Endometriosis: How to get the most out of your GP visit

Endometriosis: How to get the most out of your GP visit

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. 

Period Tracker

Before you even get to the GP its great to be able to track your symptoms (types, levels of pain, time of day) for at least 3 months to see a patterns. Not only will this help you become prepared in your daily life with little to no surprises when your going for a walk, hanging with friends, at work or just trying to relax. It also helps your GP understand your pains, when they are happening and to which degree of pain you feel. A great side note on all your data entries is to;
1- compare it to your bowel/digestive movements and assess if your bloating, constipated or dealing with diarrhea. 
2 - Any pain with certain activities such as sex, sitting for long periods of time or exercise.
As we all know our diet plays the leading roll in how our body's react to certain changes. For woman with Endo bloating is one of the top symptoms that cause us physical and mental pain. No woman wants to look 5 months pregnant and feel tired and stressed just because they ate some gluten, diary or high in sugar foods. When the bowel is agitated by our poor diet it presses against our reproductive organs and aggravates our endo symptoms. Changing to a diet high in fiber can help relieve our digestive system faster and lessen the risk of our bowel and bladder aggravating the reproductive organs. So noting down our snacks, meals and amount of fluids during the day will help the Dr understand what could be making your Endo worse. This will take time to find patterns in your eating habits. --- Also, this is about your health so be honest with yourself and put down exactly what you eat, when and how much. 

Time of day for appointment

If your like me and make a point of being early for appointments then you will also hate having to wait past your allotted time slot to see the Dr. To make the most of your time and the Dr's time the best time of day to make your appointment is near the start of morning and afternoon shift as they are fresher and tend to be running on time. Also making the appointment for days that are less busy is great and talking to the receptionist will help you get that sorted. 
If there are a few things to discuss in this appointment then booking our a double session is advisable so that the Dr can explore in greater detail your symptoms, answer your questions in detail and discuss treatment options.

Raising Awareness Tool for Endometriosis (RATE)

There is an excellent tool that has been designed by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' (RANZCOG). This tool is designed to assist GP’s to reach a faster diagnosis and achieve more effective management of symptoms of endometriosis. You can complete the tool online here, print it out and take it to your appointment.  

Support person

Sometimes it's nice to have someone with you who understands what your going through and has witnessed your symptoms of Endo. These people can be your parents, friends, teacher, mentor. Anyone that you trust to help you on your journey to healing. I had my mother come with me to my specialist appointments and it really helped me get across information I forgot about or didn't think was important to tell the Dr. As she was someone who was on the outside looking in she had her own perspective on how it was effecting me and any patterns I might not have noticed.

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! 


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