Migraines, severe abdominal pains, fainting, vomiting and high levels of bloody discharge are just some of the many "lovely' symptoms woman get when they are dealing with Endometriosis (Endo). Leading up to a period, during a period and even when they are on contraceptives to stop the menstrual cycle are all times when symptoms can occur.
Now, given by the title of this blog its highly likely you yourself or someone you love has Endometriosis so ill leave it to the other Endometriosis blog to describe and educate readers on what Endo really is. This blog is intended to educate woman and their loved ones on how to get that extra bit of help from your GP with medications, specialists and any help in general.
I, myself have Endometriosis and found it very difficult to have an open and frank discussion about what i was dealing with and how to get the right help. So it's my hope that I can pass on some tips and tricks to get the most out of your GP visit.
Time of day for appointment
Raising Awareness Tool for Endometriosis (RATE)
Ideas of opening statements
Sometimes its easy to get tongue tied in an uncomfortable situation so here are a few opening statements to use when the Dr asks: " What can I do for you?"
“I have had painful periods for 10 years and I think I have endometriosis. I would like to discuss what treatment options I have.”
“I have had surgery for endometriosis before. I have been using this treatment for x months but I am still having difficult symptoms. I would like to be referred to a gynaecologist.”
“I have been trying to get pregnant for 8 months, I have (or suspect I have endometriosis due to xx symptoms) I want to discuss treatment options and referral for investigations.”
These conversation starters can lead to gaining help, medication, awareness and specialists on Endometriosis.
Types of treatments for Endometriosis
When it comes to treatment for period pain and Endo there is not one fits all product. It comes down to your age, stage of life (looking to have children, had children, menopause etc), and the cause of your pains.
Most GP's will try hormonal medications (either oestrogen and progesterone combined together, or progesterone alone) first in an attempt to bring your menstrual cycle to a more manageable rhythm or put it on pause. These are the first port of call because some patients, with the combination of paracetamol and hormonal medications, will find that it is enough to bring them a sense of balance in their life.
However, not everyone gets that glory. If hormonal medication and pain relief is not working for you then its back to the drawing board with a team approach.
Your GP is a central person to request tests and prescribe medicines, but also to provide emotional support and connect you with specialists, pain management team, pelvic physios and dieticians. It is really important your GP is a doctor you feel you can work with long term. If you are needing to find a new GP, I advise joining a Endometriosis support group online or in person. If you are in New Zealand there is a Facebook group that you can join called Endometriosis New Zealand where you can ask questions about symptoms, GPs, specialists and trying to conceive. Everyone is happy to help and give advice on what helped them. Ask if there is a GP in the practice with a special interest in endometriosis or at least in women’s health.
After being referred to a specialist by your GP, there is usually a long wait in the public system as the disease isn't widely recognized as a priority. If you have medical insurance, you can ask for a referral to a private specialist. Unfortunately if you don’t have medical insurance this can be a costly and ongoing expense.
In the meantime....
Given that I myself have Endo, I have created the Alkame Gentle Menstrual Cycle product to help naturally ease the cramps, bring on relaxation and bring clarity to your mind during a time of stress and pain. And also the Menopause Assist product because a lot of medication for Endometriosis brings on Pre Menopause symptoms in the body.
I wish you the best in your journey of healing in Endometriosis and if you have any questions or queries about Endo, feel free to use the contact form on the website and I will get back to you. From one Endo Warrior to another Kia Kaha Stay Strong!