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Insights into Endometriosis

Recently I posted a story about endometriosis being aired on SBS television. I am sure many people watched it and it is great to see that sufferers are finally being recognised. It is important that sufferers are finally being recognised and that there is more education about this disease.

But, is education and awareness enough?

Well, ‘yes’ and ‘no’. I always say this when I am asked this question. Yes, it is great to get education and awareness out there, but what are we doing to support those who are struggling daily?

Any education and awareness about this horrible disease is great. It is a huge win for sufferers when we do see programs go to air and aren’t scared to ask people their experiences of living with a disease state.

I do think those that were involved and those that are driving this awareness need to be applauded. Getting media to listen is one of the best ways to bring awareness to the disease states such as endometriosis.

While there was lots of information shared, I do believe more could have been talked about. I was a little disappointed to hear that the opening line was more about associating endometriosis and periods. We know endometriosis and its symptoms can be there daily, not just around the menses. But, it does open up discussion for more programs and media recognition for those with endometriosis, or any gynaecological condition really.

I’ll talk about the good things, the not so good things and everything in between. Let’ have a look what was talked about and some of the things that should have been talked about as well. I do realise time constraint mean that not everything can be talked about either.

The important things that were talked about

  • Millions of women world-wide suffer this disease
  • Millions of suffers do have a wide range of symptoms that vary with each individual
  • Period Pain IS NOT Normal
  • There is no cure for endometriosis
  • Millions of women world-wide have been led to believe their symptoms are normal, when they aren’t
  • Women are being missed and dismissed daily and told to basically suck it up
  • Many women take more than 10 years to be diagnosed
  • GP’s and other healthcare people are missing the disease and also failing to refer on
  • Many women are misdiagnosed for other disease states such as IBS, gastro etc
  • When presenting for medical help, many women are told they just have a gastro virus, or it may be an ectopic pregnancy
  • Endometriosis affects the daily life of sufferers and their partners and family as well
  • Partners can be affected by watching their loved one go through this disease state
  • Intimacy and a happy healthy sex life can be hard for sufferers due to pain and associated symptoms
  • Many endometriosis sufferers have to take pain killers daily, just to get through their day
  • Endometriosis requires a laparoscopy to be diagnosed
  • Scans and blood tests cannot diagnose endometriosis
  • Women need a highly specialised surgeon when needing to have the disease diagnosed and cut out
  • Despite the best medical treatments available, women are still in pain daily
  • Many women will require multiple surgeries to deal with endometriosis
  • Despite multiple surgeries, women are still in pain and have all the associated symptoms of endometriosis.
  • Women will need hormones, pain medications, pain management and psychiatric help dealing to be able to deal with endometriosis
  • Often pain and associated symptoms are not managed well at all
  • Women who suffer endometriosis are holding down jobs and many people are unaware they are suffering this disease
  • Many women with endometriosis cannot hold down fulltime employment either
  • Women are not being told the facts about endometriosis
  • Many healthcare practitioner do not know the facts about endometriosis
  • Women of all shapes, sizes and colour have endometriosis
  • Endometriosis is just as common as many other well-known disease states, yet little is known about it.
  • Complementary medicines such as acupuncture and Chinese medicine may help women with endometriosis (although this was brushed over very quickly)
  • Genetics/hereditary links are now known to be a big part in the disease expression

Important things that were not talked about

  • Endometriosis pain and associated symptoms do not just happen around the menses
  • A significant portion of women with endometriosis are asymptomatic (meaning no symptoms) and are only diagnosed through needing to assess for other issues such as fertility investigations
  • Not all women with endometriosis will experience fertility issues
  • Pregnancy does not cure endometriosis
  • Hysterectomy does not cure endometriosis
  • Endometriosis is Estrogen driven and not caused by estrogen dominance
  • Progesterone in suppressive to the disease
  • Pain levels are not related to the extent of the disease
  • Teenagers are not too young to have endometriosis
  • Certain combined contraceptive Pills that contain estrogen, could be making the disease worse, or in fact helping mask and then drive the disease
  • The facts around endometriosis need to be standardised and more freely available
  • Despite the best medical treatment not working for some women, we need to educate about other alternatives, including complementary therapies
  • Women with endometriosis do need a multimodality (team) approach to manage their disease state and daily symptoms
  • There needs to be better funding to help women access all services they need for endometriosis and the associated symptoms
  • Too much surgery can be just as bad as not having surgery
  • The first surgery should always be a sufferer’s best surgery
  • Women with endometriosis need to see and advanced trained laparoscopic surgeon who specialises in endometriosis and is an excision specialist.
  • Not all gynaecologists are advanced trained and not all gynaecologist will be able to effectively manage endometriosis
  • Most of the good advanced trained surgeons do not do public work. Some do limited work, most don’t.
  • Women and healthcare practitioners need to be educated about the facts are endometriosis
  • GP’s and other healthcare providers who are the first point of call for women, should be better educated about endometriosis and the associated symptoms
  • Women with endometriosis can have adenomyosis, PCOS and other gynaecological diseases at the same time
  • Women who suffer bad symptoms of endometriosis have contemplated suicide, or had suicidal thoughts
  • Women with endometriosis will require help with depression, anxiety and other mood disorders
  • Many women with endometriosis are addicted to pain medications and opiates and are not monitored , or managed well
  • Many women cannot function without some of the pain medications and the alternatives that are not as addictive need to be discussed
  • Diet and lifestyle changes can help with reducing the symptoms of endometriosis and may help with reducing some of the inflammation driving the disease
  • Healthy gut bacteria and restoring the microbiome can help with some of the symptoms associated with endometriosis and the inflammatory processes around endometriosis
  • Exercise may assist with the symptoms of endometriosis

There are probably many other things that need to be discussed, but, for now this is a great start. Any awareness is a great outcome and again those that were involved need to be applauded and commended. The sufferers, the specialists, the partners, the families, the media people and everyone involved deserve to be praised for this story. We now just need to take it to the next level of education and awareness for the sake of those and their families that suffer from this horrible disease.

There is no cure for endometriosis and even with surgery and the best medical interventions; women will still suffer the daily consequences of the disease. The best way to treat and clinically manage endometriosis is with a multimodality (team) approach that requires many different modalities and medicines. While there is no cure, with the right interventions and management women can become asymptomatic (meaning no symptoms).  We now just need governments to provide better funding to this with endometriosis and those who will ultimately be involved in their care.

Let’s hope that with awareness and education, this brings further funding and changes. We also need for more programs to be aired on the media to talk about what women with endometriosis can do to manage their disease better and where to access the help they so desperately need.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

– No Stone Left Unturned

– Endometriosis Expert

– Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

Dr Andrew Orr Logo Retina 20 07 2016

Dr Andrew Orr Logo Retina 20 07 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Expectation Versus Reality When It Comes To Hospital Emergency Departments

Before I start on this latest post, I do just want to say how amazing the people are who work in Accident and Emergency departments around the world. As someone who has a disease state that can be fatal, I know all to well how the amazing efforts at accident and emergency departments can save lives. I should know, because they have saved my life a few times I can tell you.

The reason for this post is that everyday I get messages from people in chronic disease state, such as endometriosis, and many of these messages often complain that they went to their local hospital emergency centre and they did nothing for them. Many of the messages are saying “I waited for hours in pain”, or “the emergency staff did nothing and then sent them home”, or messages such as “The didn’t fix me”

One of the things I always tell my patients is that if they are in pain, and it is after hours, or they cannot get a handle on their pain, then they should go to their nearest A&E (Accident & Emergency) and seek help. But I am also very clear with my patient’s expectation around what emergency centres are there for, or will do for them.

Accident and Emergency Centres at hospitals are there for exactly that; Accidents and Emergencies. They are there to help with people who have been in accidents, the critically ill, the dying, and those that require emergency assistance. Emergency departments are trained to assess who needs help now and who doesn’t.

There is scale of who requires immediate help and who doesn’t. People who have been in near fatal accidents, people with open wounds, close to death, people having heart attacks, asthma attacks and anyone who could possible die from their suffering, will always be attended to first and if need be with be admitted and monitored accordingly. For the rest of the people it is simply this.

  • How bad is your pain?
  • How long have you had it for?
  • and Could it possibly kill you if we leave it too long for you to receive care?

If the answer is that it isn’t going to kill you, but you are definitely in a lot of pain, you will receive treatment. When and how long that takes, compared to critical patients, all depends on how busy the emergency department is that night, or day.

What I do need to reiterate is that emergency departments jobs are to basically assess if your condition could kill you, then administer appropriate treatment, get you out of pain and then either send you home, or admit you if it is absolutely necessary. That is it really. They are not there to fix your chronic condition. They are there to ease your pain, administer appropriate treatment, save your life if necessary, and then work out if they send you home, or send you to intensive care for critical monitoring, or admit you to the general wards.

If you are assessed properly and your pain etc, has been controlled and then sent home, what should happen then is that you should be given medications to control your condition when you get home, given an action plan and also a referral to your local GP, or healthcare professional to help you in managing your disease state, or pain state, properly. This is to ensure you get proper care. Sometimes you may even be referred back to the hospital you have just been to but to an appropriate department for your condition, or disease state.

But does this always happen like this?

Well, not always and it just depends how busy the emergency centre was and how far down their emergency scale you were. If you weren’t dying, it may seem like they are saying to you “we fixed you up, we helped your pain and then sent you on your way with no help”.

But in reality they have got you out of pain and then have administered appropriate care and treatment, but it may not just be in way your expectation was. Please just remember that A&E’s are there to help you get out of pain and then basically send you home, or admit you if needed. That is it really.

If your pain levels have escalated, or become acute, more often than not it is because your condition isn’t being managed properly, or as well as it could be.

  • Maybe the healthcare practitioner managing you just isn’t as educated on your disease state as you thought.
  • Maybe your medications are wrong.
  • Maybe you haven’t been taking your medications properly.
  • Maybe you have been self-prescribing too long and need to see someone for better care.

There could be many factors to why your disease state has flared

  • Could you flare up be due to stress, or emotional factors?
  • Are you sleeping properly?
  • Are you eating a proper balanced nutritional diet?
  • Have you been drinking too much alcohol?
  • Are you drinking enough water?
  • Are you exercising enough and moving the body enough?
  • Are you taking your medications properly?
  • Could you need surgical intervention?

There are so many reasons why disease states can flare, or pain cycles can start. Sometimes there is no answer to your pain, or disease state flaring.

As I have stated before, places such as the A&E (Accident and Emergency) are there to help people in chronic, or acute pain states and assess you properly to make sure everything is ruled out and then control your pain and have you managed accordingly. Most of the time, if things are not critical they will send you home, but usually after making sure you are managed properly first. If this doesn’t happen, then you need to ask the questions as to why, and then ask questions of the powers that would be, if necessary. If you are truly in pain, then you should not go home and you need to voice your concerns as to why you need to be looked at further. Sometimes it really is “He/She who cries out loudest, gets heard”

If you do have a diagnosed condition such as endometriosis, it may be best not to let some A&E’s know you have this condition, due to them probably not going to fully understand your condition, and put you in the period pain basket, and probably not take you seriously. I am not saying this happens all the time, but it does happen and I hear this often. But, just remember that A&E departments are specialised in some disease states such as endometriosis either, so you need to take that into consideration. But they need to take into consideration that you are in pain and that it isnt just simple period pain, or you are being dramatic. If you weren’t in real pain, you wouldn’t be there. So, just a precautionary word… dont tell them you have endometriosis, if that is what your are there for. Let them do a proper assessment and control your pain first and if they work that out, then they have done their job anyway. If they don’t work that out, they will at least manage your pain and then try and work on why you are in pain. If necessary, they will admit you until they can work it out,  so win win situation.

But, even after all this, if your pain, or disease state has reached its peak point, it means that you aren’t being managed properly, you need proper management, or you may in fact need surgical intervention, along with appropriate treatments and clinical management moving forward. Once this is addressed then you need to do the following also

  • You need to eat a healthy low inflammatory based diet
  • You need to make sure you address the emotional aspect of your health
  • Address stress levels
  • Make lifestyle changes
  • Address weight and body fat (lose or gain weight/body fat)
  • Drink adequate water and electrolytes to stay properly hydrated
  • Exercise and move your body to promote blood flow and circulation
  • Get some acupuncture
  • Get some herbal medicines and nutritional supplements
  • See a chiropractor, or osteopath
  • Do a mindfulness course, or learn some meditation
  • Get at least an hour of “You Time” daily
  • Take your medications as prescribed
  • Book in with your healthcare practitioner and get a proper pain management, or disease state management protocol going
  • Improved your gut health and microbiome
  • Be positive and look at positive words and affirmations
  • Stay away from negativity and negative people
  • See a pain management specialist if need be
  • If something isn’t working, then change it. This may also mean changing the person you are seeing. It may also mean changing self, or self-beliefs.

Lastly, never self prescribe, or try to manage your own disease state. Nobody can manage their own disease state properly, no matter how much they know, or how hard they try. Always seek proper help and clinical management from a properly trained healthcare professional who specialises in your disease state

I hope this has helped everyone understand a little more about what emergency departments do, or are supposed to do, when it comes to pain and critical care. We really do need to be aware of expectation, versus reality for this type of care and what emergency centres actually do. I also want people to know what they can do also need to be proactive in their disease states and helping manage their disease state and symptoms properly. With proper care and proper management, you truly can reduce symptoms, reduce pain, reduce flare ups and also live a fairly normal life as well.

Lastly, when pain does get too bad, or your are unable to control your disease sate properly, it means you need to get proper help and this also means seeing an appropriately trained healthcare professional to assist you in every aspect of your disease. Please do not try to do it yourself, or google it, or ask friends for advice. Always see a healthcare professional who is trained to deal with your disease properly and administer appropriate care, treatment and management moving forward. If your current healthcare professional isn’t assisting your properly, I am the first person to tell people the value of a second, or tenth opinion.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

– No Stone Left Unturned

– Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

Dr Andrew Orr Logo Retina 20 07 2016

 

 

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No matter what you do, some days are just going to be bad days and that is OK

The one thing I have learn about life and having to live with a chronic disease is that no matter what you do sometimes, some days are just going to be bad days and that is OK

You can have the best diet in the world, you can have the best emotional outlook, you can exercise, and you can have the best support, but some days “Shit Happens”

Some days the disease state just flares up, or your immune system just doesn’t work as well as it should, or the body just wants to take a break and those are the days when you sit there wondering what you have done, or ask yourself “why is this happening?”

This week I had one of those weeks. I am sure many people can relate. My lung capacity was at half of what it should be and I was really struggling to get on top of it all. I had to work really hard to get back to a state of normalcy and it was really concerning me and also frustrating me. The whole week was a struggle and then by the end of the week, I was starting to feel back to normal again. But, it took some really hard work to start to feel normal again.

“Why?” I kept asking. My diet is good and I am taking my medicines and trying to stay positive and I have been getting to be early, so why is this happening?

Well the truth is that sometimes, when you are living with a chronic disease, no matter what you do, you are just going to have bad days. People can say what they want, or try to justify it being this, or that, but some days there is just no reason why.  But, the main thing is that even though you have bad days, as long as the good outweigh the bad, then you are moving forward and probably in a better place than you previously were. We aren’t invincible. We are humans. We get sick. We get tired. We get stressed. We cannot expect to be in perfect health all the time and sometimes we just have to realise this. Then, if you have a chronic disease state, there is more chance of having some bad days and again, that is OK.

Having said that, if you do all of a sudden have a flare up of symptoms, it is good to do the system check and evaluate what may be causing you to have a flare up, or have a bad day, or not feel so great, or feel so tired etc.

The things you need to ask yourself are:

  • Have you been eating well?
  • Have you been eating too many bad foods?
  • Have you been stressed?
  • Do you have negative people impacting you and your health?
  • Are you exercising and moving the body to keep fit?
  • How is your emotional outlook?
  • When was your last holiday?
  • When was the last time you took some time out for you?
  • Have you been taking you medications? (if needed)
  • Have you been following the advice from your healthcare practitioner?
  • When was the last time you had a health check-up?
  • Have you been drinking enough water?
  • Have you been drinking too much alcohol?
  • Have you been getting enough sleep?
  • Have you had a virus, or a cold, or a flu, or some other illness recently?

All these things you need to ask yourself and are some of the things I asked myself recently. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, stressing too much, not exercising, not eating well, aren’t being positive, aren’t drinking enough water, not taking your medications, not following healthcare advice etc, and then all these things can lead to a flare of symptoms. Sometimes it is just a bit of everything that builds up and causes you to feel poorly, or have a flare of symptoms. Sometimes it may just be one thing alone. No matter what it is, you need to do a check and see if there is anything that needs to be changed in order for you to feel better.

Some of the things you can do to feel better:

  • Eat health whole foods and no refined foods
  • Go and do some exercise, or go for a nice walk in the fresh air
  • Drink more water
  • Take your medicines
  • Take some time out for self
  • Do some mindfulness training
  • Do some meditation
  • Book in with your counsellor
  • Book into see your healthcare practitioner
  • Get some acupuncture
  • Do some yoga
  • Get a massage
  • Go for a swim
  • Read a book
  • Get a funny movie out and have some laughs
  • Be supported by friends
  • Make love
  • Get cuddles
  • Be positive

There are many other things you can do to make yourself feel better and help get your health back on track.

As I said, we are humans and we aren’t perfect, but we also need to sometimes stop and take check of our lives and look at what may be causing our health to suffer, or our disease states to be exacerbated and flare symptoms. It is about being proactive and being honest with one’s self and then making the necessary changes to help yourself get better. There is no “try” there is only “do”.

Lastly, just remember to not be harsh on yourself. Be kind to yourself. Just remember that you are human and it is OK to have a bad day. If those bad days continue, it just means you need to get some help and get back on top of your health again and that is OK. Never be scared to ask for help when you need it and ask for support from those around you.

Now, off you go, and be the best version of you and go and have a good day.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

Dr Andrew Orr Logo Normal 20 07 2016

 

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So you have the diagnosis… Now What?

Many gynaecological issues such as endometriosis and PCOS often take years to be definitively diagnosed and women have to suffer the consequences of their disease state through being missed and dismissed along the way. Then after many years of suffering, they finally get the diagnosis they have been looking for, but then many are not told what to do next, to manage their disease state moving forward. From a state of relief then comes a state of despair as the diagnosis is made and realisation that disease state you are living with isn’t really being helped as well as it could be. So now what?

As someone who has had to live with a chronic disease state daily and spent many years trying to find the right help and be diagnosed properly, I know all too well what many face daily. Many days it just feels like you are knocking your head against a brick wall and nobody wants to help, or listen to what you are telling them. This is why it is important to take things into your own hands and keep searching until you find the right help. That is why I know do what I do and my motto is “No Stone Left Unturned”.

The sad but real truth is that we do know that despite the best medical interventions and treatments that many women will continue to suffer the consequences of their disease state. We know that disease states like endometriosis have no cure and despite surgical intervention, hormonal therapies, pain medications etc, that the disease state can continue to grow and cause debilitating symptoms, both physically and emotionally.

While surgical interventions, hormone therapies and pain medications can offer women some reprieve in their disease state, are they enough?

Sadly the answer is “no!” and this is where many get caught in the vicious cycle of further surgical intervention, the need for new hormonal therapies and a dependency on pain medications. There are also the side effects of some of the medications and treatments and also the effects on future fertility. Treatments also tend to be about treating the masses, rather than the individual. We know that while women may suffer the same disease state and similar symptoms, all will have differing symptoms as individuals as well.

The trouble with the current treatments for many gynaecological issues such as endometriosis and PCOS, is that they are suppressive rather than being curative. These treatments also tend to mask the disease and also only provide temporary relief of symptoms during the period of treatment. On discontinuation of treatment the reoccurrence of symptoms is generally to be expected. For example, after medical treatment and surgical intervention, the reoccurrence rate of endometriosis is said to be around 25% after 2 years and around 50% or more at 5 years.

So what is the answer?

For any disease state to be treated and managed properly it needs to follow these treatment principles.

  • Treatments needs to be individualised and not about treating the masses
  • Treatments and management needs to be multimodality and may require a team like approach
  • Treatments need to be curative, rather than being suppressive
  • Treatments need to treat pain and associated symptoms
  • Treatments need to have an acceptable side effect profile
  • Long-term treatments need to be safe and affordable
  • Treatments need to treat and assist fertility and not interfere with ovulation and implantation
  • Treatments need to inhibit the current disease state and inhibit the current formation of lesions and cysts and future growths and cystic formations as well.
  • Treatments are efficient in treating all parts of the disease and all types of the disease, either superficial, or deep infiltrating, or related to the current disease state.

Do treatments like this exist?

Well, the answer is ‘yes!’… and ‘no!’

There is no curative medical treatment for endometriosis, but there are treatments that can assist in helping women with their disease state and to become symptom free, or at least live a fairly normal life.

There are treatments that can assist PCOS and actually assist in the reversal of some of the symptoms that are associated with the disease.

The one thing I explain to my patients is that they need to be real about their disease state and they also need to look at their expectations versus reality. The longer one has had a disease state for, or health issue for, the longer it is going to take to manage. Then I always talk about the magic pill. I think many people are waiting for “the magic pill”, which does not exist, and then get caught up in the vicious cycle of “Nothing works” and then spiral over and over again. I wish there was a magic pill to take to solve everyone’s disease state, but there isn’t and this is something that all concerned need to come to terms with.  I know I have been there, so I understand where people minds go to. When you are in pain, or living with disease state, it is all too easy to blame everything and become very cynical and negative, which in turn does not help the disease state either. This is why when it comes to dealing with any disease state, we need to help the individual emotionally as well, so that they can learn to be focussed, be clear and also learn to cope with their symptoms better.

The problem is that many just get caught up in the one dimensional medical treatments of surgery and taking a pill approach, when in fact they need so much more. Again, this is not discrediting that surgery and medications are a much needed part of treatment for many, especially those with endometriosis, or severe PCOS etc. Many will not be able to function daily without surgical intervention, or pain killers, etc.  But, as mentioned before, while they are necessary, they are not enough and women need to be looking outside the box and looking for a more individualised, multi-modality, team like approach, if they truly want to get the help they are needing and to be clinically managed properly.

So where do you find these treatments and people who can help?

Well, that is the million dollar question that everyone is looking for and probably the hardest thing to answer. In every profession and every industry there is good and bad and not everyone specialises in the disease state you are wanting help with. This is the biggest hurdle many will face. The sad but honest truth is that many people are seeing someone that doesn’t have the skills to deal with their disease state and is actually a big part of them not being able to move forward with proper treatment. This isn’t just related to the medical profession either. It is the same in allied health, complementary medicine and other areas of health. This is why it is so important to find the right person, or the right team to help you. People that have the right skills, the years of experience, the specialisation in the area you are needing help with and also willing to work in with others to help you be managed and treated properly. If the healthcare practitioner you are seeing isn’t helping you, then you need to change. Don’t just sit there complaining about it. Don’t go back to them and go and find someone who will help you. It might just change your life. Remember that if you do not change anything, nothing changes.

Having to live with a chronic disease state daily, I know the issues people face, on both a physical and emotional level. I know how hard it is to find the right people and get the right help and having to sift through the BS people tell you, when in fact many of these really have no idea. I really get how hard it is and I also hear how people are being missed and dismissed daily and it annoys the hell out of me.

This is why as a healthcare practitioner, I use a multi-modality approach to healthcare. I help people with as much of my own skills and multimodality treatments and then I am also their guide, their coach and their voice, if they need to be referred to others. I always work within my close network of healthcare professionals and only refer to those whom I can trust and whom I know have the skills to help me and to help my patients. I always joke with my patients that I am here to keep the others honest and also be their guide every step of the way.

For those that are living in chronic disease state, I do feel for you, as I know how hard it is when you have to deal with a chronic disease daily. The one thing I did learn though is that you have to fight and you need to take your health into your own hands. If you aren’t strong enough to do it on your own, find someone who will be your voice for you. I know this is what I do for my patients.

If something isn’t working for you, or your symptoms aren’t getting better, then this means you need to change something. Don’t just keep doing what you have been doing and expect it to change. Don’t get caught up in the blame game, or get caught up in the label, as this doesn’t help you either. It just creates more stress and negativity. The best way to help your condition is to help yourself and get your mind and body strong again. You also need to realise that nothing is going to fix overnight and there is no such thing as a magic pill. You need to take one day at a time and do things one step at a time, no matter how hard things seem. You need to put one foot in front of the other and just keep doing that. Yes, you will have bad days, but as long as you are progressive and being monitored and managed properly and you are progressing forward, no matter how slow you may think you are going, then this is a good thing.

I often say that when one is faced with the challenges of having to deal with a chronic disease, or chronic health issue, that it is like running a marathon. You can’t not put in the training and all of a sudden wake up one day, without any training, and expect to run a marathon and complete it.

To run a marathon you need to put in the work. You need to train. You need a coach to motivate you and help you with your training. You need to put good food in. You need to put supplements and additional nutrients in. You need to get your mind right and be motivated. To do that you need a mind coach, or a psychologist, or counsellor, or mindfulness coach. What will get you over the line in the end is “You” and the work “You” have done and the advice “You” have followed and the lifestyle and dietary changes and the body conditioning. It is about everything “You” have done in combination coming together to help you overcome the marathon of your disease state. Nobody is going to do this for you and this is probably one of the hardest things I had to learn on my own health journey. You can either stay where you are, and live in the state you are living in, or you can get up and take control of your own health. It isn’t going to be easy, but it can be done. I help people do this everyday. I see people do this everyday. It is also about finding the right people to help you and support you along the way. This is what I now do for my own patients and if you so need help, I can always assist you in the marathon of your own disease as well.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

Dr Andrew Orr Logo Retina 20 07 2016

 

 

 

 

 

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Rust Never Sleeps And Neither Does Endometriosis

Rust never sleeps and neither does endometriosis. When rust gets into a piece of metal, it starts to slowly eat away and corrode its unsuspecting host. Nobody really knows where it will pop up next. At first the tiny implants of rust cannot be seen, but underneath the layer of metal, the rust is at work, slowly devouring and eating away at the core of this metal piece.

It is like a weed. You can cut it out, poison it, and do what ever you can to prevent its return, but once it is there and those minute little seeds have shed and spread, not matter what you seem to do, it seems to just keep popping up everywhere. I have explained this in another post called “Weeding Out Endometriosis”

It is silent and can often take years to take full affect and be visualised, but once it is there and it full swing, it causes weakness, corrosion, toxicity and all manner of havoc for the piece of metal it has now invaded. Just because you cannot see it, doesn’t mean it is not there either. It is the master of stealth, but eventually is will rear its ugly head everywhere, all the while it is has been working its way underneath the surface and its endless tentacles and teeth reaching out and eating at the very core of its host. As the famous musician Neil Young once said “Rust Never Sleeps”. It is perfect assassin for it needs no sleep, and it has a mission of destruction and chaos to anyone who stands in its way.

While rust may never sleep, neither does Endometriosis. Endometriosis is just like rust. It is also like a pesky weed, with a never-ending lifecycle. It spreads; it drops seeds (implants) everywhere it goes. It causes pain, it can be silent and with stealth and at the same time, spreading without causing a single ounce of pain for a significant portion of the population. All the while it is causing havoc in other parts of the body, creating the illusion that there must be something else there.

It is the master of illusion. It makes many think it is something else (IBS, Bladder issues, UTI etc). It invades without a trace and can even be the master of disguise, evading even the most notable physician, but all the while it is feasting and causing chaos under the surface, just as rust does.

Just like rust, sometimes you can cut out a small piece of it and get every single minute part of it at the same time. Other times you can cut it out, and then underneath the microscopic, undetectable implants just pop up somewhere else and starts its vicious lifecycle in another location. Some times it can hide altogether, yet still be there under the surface causing havoc. Other times it will present itself to be seen everywhere and scatter itself so far and wide, you will never ever catch up with all of it.

While sometimes the smallest amount of it can cause immeasurable pain, sometimes the largest amounts of it will go undetected and cause no pain at all.

Actually, a significant portion of women affected with Endometriosis will have no pain at all. We only hear of the women with pain and this is totally understandable. But we also need to let people know, many have no pain at all. It isn’t until the person is investigated properly (via a laparoscopy), that they find that they may be riddled with it.

Endometriosis just isn’t in the endometrial lining. It is most outside the uterus, or embedded deep into the endometrium. It can get on your tubes, in your vagina, on your bowel, into your intestines, up into your lung, around your pericardium and heart, into your brain and they have even found it in people’s fingers. It is truly like a weed, like the rust we started talking about. It can spread everywhere and as said before, can evade even the most noted medical mind. If you don’t know what you are looking for, it will try and evade you forever.

But like rust, with the right treatment, Endometriosis can be found, captured, seen for what it is, have its true colour exposed, have its weakness exploited and have its symptoms vanquished to the nether regions of the destructive world it appeared from. Yet, many fail to explore, or implement the right treatment, choosing to mask it, or pretend it has gone, and all the while it is being allowed to inflame, fatigue, cause pain, play with your emotions and basically wish that life as you know it would magically just end. This can be the life of many who unknowingly trust that just cutting out the rust, or trying to mask the symptoms of it, without destroying and preventing the tiny implants of it underneath the surface from appearing and taking hold again.

Like any disease, prevention is the key to treatment. You cannot prevent endometriosis (not yet anyway) but you can prevent the things that can make it flare, or make it grow, or make it worse. Take away the fuel, and the fire can never take hold. The same goes for endometriosis. You need to take away the foods and substances (alcohol, smoking, chemicals is the environment) that are fuelling the endometriosis to grow in the first place.

If the endometriosis has taken hold and is causing issues, you need to then have it cut out and removed. There is a point where no matter what medications etc you take, nothing is going to settle that inflammation and pain down and well and corrective and investigative surgery. The only way you can diagnose endometriosis is through a laparoscopy. Scans and blood test do not diagnose it. Even sometimes with surgery, endometriosis can be invisible to the naked eye, but make no mistake, it can still be there. This is why biopsies are taken to see if the microscopic implants are there causing pain and havoc, underneath he surface. But even then, it can infiltrate deep into the muscles and around the nerves to remain undetectable, even via a biopsy. But make no mistake, at some stage, it will rear its ugly head to be seen and to be heard. For those that know the symptoms, they will know it is there, when all other measures of investigations fail.

Once the visible disease is found, it needs to be removed and then you need to try and prevent its return. The only way you can do this is suppress the microscopic implants and the very thing they feed off. Never make the mistake of thinking that surgery is where all your treatment ends. It isn’t. This is where the real work begins.

While estrogenic response is a know factor and the main driver, we also know that insulin feeds inflammation and also causes problems with estrogen and hormone metabolism and distribution. If you get the diet under control, reduce the inflammation through lack of insulin and sugars, then you also help regulate the hormones and this will help with the symptoms and growth of endometriosis. You need to eat as clean as possible and this no refined foods at all. Lots of proteins, nuts and seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables, good oils, pre and probiotics and water.

Herbal medicines can assist and also help control with the control of the microscopic implants of endometriosis and also help symptoms. They can also assist and help with hormone regulation and help with insulin resistance and also help with reducing inflammation. This is why the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommend women explore the use of herbal medicines and acupuncture and part of the overall treatment plan for the guidelines of treatment of endometriosis.

You also need to look at stress and emotional factors that are driving the inflammation in the first place. Learn some coping skills, learn to relax, find that quiet time, do some yoga, or some form of relaxation. Do whatever it takes to find that stillness in your daily life. You can’t treat and manage a disease without looking at the emotional and lifestyle component of it as well.

So, before you go and try and mask the symptoms of endometriosis and the actual diseases itself, with the pill, mirena, or other current medical approach, ask yourself this. What are you doing to prevent the drivers of the disease in the first place?

Endometriosis requires and multi-modality approach to treat and manage it effectively. If you don’t take this approach, then it will nearly always come back. Yes, you need to surgery, but, you still also need to prevent and treat the actual cause of the disease in the first place. This will then treat the microscopic implants from ever coming to life and causing more misery for everyone concerned.

Having a loved one riddled with endometriosis, I am going to do everything possible I can to help prevent the return of symptoms of this horrible disease for this most cherished and loved individual. A multimodality approach will be used and I hope that one day we can eventually take control and assist in vanquishing the symptoms of this disease into oblivion where they belong, like I have done for so many other people in my years of practice. But, with any disease it also requires compliance of the patient too.

There is no cure for endometriosis, but with proper assistance and the right treatments and health management, women can become asymptomatic (no symptoms) and live a normal life away from the symptoms of this horrible disease.

What are you doing to control your endometriosis?

Do you want to just mask it, or get proper help in managing it?

If so, you need to implement a multimodality approach that I mentioned above and help with having a normal life and hopefully be symptom free. I will mention some of the multimodality treatments in future posts.

Just remember, rust never sleeps and neither does endometriosis.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Crusader

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