiple organs and extrapelvic systems throughout the body). Endometriosis is frequently accompanied by other gynecological, immunological, and endocrine disorders. As a result, meticulously removing the disease, while an essential step in the journey to recovery, is just one component in a proactive integrative approach to improving overall health.
The current gold-standard treatment is excision surgery. In excision surgery, a surgeon excises or cuts out the endometriosis lesion and sends specimens from the surgery to pathology for confirmation. This is markedly different than ablation surgery, where the surgeon merely burns the surface of the lesion. Be aware that while the vast majority of OBGYNs practice ablation surgery, only a handful have been trained using the excision method.
Ablation surgery often relegates a woman to repeat surgeries and continued pain, as all disease is not removed. Medications such as painkillers, GnRH agonists/antagonists (i.e. Lupron and Orilissa), oral contraceptives or other hormonal suppressives only mask symptoms and do not treat the disease.
Patients are also sometimes misled to believe that the only long-term solution is a hysterectomy. This is not true. This ongoing misconception is responsible for over 100,000 needless hysterectomies each year in the United States. Similarly, “pregnancy” and/or “menopause” are often touted as cures, but such claims are equally untrue.
Quality excision surgery combined with other multidisciplinary treatments such as diet and nutrition, acupuncture, pelvic physical therapy, and other adjunct treatments can all be helpful at effectively managing symptoms long-term.
Learn from Patients
One of the best ways to learn about the reality of endometriosis and how the current standards of care are failing patients are to join the Facebook Communities below.