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Anxiety and Chronic Pain and Chronic Conditions

Chronic pain and chronic illness can be debilitating. Both pain and chronic conditions can go hand in hand and both can interfere in the daily function in life.

While chronic disease state can cause pain, many do not realise that there are also other factors that exacerbate chronic disease and chronic pain.

Diet, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, additives in food, chemicals, environment, and emotions can all exacerbate and flare chronic disease state and pain. But some of these things people do not correlate to being part of their daily struggles and increased levels of pain.

Anxiety and depression are two of the things that can exacerbate pain and also lead to chronic pain pathologies. For this post I am going to focus of anxiety because I see so many people who have it. Many people do not realise that they actually have anxiety.

Many people also ignore the signs of anxiety and fob it off as not being able to switch off, or they think too much, or they just do not know how to slow down and relax. Many just fob it off saying that they are busy and don’t have time to stop. They are basically busy being busy. But is it really all those things they think they are?

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal emotion and almost everyone has experienced anxiety at some point.  It is the emotion that people have when something dangerous might happen. Anxiety is closely related to fear. Fear occurs when something dangerous is happening. Anxiety can also activate that fight or flight response and get one adrenalin activated and running through ones veins. Adrenalin is activated to help us get away from danger. The problem with anxiety, danger isn’t really happening. It is the perception of something that may happen. None the less, the body prepares for danger and the nervous system goes into hyperdrive and the fight or flight response is activated.

As mentioned before, anxiety can also be when something dangerous is seemed to be pending, or hasn’t happened yet, though we perceive it could.  This is why people with anxiety always tend to be nervous. They are nervous in their feelings, their body and their behaviours as well. These people are quite literally waiting for the possibility of something dangerous to happen, or needing to get up and get moving. They literally cannot sit still.

Anxiety can also be divided into different aspects: feelings, physical manifestations, thinking, and behaviours.

Feelings

A number of feelings are associated with anxiety. It can cause one to feel apprehensive, feel alarmed, feel tension, feel nervousness, feel doubtful and also make one feel out of control.

Physical manifestations

Anxiety can also lead to physical manifestation in the body as well. It can cause muscle tension, increased hear rate, palpitations, increased blood pressure, heaviness in the chest, gastrointestinal upset and urgency, cold hands and feet, increased sweating, dizziness and increased energy and even cause the body to shake.

Thinking

Anxiety can also influence the way we think. It can cause increased worry, increase focus on things that have not occurred, increased focus on possible danger and all of the consequences that could occur, increased thinking of the worst case scenarios of what could happen to one self and anxiety can also cause increased thinking and overthinking in general.

Behaviours

Anxiety can also influence the way be behave.  It can cause restlessness, avoidance of activities ( for fear of perceived danger), cause nervousness, inability to sit still, need to get up and move all the time, and cause difficulty in completing things.

Sometimes, anxiety becomes persistent and then can get in the way of day-to-day life. When anxiety is persistent and interfering in day-to-day life, it’s considered no longer normal. It is then considered a disorder.

Anxiety and pain

Everyone experiences pain at some point in their life, but for those with anxiety and depression, pain can become intense and very hard to treat.

Anxiety is now known to be one the most common conditions that accompanies chronic pain. Anxiety tends to go hand in hand with chronic pain, because pain is a danger signal.  When we get pain it is to signal danger that something is wrong in the body and requires attention.  Pain then sets of the warning system that then leads the nervous system to respond. This then often leads to that fight or flight response talked about previously.

The nervous system’s response to pain just in the same way it responds to danger. This can be in the following ways:

  • Feelings of alarm, apprehension and distress
  • Increased reactivity of the body, such as
  • Increased muscle tension,
  • Increased heart rate ad blood pressure,
  • Gastrointestinal reactivity and digestive pain and upset
  • Increased cognitive focus on the pain, and then a tendency to worry and catastrophize about it
  • Avoidance behaviours, such as guarding, resting, staying home and not engaging in activities that might bring about or increase pain

In acute pain, these responses might be quite helpful. These feelings of pain and fear allow someone to seek help in order to prevent further injury.

In chronic pain, these feelings become anxiety and avoidance behaviours. When someone has chronic pain for a long time, the anxiety and avoidance behaviours can become chronic. The chronic anxiety leads to a chronic sense of alarm or distress, which makes patients nervous and can’t sit still and finds it very hard to relax and recover.

Anxiety and chronic pain

Chronic pain also affects the brain and thought patterns and it can lead to a chronic focus on pain, which pre-occupies the attention of the pain sufferer. Everyday decisions seem to turn on how much pain the patient has at any given time. It also leads to then nervous system to become over reactive. This can then lead to chronic muscle tension, which can switch pain pathways on more and this then leads to more pain. Chronic avoidance behaviours can then lead to an increasing sense of social isolation, inactivity, muscles loss and then not being able to cope or function physically and mentally. Daily life literally can become an effort and the person actually become disabled.

When the body reaches this state the nervous system has become stuck in the vicious cycle of constant reactivity. Pain pathways become more reactive and harder to switch off and pain levels can become very hard to manage. This state of reactivity is associated with a condition called central sensitization. This is where acute pain has becomes chronic and then this goes hand in hand with anxiety and other mood disorders.

Anxiety can present differently in each person

Anxiety can present very differently in each person and chronic disease states can also trigger anxiety. Anxiety can also exacerbate a chronic health condition too. It can be a vicious cycle that keeps going around and around.

Everyone’s cause of anxiety is different and it’s often a combination of factors that leads someone to feel the way they do. Many do not even realise they are suffering anxiety as mentioned before.

It’s important to remember that you can’t always identify the cause of anxiety, or change difficult circumstances. You cannot always be in control of every situation either.

Recognise the signs and seek professional help

The most important thing is to recognise the signs and symptoms and seek advice and support.

There are people that specialise in managing chronic pain. Good pain management programs should use a multi-modality treatment and management approach consisting of the most effective treatments for anxiety, such as counselling and psychology, medications, diet and lifestyle changes, exercise and other therapies that can assist with pain and anxiety.

With the right help and seeing the right people, it is possible to get ones life back despite having chronic pain, and in the process overcome anxiety. The one thing I always explain to people it that you will not be able to do this on your own. You will need help from qualified professionals. No amount of Dr Google, or advice from friends and family is going to be able to help you get through this without the help of qualified professionals trained to help in this area of healthcare.

If you are experiencing long term pain and could also be suffering from chronic anxiety, please go and talk to your healthcare provider. Many people are unaware that they have anxiety and this is actually exacerbating their current pain. Your healthcare practitioner can also talk to you about effective pain management and also help you seeking help and getting coping skills for your anxiety as well.

Beyond Blue has a very simple Anxiety checker (click here) and I urge everyone to take the test, especially those with chronic long-term pain and health issues.

Please remember that there is help out there. Please do not suffer in silence thinking that there is no help, or no end in sight for your pain and your anxiety as well.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

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The Man-Bashing of Male Healthcare Practitioners Who Help Women’s Health Issues. It Needs To Stop

All to often I hear some women “Man-Bash” male healthcare practitioners who specialise in Women’s Health issues. Often when male healthcare professionals are trying to bring awareness to female health issues it is now seen as the buzz word “Mansplaining”

What these individuals need to know is that there are many men at the forefront of women’s health issues and they are here to help women, not hinder them. These men do what they do because they care and they are passionate about what they do. Some do so because of partners, or family with gynaecological issues and they want to help any way they can.

These Male Specialists have had years of training and clinical experience and research behind them and actually know more about the female body than many females know about themselves. Being a female, or having a gynaecological disease does not make one an expert. The same goes for males with male health issues too.

Many of these male Women’s Health specialists are also some of our best advanced trained laparoscopic surgeons as well.  Many of these health experts also specialise in women’s diseases such as endometriosis.

We also have women specialists who are at the top of their field in male health issues. This should not be a gender thing and unfortunately some misinformed people tend to make it so. Too many people try to make it about self, rather than the bigger issue, or collective.

Many men give up their own time and are not paid for the work they do with women’s health issues. Some of  them are working at government level, media level and all sorts of areas to bring awareness to diseases that affect women.

Let’s not forget the men whose partners are affected by disease states. These men offer great support to women who suffer around the world and while they do not suffer the disease, they go through it all with their partners on differing levels.

In this video, I tackle two issue that really need to be talked about

  1. Period pain is not normal and no matter what anyone says, this is a fact
  2. We need to end the Man-Bashing of males who specialise in women’s health issues because many men are at the forefront and are trying to help women get the recognition they deserve.

Let’s end the silence for women who suffer disease states like endometriosis. Let’s end the myths around women’s health issues.

Period pain is not normal and women need to know about it.

Just like we need to end the silence about women’s health issues, we also need to end the Man-Bashing of male healthcare practitioners and educators out there at the forefront of women’s health.

Being a male does not mean we do not understand women’s disease states and it does not mean we do not understand pain. By taking away from these men’s messages and their dedication to women’s health, it is also causing damage to the bigger picture and is actually sabotaging women as well.

Have a listen to my latest video blog and explanation of this important subjects that we all need to talk about.

I myself am a male healthcare professional who helps with treatment, management and education of women’s health issues. I genuinely care about issues such as period pain, endometriosis, PCOS and fertility.  I have family with gynaecological issues and I have cared for thousands of women with gynaecological and fertility issues. It is a very special interest of mine and I want to see women get the care and help they need. Being male should not even be bought into this.

Lastly, if you are in pain and needs help, please give my clinic a call and make a time to book in a consultation.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-Women’s and Men’s Healthcare advocate
-No Stone Left Unturned

-The Endometriosis Experts

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Endometriosis Facts Teenagers are not too young to have endometriosis

Teenagers “Are Not” Too Young To Have Endometriosis

Teenagers are not too young to have endometriosis. Many teenagers and young women are missed and dismissed when they mention they have period pain. Period pain may be a sign that a young woman has endometriosis.

Endometriosis has been found in very young girls, especially as some are getting their period as young as 9 years old, or younger. They have found endometriosis in girls as young as 7 years old when looking for causes of abdominal pain.

Endometriosis and The Causes of Period Pain Can Be Hereditary

Just remember that endometriosis can be hereditary and if someone in your family, or yourself, has endometriosis, or has pad period pain, then there is a good chance a daughter could have this problem too.

Early Intervention and Treatment is Crucial

Early intervention is the key to treating and managing this disease. If your daughter is experiencing period pain, you need to see someone who specialises in endometriosis not just your GP. Do not ever be fobbed off by any healthcare practitioner, or just get told to put the young girl of the pill.

I often get really upset hearing stories of young girls told that they are too young to have endometriosis, or that period pain is normal and just to put up with it.

Young girls are often told to put up with the pain, go on the pill and “We will deal with it when you are ready to have children”

The problem with BS statements like this is that the longer the disease is left there the more damage it can do internally. By not getting early intervention and the right treatment early enough, it could also affect a young girl’s future fertility and potential to even have children. It makes me so angry hearing things like this.

Contraceptive Hormones Do Not Fix Endometriosis

The pill does not regulate menstrual cycles and it can mask and then exacerbate conditions such as endometriosis. The pill does not regulate a proper menstrual cycle. The pill causes a withdrawal bleed and not a proper period. Women with endometriosis need certain types of hormones to help with the suppression of the disease, but only after proper investigation, diagnosis and treatment of the disease first.

Make sure that young girls are properly assessed for the causes of period pain and then managed properly moving forward. Period pain is not normal and young women can be suffering endometriosis.

No matter what anyone tells you, teenagers are not too young to have gynaecological issues such as Endometriosis and PCOS.

We Need To Stop Telling Women That Period Pain is Normal

We need to stop telling young women that things like period pain, irregular periods and absent periods etc are normal. They are far from normal and early intervention and early management could save them a lifetime of heartache and fertility issues later on.

There Is Help Out There

If your daughter is experiencing period pain, or there is a chance that she may in fact have endometriosis and she needs help, please call my staff and find out more about how I may be able to assist you in getting your daughter the right care and management moving forward.

Take care

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

-The Endometriosis Experts

-The Women’s Health Experts

Endometriosis Facts endometriosis can only be definitively diagnosed via surgical intervention 1

The Only Way To Definitively Diagnose Endometriosis Is Via Surgical Intervention–

The only way to definitively diagnose endometriosis and the causes of period pain is via surgical intervention. Scans, blood tests etc do not diagnose endometriosis. You cannot have a scan to diagnose endometriosis and you cannot have a blood test to diagnose endometriosis either.

The definitive diagnosis of endometriosis needs to be done via a laparoscopy

The definitive diagnose ‘is’ and ‘always will be’ via a laparoscopy/laparotomy, along with histology (biopsy) and tissue samples taken to examine. Most times a hysteroscopy is done at the same time and if there is an evaluation for fertility, dye studies for tubal patency will be done at the same time.

Women with endometriosis need to see an Advanced Trained Laparoscopic Surgeon

A laparoscopy is the goal standard investigation of examining the pelvis and for investigating gynaecological disorders such as endometriosis. The laparoscopy also needs to be done by what we call an Advanced Trained Laparoscopic Surgeon, who has extra years of surgical training, and who specialises in this disease and specialises in the excision of endometriosis.

It can’t just be done by a regular obstetrician/gynaecologist and this is where many go wrong. Many women just haven’t seen the right surgeon first up who has he proper skills to deal with endometriosis effectively. The first surgery should always be your best surgery and early intervention and management of this disease is crucial. The longer it is there, the worse it can become.

Ultrasounds and Bloods Tests etc Cannot Diagnose Endometriosis

All too often I get women telling me that they do not have endometriosis because their doctor has ruled it out via an ultrasound, or blood test. This is so distressing to hear and this is why so many women are missed and dismissed with this horrible disease that affects 1 in 10 women world wide.

Endometriosis Management Requires a Multi-modality Approach

But, please know that surgery does not cure endometriosis. It is just the first stage in the management of the disease and the active lesions that have been expressed and are present now. Endometriosis can, and will return for many suffers and this is why endometriosis needs ongoing care and a multimodality approach to treat it effectively. It needs a team to manage it properly. While surgery is an important part of evaluation, management and diagnosis of endometriosis, it is to help with symptomatic pain and then other treatments are needed to suppress the disease from further developing and also managing ongoing symptoms.

If you need help with period pain, or  assistance with endometriosis, please give my clinic staff a call and find out more about how I may be able to assist you.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

-The Endometriosis Experts

Endometriosis Facts Period pain is not normal 1

Period Pain IS NOT Normal

We need all women, and men, to know that Period Pain ‘is not’ normal and it is about time healthcare professionals knew this as well. We are getting there, but it is not quick enough for my liking.

Millions of women around the world are told that period pain is normal and then go on to endure years of suffering and even fertility issues because it. Some women have endured so much pain and been “missed” and “dismissed” by so many healthcare professionals so many times that they have ended up taking their own life because of it. It just should not happen and it needs to stop.

Endometriosis & Adenomyosis are a major cause of Period Pain

One of the major causes of period pain is Endometriosis, or its sister disease Adenomyosis. These crippling diseases can cause period pain, pelvic pain, joint pain, pain with bowel movement, irritable bowel syndrome, pain with ovulation, swollen painful belly (known as endo belly), chronic fatigue, anaemia, heavy painful menstrual flow and can lead to infertility. Some women will quite literally not even be able to work due to debilitating symptoms of this disease.

A significant portion of women with endometriosis are asymptomatic

One thing to note is that some many women with endometriosis get lots of pain and associated symptoms, a significant portion of women with endometriosis are actually asymptomatic (No symptoms at all). These women are usually diagnosed by accident or through fertility evaluation when they could be having issues conceiving. Just remember that just because a woman does not have pain and associated symptoms of endometriosis, it does not mean that she can’t have it.

Period Pain ‘is not’ Normal

Period pain ‘is not’ normal and the sooner we get everyone to know this important fact the better. Sure, a little bit of discomfort can be normal. By that I mean just a tiny bit of pressure and basically knowing your period is about to come. But pain…. That is not normal.

I’ve spoken about this many times before and if you click on the links below here, you can read my previous articles about this

  1. Stop Telling Women That Period Pain is Normal
  2. The Facts About Period Pain & Endometriosis. What Women Need to Know
  3. Period Pain IS NOT Normal and Doctors in Australia and The Rest of The World Need to Start Listening
There is help

If you, your friend, your daughter, your sister, your wife, or any other woman you know, has to have days off work, days of school, is laying on the floor in pain, taking pain killers to get through the day, or beginning of their period, then that IS NOT normal.

Period pain is not normal and if you need help and assistance with period pain, then please give my friendly clinic staff a call and find out more about how I may be able to assist you.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

-The Endometriosis Experts

-The Women’s Health Experts

Endometriosis Awareness Month March 2019

Dr Andrew Orr has an honest and open talk about Endometriosis Awareness Month and also about the disease itself.

Dr Andrew Orr talks about the facts, the myths and what women with endometriosis go through on a daily basis.

He also discussed that there is help out there and what is needed in a multi-modality (team like) approach to care and ongoing management of the disease

Lastly, he wants every women, and man, to know that Period Pain IS NOT Normal and that women do not need to suffer in silence. There is always help out there and you just have to find the right people who will care, listen and help you in every aspect that you need.

Dr Andrew Orr has a special interest in Endometriosis and does research and lecturers about this horrible disease that affects 1 in 10 women world wide. If you do need help with period pain, or endometriosis and the associated symptoms, please give his clinic a call. Please do not suffer in silence alone. There is help out there. Dr Andrew Orr’s motto is “No Stone Left Unturned” and he uses this to assist all his patients.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Expert

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Living With Pain.

There are lots of people who suffer with pain daily and the one thing I do know for sure, as do many professionals I work with, is that many people who are in pain, or have inflammatory pain conditions, are not being managed really well.

There are so many aspects to pain and so many drivers that make it worse. Everything we do and are exposed to daily can drive, or exacerbate pain. Diet, lifestyle, alcohol, stress, drugs, medications, our environment, chemicals, additives, bad bacteria, disease states, moods and the way we think etc, can all drive and exacerbate pain.

In previous blogs and articles I have explained about how pain works, how long term medications can actually make it worse and also some of the alternatives to some of the hard-core pain medications.

  1. Alternative ways to assist pain and help with pain management
  2. Lets’s talk about pain, pain medications, dependency, detox and withdrawal symptoms

Again in this video I talk about pain and want to let everyone know there is help out there to help you better manage pain.

Please know you do not have to do this alone and that there are professionals out there who can help you better manage your pain levels and get your quality of life back.

If you do need help and assistance in dealing with pain, please give my clinic a call and book in a consultation.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Expert

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Endometriosis a burden on women’s lives

Research published in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care found that endometriosis affects women’s sex lives, personal relationships, work life, and emotional well-being.

Endometriosis often takes a long time to be diagnosed and affects all areas of a women’s life, a study has found. Endometriosis is a chronic, recurring disease that is experienced by approximately 10 per cent of women worldwide. This number could be greatly understated as many women have not being diagnosed properly and many women still think period pain is normal.

But, while period pain is part of endometriosis, a significant portion of women with endometriosis are asymptomatic (meaning no symptoms) and only get diagnosed when there is a need for fertility treatment.

Common symptoms include of Endometriosis
• Painful menstruation,
• Heavy menstrual bleeding,
• Painful sex
• IBS like symptoms
• Bladder issues (UTI like symptoms)
• Ovulation Pain
• Pain with bowel movement
• Chronic Fatigue
• Infertility

The Research Unit at the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, reviewed a number of papers that documented women’s experiences of endometriosis. The most common theme was that women had experienced delays in diagnosis.

Many women feel they are being dismissed and this is evident in the fact that it often takes up to “10 years, or more” for women to be diagnosed properly.

The study found that women were more likely to be diagnosed sooner when they approached their doctor describing symptoms as fertility-related rather than a menstrual issue.

The study showed that some women initially delayed seeking help for their symptoms because they believed all women had painful periods. When women revealed their symptoms to a family member, friend or medical professional their experiences were typically normalised as being what all women must endure. Period pain is not normal and all women need to know this.

The study also found that women often felt frustrated and angry at unsatisfactory experiences with healthcare providers, and had concerns about the effectiveness and side effects of treatments.

Women want their doctors to really listen to their experience and concerns. They want to explain the true impact of the condition on their lives, rather than simply rank their pain on a scale from one to 10, or be dismissed each time they try to have their doctor listen to what they are going through on a daily basis.

The study found that further research was needed to gain a comprehensive understanding of endometriosis as experienced by diverse groups of women.

This research will contribute to the improved health care of women with endometriosis in Australia, and around the world.

Too many women being ‘missed’ and ‘dismissed’

I see so many women who have been misdiagnosed, had symptoms missed and been dismissed for years and seen multiple healthcare practitioners, both medical and complementary.

There are clear-cut signs and symptoms that point to endometriosis and we need for healthcare practitioners to start to know this. We also need for practitioners and the public to know that endometriosis can only be diagnosed by a laparoscopy (surgical intervention) and that scans and blood tests, do not diagnose endometriosis.

Lastly, my message to all women is ….. “Period Pain IS NOT Normal” and people need to stop telling women it is.

There is too much BS out there about endometriosis and we need all women and all healthcare practitioners to start knowing the facts. 10 years, or more, to a diagnosis is unacceptable for any health condition. It means many women are being ‘missed’ and ‘dismissed’ along the way.  Let’s put an end to Endometriosis.

If you do need help with period pain, or help managing endometriosis properly, then please call my friendly clinic staff and find out how I may be able to assist you.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-The Endometriosis Experts

-The Women’s Health Experts

-No Stone Left Unturned

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Insights into Endometriosis

Previously 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

Andrew Orr

– No Stone Left Unturned

– The Endometriosis Experts

– Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

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Are we really doing enough for women with Endometriosis?

I often myself “Are we really doing enough for women with Endometriosis?”

That is a hard question to answer in one way, but easy to answer in others. But, the bottom line is that we really aren’t doing enough for women with this terrible disease.

Now, before I continue and start with what I am about to stay and before anyone takes this the wrong way and gets upset (which isn’t my intent), let’s look at the positives around endometriosis.

There has been more awareness of the disease than ever before and awareness brings about change. But unfortunately that change can also be slow. But, it is a step forward in the right direction. At least there is now some government recognition is some countries like Australia. It is about time though and we need all countries to step up on this front. Governments also need to do more, including ours here.

Yes, we have surgical interventions, pain killers and hormones to help those who suffer the disease. All of these things, either in isolation, or in combination can help women with the disease. Some women even become asymptomatic (meaning no symptoms), after certain interventions, or a combination of all interventions combined. That is what we would like for all women with endometriosis.

Surgical intervention can control active lesions and the inflammation and symptoms they cause. Pain meds can help control pain, but after a while women will need stronger pain meds to control the pain. The body will get used to the level of pain meds and there are also high side effect profiles. Hormones such as progestins and GnRH agonists can help with the control of symptoms, help with pain and inflammation and also help with the suppression of microscopic and active lesions. But, again it isn’t enough.

We know that despite the current medical model of treatment that women are still being missed and dismissed, women are still in pain, women are still having numerous symptoms, women are having high levels of anxiety, basic bodily functions are being denied or hard to achieve, and women are being offered multiple surgeries, because that is all that the medical model can provide for them. That is the pinnacle and once that is reached, then this leaves very little options left.

Women are then offered radicle treatments and removal of body parts and that is not the answer to their often horrible daily journey either. Hysterectomy does not cure endometriosis, not at all. But it is still being offered as such by the ignorant, ego driven and uneducated out there still. Sure, it can stop you having a menstrual cycle. Sure it can help with symptoms associated with the menses.

The trouble is that many women that get relief from hysterectomy actually have adenomyosis as well, or in isolation (usually missed diagnosed or missed completely), which a hysterectomy will help, and these symptoms are then controlled permanently by this procedure. But, the problem then is that these women think that their endometriosis is gone and cured. Not so.

If endometriosis has been diagnosed, it will still be there and it can still cause inflammation, and flares, and gastrointestinal symptoms, destabilise moods, causes endo belly, still spread throughout the body, still wreak havoc on bodily functions and most likely still need interventions of some sort.

Many women with the disease are at the point on suicide some days; let alone asking them to undergo reproductive suicide. I am sorry to put it so bluntly, but that is what it is. I have seen young women who have being told that the only way to cure their endometriosis is to undergo reproductive suicide and permanently halt their chance at having a family, all due to ignorance and being told BS, heartless, unethical statements like that.

Just go and chop out your uterus and you will feel better they say. No woman should ever be faced with that option because there are ways to manage this disease that many have not even been told about, or even begun to explore.

I want every woman to know that hysterectomy does not cure endometriosis and that is a fact. I also want women to know there are options for a normal life, outside the current medical model, or to be used in conjunction with the medical model.

The other issue is that like the fashion industry and their assault of women through marketing, we also have pharmaceutical companies trying to mislead women to believe they have the latest and greatest “fix all” pill for their endometriosis. Again, much of that is just over marketed hype and remarketing of medications and hormones that we already have and are just being sold under another patent and another name.

Many women work out very quickly that the benefits being marketed are not forthcoming and are again left with the feeling of despair. I would love to see a new medication to help women. I would love to see the cure all pill appear on the market, but unfortunately there is no such thing, it does not exist and probably will not exist in the near future either.

We also now have women basically addicted to pain medication, because without them, they cannot function in a day to day life. This then leads to judgment by many and we are now seeing women being viewed as ‘druggies’ so to speak. Many women are also being questioned at pharmacies, even when they have a doctor’s script.

We also have medical centre GP’s refusing women pain medication because they just have not listened to the women and her symptoms and that she in fact has endometriosis. All they hear is “Here is another addict trying to get pain meds”.

No, this woman is in pain and you are not listening to her, or even able to understand the level of distress and pain she is in daily. Sure, pain meds are addictive and they have side effects, but what other options do we have for these poor women? Until someone comes up with a better solution, on a medical level, then this is what women with endometriosis have to do in order to survive their day.

So, yes, while we have come far in awareness and recognition etc, which we desperately need, but we are still stuck in the dark ages as far as medical diagnosis, disease classification, interventions and true clinical and overall health management of the disease.

What women with endometriosis need is an individualised, case by case, individualised, multidisciplinary approach to fully treat and manage the disease but this is not happening.  Much of this is due to ego, certain marketing, suppression of research by pharmaceutical interests, lack of funding, lack of education, lack of awareness and people not willing to research or explore new ideas around this disease that don’t fit the model they want to explore, or believe.

There are ways to treat this disease effectively and it requires a multi-modality approach to do so. It requires the team approach that I always talk about. There is good research and evidence out there to suggest that there are some great treatments and management options outside the medical model, which can also be used alongside medical options to enhance treatments and overall health for those with endometriosis.

We just need more education, more research, more funding, more open mindedness, less suppression of research and education by those with monetary interests in certain areas of medicine, more subsidisation for affordable treatment options and certain people letting go of old belief systems and ego so that new thought processes and education can occur.

While awareness is great and it brings recognition to those with the disease, we also need to then give those same people ways to manage and treat the disease as well and stop viewing these women and druggies, or hypochondriacs, just because the medical system hasn’t caught up with what these women actually go through and what they need to live on a day to day basis.

I’ll talk about some other options for the treatment and management of endometriosis in some upcoming posts. In the meantime please know there are better ways to manage this disease and while I would love for there to be a “one pill” or “one treatment fix all’ approach, I am sorry but that does not exist and we will probably not see that exist either. We can hope, but please don’t hold your breath waiting. Sorry for the rant, but it need to be said and more needs to be done.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

-No Stone Left Unturned

-The Endometriosis Experts