Early this week, I was talking with a colleague about how I would love to be able to see all women before they head into IVF, or see them when they were a teenager to educate them and help the with a better future for their fertility and gynaecological health.
My colleague then said to me “The issue is that most women are mismanaged at around age 13 and this is why they end up having fertility issues and ongoing gynaecological and menstrual related issues later on.”
The truth is, if we really to trace back the cause, or start of a woman’s fertility, gynaecological, or menstrual related issues, it would most likely be due to mismanagement at around age 13 when she first got her period. In this video I bring light to this very introspective, and very interesting topic that many probably have not thought about. It isn’t always mismanaged by the people you think it is either.
Let’s bring better education and awareness to women’s health issues because we know that early intervention and early management if the key to better future outcomes. It all starts with education first. Have a listen to my video on this very important topic (click on the youtube video link to watch
If you, or your daughter needs help with a menstrual issue, or period pain etc, please give my friendly staff a call and ask how I may be able to assist you.
-No Stone Left Unturned
-Master of Women’s Health Medicine
-Master of Reproductive Medicine
-The Endometriosis Experts
-The Experts Program
This month is Endometriosis Awareness Month and it is so important to bring awareness to this disease that affects millions of women world wide.
1 in 10 women have endometriosis and those are the ones diagnosed. A significant portion of women with endometriosis are asymptomatic and many women do not realise they have it, or have been missed and dismissed along the way. This means the 1 in 10 women with endometriosis is grossly understated.
There is often up to 10 years or more to diagnosis, which means that many women are missed and dismissed before they are finally diagnosed. The only way to definitively diagnosed endometriosis is via surgical intervention (laparoscopy with histology). Scans and blood tests cannot definitely diagnose endometriosis.
The one message that all of us involved in the education and awareness of endometriosis want everyone to know is that “Period Pain” is not normal. While slight discomfort with a period may be normal, pain (especially bad period pain) is not normal. Period pain can be a sign of endometriosis.
While period pain is often the most talked about point of endometriosis, we also need to educate all that endometriosis just isn’t about period pain. There are so many other associated symptoms that we need to bring awareness to as well.
The common signs of endometriosis are:
Pain with intercourse
IBS like symptoms
Pain on bowel movement
Bleeding from the bowel
UTI like symptoms (without infection present)
Anxiety and mood disorders
Bloating (can be severe)- also known as endo belly
Pelvic and rectal pressure feeling
Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB)
Endometriosis has hereditary links and it now thought to be genetic. Endometriosis is driven by estrogen, so even small amounts of exogenous estrogens will drive the disease. It is not from estrogen dominance and it is not autoimmune.
Endometriosis is basically normal tissue growing in abnormal areas. It behaves very much like cancer, but it is not cancerous. Endometriosis has been found in every part of the body and it can cause damage to multiple organs if it is not managed properly.
Many women with endometriosis are poorly managed, or are not being managed at all. This is why there needs to be more awareness about the serious complications of unmanaged endometriosis.
This month I will be focussing on the facts about Endometriosis and am also very excited be launching the first network of practitioners who are experts in Endometriosis called “The Endometriosis Experts”. There will also be a launch of other experts programs called “The PCOS Experts”, “The Women’s Health Experts” and “The International Fertility Experts”. Stay tuned for more exciting news to follow.
This month please also support Endometriosis Australia and the “Endo March” High Teas. I will be posting more information about these as well.
Lastly, if you have unmanaged endometriosis, or have bad period pain etc, please make sure you seek help for this. If you do need help, you can call my friendly staff and find out how I can assist you and more about my online, or in person consultations.
Please do not put up with period pain, or other menstrual related symptoms, or unmanaged endometriosis. Nobody can manage these symptoms themselves and why it is so important to see an Endometriosis expert.
-No Stone Left Unturned
-Master of Women’s Health Medicine
-The Endometriosis Experts
In this latest video post I talk about why the “No Uterus-No Comment” speech on forums needs to stop.
As someone who is a Master of Women’s Health Medicine, a Women’s Health Expert, and work tirelessly to be a voice for women’s health issues (And a Male), I have a very frank and blunt discussion about some of the male bashing hate speech comments that get thrown around various forums.
Have a listen to the latest video blog on this very important topic.
One of the things I find myself saying to parents often is “Please don’t let your daughter suffer with the wait and see approach for period pain.”
The reason I often say this is because daily I get messages from parents, mainly mothers, asking if they should wait and see if their daughters pain (and other symptoms) is miraculously going to go away. Many of these young girls have been putting up with pain for months, or longer, and still many parents are using the “wait and see” approach.
Many of these messages often start with the story that their daughter is laying on the bathroom floor in excruciating pain. The stories usually add in that their daughters may also have symptoms of nausea, headaches, vomiting and even stories of these poor young girls passing out with pain.
Then there is the usual response of “I used to get period pain and associated symptoms like this and I just had to learn to live with it”
Then comes the question I always hear so often- “Do you think I should wait and see if this just goes away, or do you think I should take her to someone to have her checked out?”
I often have to bite my tongue when responding to questions and stories such as this. If my daughter was laying on a bathroom floor each month, and in excruciating pain, there is no way I would be waiting and seeing if her pain is going to miraculously disappear. The first time she had pain, I would be off doing something about it, and I would not be taking no for an answer.
Many parents suffered period pain themselves
There is always several ways to look at this and why I always offer an empathic response. Many parents were in pain themselves and went through similar experiences. Many of these same parents were told to suck it up and that this is what a woman has to put up with each month. So to them, this is reality. This is their norm. They suffered, so it is natural for them to believe that their daughter just has to wait and see and suffer it out too.
But, as I say to these parents, these symptoms that your daughter is experiencing are not normal. Period pain and all the other terrible associated symptoms are not normal. No woman, young or older, should have to put up with excruciating pains related to her cycle, or an undiagnosed gynaecological condition.
I then go on to explain that I have daughters and that there is no way I would wait and see, before getting help. I also explain that on a health perspective, there are many dangers in letting a young woman suffer such a horrible experience.
The cause of period pain could affect future fertility
I often have to explain the implications of leaving a disease and not intervening early enough. The explanation of by not getting early intervention could mean that they may not ever have grand children, is usually enough to spur many a mother into prompt action. But, it should not have to take these words to prompt someone into action.
Gynaecological conditions cause period pain
The facts are clear now. There is enough education out there. The simple fact is that period pain (and associated symptoms) is not normal and this usually means that there is an undiagnosed gynaecological condition causing the issue. One of the most common causes being endometriosis, or adenomyosis, or both combined. There could be other facts such as pelvic congestion syndrome, or worst still, though rare, there could be something more sinister such as cancer.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
The other thing that parents may not like to admit is that their daughter may actually be having sex and has a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). I often have parents interject when asking if a teenager is sexually active. Many a parent answer “No” on the teenagers behalf, only to then learn that their little girl is having sex.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STI’s) can cause permanent damage to reproductive organs and future fertility if not treated early enough. The reality is that many young girls, and boys, are having sex at a very young age, regardless of what parents may believe. Parents do need to open to the possibility that their child’s pain could in fact be related to being sexually active.
The things parents need to know
The things I am trying to educate all parents on are the following:
- No matter what anyone tell you, health professional included, ‘period pain is not normal’
- Please do not use the wait and see approach when your daughter is in pain, and has been for months.
- Women do not needlessly need to put up with pain each month.
- Early intervention is the key to treating and managing any disease or health issue
- Teenagers are not too young to have endometriosis, or other gynaecological issues.
- Many gynaecological issues are hereditary, so if a parent had period pain, or a diagnosed gynaecological issue, then there is a good chance their daughter will have the same.
- Parents should not feel guilty, or blame themselves for passing on hereditary issues. All of us have faulty genes.
- Regardless of upbringing, or moral stances, teenagers are having sex earlier these days
- Teenagers can have sexually transmitted diseases
- The earlier intervention is enacted and proper treatment and health management administered, the better the future fertility and health outcomes are for young woman.
- Without early intervention, some parents may never become grandparents.
- General practitioners are no gynaecologists, so please make sure you get referred onto a proper specialist. If not, find another GP.
- If you don’t get help with the first healthcare practitioner you see, please remember the value or a second, or tenth opinion.
I do get that many parent’s have been led to believe that period pain, and other associated symptoms are just part of live and something that I woman just has to put up with. I am sorry for those that were told this and then have put up with this when they didn’t have to.
Period pain is not normal
Please know that you daughter does not need to put up with these symptoms. Period pain is not normal and early intervention is the key to help your daughter live a happy and pain free life. It could really also help save her from the heartache many women have to live with daily. It could also help with her being able to have children of her own.
Do not use the wait and see approach for period pain
Never use the wait and see approach when it comes to period pain and the other associated menstrual symptoms. You daughter will thank you one day and I am sure her children will thank you too. Lead by example so that your daughter can lead by example to daughter, or daughters too.
If you do need help with your daughters period pain, and other associated symptoms, please give my friendly staff a call and find out how I may be able to help. There are in person and online consultation available. Conditions may apply with online consultations. My staff will explain all this to you when you make your enquiry, or book a consultation.
-No Stone Left Unturned
-Master of Women’s Health Medicine
-The Women’s Health Experts
As a healthcare practitioner with a special interest in women’s health, more and more I am seeing women presenting with all the symptoms of Adenomyosis. This is why this post is called “Let’s Talk About Adenomyosis”.
Just like endometriosis, many women have had this condition missed and dismissed and then have to suffer the consequences and think that they just have to put up with it month after month.
Some women are completely unaware that they have adenomyosis. Those that have already been diagnosed with endometriosis often believe that all their symptoms are just related to this disease only, when it fact, they could have two diseases creating all their issues.
Many of the symptoms are the same as endometriosis, except that women will usually have heavier menstrual bleeding, or irregular bleeding issues.
Women can have both endometriosis and adenomyosis at the same time and now research is showing that they are basically one in the same disease, but just in different locations.
What is Adenomyosis?
Adenomyosis is defined as the presence of endometrial glandular tissue occurring deep in the endometrial lining (myometrium). The exact cause of adenomyosis is unknown, but current research is showing that it is a similar process to how endometriosis is caused.
Histologically both endometriosis and adenomyosis are one in the same disease state, but just occurring in different locations. We know that both diseases are driven by estrogen and that they have all the same signs and symptoms. Adenomyosis and endometriosis are not caused by estrogen dominance either. Even small amounts of estrogen will drive both diseases.
The only difference between the two disease states is that adenomyosis typically causes more heavy bleeding symptoms. The abnormal bleeding occurs when the ectopic endometrial tissue induces hyperplasia and hypertrophy of the surrounding myometrium. This causes uterine enlargement and subsequent changes in vascularisation (the new vessels may also be more fragile than usual) in addition to an increase in the surface area of the endometrium.
One of the key diagnostics for adenomyosis is the presence of an enlarged uterus on ultrasound, or via MRI. The enlarged uterus can also impact the surrounding structures and often impacts the bladder, leading to urinary frequency and other bladder issues.
Adenomyosis can also have the same bleeding symptoms as fibroids but correct diagnosis and investigations, will differentiate the two and ensure correct management moving forward.
What Are the Symptoms of Adenomyosis?
As mentioned previously, adenomyosis has all the same symptoms as endometriosis. Just like endometriosis, some women often have no symptoms (are asymptomatic), and are only diagnosed when they are having issues trying to conceive.
The main symptoms of Adenomyosis are:
- Heavy, prolonged menstrual bleeding
- Severe pain and menstrual cramps
- Abdominal pressure and bloating
- Bladder issues (frequency, urge frequency, incontinence)
Other associated symptoms such are:
- Irregular bleeding
- Pain with bowel movement
- Irritable Bowel like symptoms
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) like symptoms
- Mental and emotional disturbances (depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder)
- Pain with intercourse
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Lack of quality of life
Diagnosis of Adenomyosis.
Ultrasound is the most common (and indeed most useful) first-line imaging tool used to diagnose adenomyosis in a women presenting with any abnormal uterine bleeding. While ultrasound cannot definitively diagnose adenomyosis, it can help to differentiate and rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.
Sometimes saline solution is injected in the uterus at the same time as ultrasound is performed to give better imaging and to help evaluate the symptoms associated with adenomyosis. This is called sono-hysterography.
While trans-vaginal ultrasound (TVU) can be used, it can also miss the disease, especially if the user doesn’t have an expert eye, or extra training, or specialises in the diagnosis of adenomyosis.
MRI is considered a much better tool for the finding of adenomyosis, but it is a more expensive option. Even though ultrasound is a cheaper option, it can be inaccurate.
Blood tests cannot diagnose adenomyosis, or endometriosis.
The only proper way to definitely diagnose adenomyosis is via surgical intervention and a biopsy, but this is rarely done prior to a hysterectomy due to risk factors of damage to the uterine lining. Unlike endometriosis, the disease cannot be excised and the only cure for adenomyosis is hysterectomy.
Treatment and Management Options For Adenomyosis
The treatment and management of adenomyosis will depend in part on your presenting symptoms, their severity, and whether you have completed childbearing.
The medical management options for adenomyosis are usually in the form of hormonal therapy (the Oral Contraceptive Pill, Mirena IUS or other types of progestogen therapy) or surgical.
The surgical options are endometrial ablation, uterine artery embolism and hysterectomy. When considering surgical therapy it must be acknowledged that endometrial ablation and uterine artery embolism is less effective compared with the more definitive but more invasive option of hysterectomy.
Research does show that a significant portion of women, who choose to do endometrial ablation, or uterine artery embolism, will end up needing a hysterectomy. Hysterectomy is not the major procedure it was years ago and many are done laparoscopically and done intravaginally. This also helps with the recovery time. It all gets back to quality of life for many women with endometriosis. This is why hysterectomy is now a better option than other surgical interventions.
While hysterectomy is not something to be taken lightly, we do need to be real about quality of life and the ongoing pain, other associated symptoms, long term bleeding and the dangers of long term anaemia that adenomyosis can cause to a woman. Many women often quote getting their life back and wished that they had the hysterectomy sooner, rather than putting up with the lack of quality of life. Hysterectomy is a cure for adenomyosis, but it is not a cure for endometriosis.
Other Management Options For Women With Adenomyosis
- Medical treatments(pain medications, iron infusions)
- Complementary medicines (Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, vitamins and nutrient support),
- Nutrition and diet
- Counselling & Psychology
- Meditation and Mindfulness
- Pain management clinics
- Exercise therapy(weight baring exercise, resistance training)
- Core strengthening(pilates, yoga)
- Pelvic floor management(Pilates, Kegels Exercises/Kegels balls, Vaginal stone eggs),
For women who do not want to consider surgical options, adenomyosis requires a multimodality/team approach for ongoing management, treatment and support. In most cases it will need a combination of the therapies above, or all of them, in conjunction with medical interventions and medicines.
In nearly all cases, treatment and management is the same as endometriosis, except there needs to be more focus on the heavy bleeding symptoms. I always apply a multi-modality approach to assist all my patients who have adenomyosis, or endometriosis, or both combined.
Mild symptoms may be treated with over-the-counter pain medications, complementary medicines and supplements and the use of heating pads to ease pain and cramps. It is important to talk to your healthcare practitioner about treatment options to suit your individual needs and individual symptoms.
Outlook For Women With Adenomyosis
Adenomyosis is not a life-threatening condition, although if some symptoms, such as anaemia and emotional disturbances, aren’t managed properly, or early on, it could potential be life threatening. Many of the symptoms such as heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, pain with intercourse, anaemia and bladder and bowel issues can, and do negatively impact a woman’s life.
Women with adenomyosis are often anaemic and long-term anaemia can have serious health consequences. See my post of serious consequences of iron deficiency. Click here
Many women with adenomyosis, if not all, will need an iron infusion if their iron levels are low. See my post “Could you need an Iron Infusion?”
While surgical options such as hysterectomy can cure adenomyosis, there are both medical and complementary medicines available that may help alleviate the symptoms of adenomyosis.
Adenomyosis and associated symptoms can resolve on their own after menopause. If women have endometriosis as well, they will often require ongoing treatment and management after hysterectomy, as hysterectomy does not cure endometriosis. As mentioned previously, hysterectomy will cure adenomyosis.
Anyone with symptoms of adenomyosis should consult a medical specialist, a healthcare practitioner that specialises in adenomyosis and endometriosis.
If you do need help and assistance with the management of adenomyosis, the please call my friendly staff to find out how I may be able to assist you. My motto is ‘no stone left unturned’ and I apply this to every person I see and help. I also have a network of other healthcare professionals I work with as well.
-No Stone Left Unturned
-Master of Women’s Health Medicine and Master of Reproductive Medicine
-The Endometriosis Experts (incorporating adenomyosis as well)
1 in 10 women are diagnosed with endometriosis and it often takes up to 10 years to be diagnosed. The number 10 seems to be a recurring theme. So, for this post I am going to talk about the 10 common mistakes seen with endometriosis. Hopefully this helps to create some more awareness about this horrible disease and helps those who are suffering, or have not been diagnosed yet.
Below are the ten common mistakes I see with endometriosis.
1. Believing surgery has cured their disease
Many people with endometriosis are often led to believe, or have been told, that once they have surgery that their endometriosis is cured.
There is no cure for endometriosis, so surgery is not a cure. Hysterectomy is not a cure either.
All surgery does is deal with the expressed disease and that is it. It does not prevent further regrowth of the microscopic implants of endometriosis that are waiting to express and develop into lesions again. While surgery is a very valid medical option to address acute pain caused by the disease, it is not a cure. It only helps with symptomatic relief.
2. Not doing follow-up management of the disease after surgery
We know that despite the best medical interventions that women with endometriosis often will still be in pain, or have further expression and regrowth of the disease.
As mentioned previously, surgery is a valid treatment option for acute pain and for when hormones and medications are not working. But, from my experience I do see many have the surgery and then are not doing any ongoing management, except for pain medications. This isn’t necessarily the person’s own fault either. Many are also poorly managed post surgery and are not aware that they will need ongoing management of their disease state. As mentioned, many are literally just unaware that their disease can, and will grow back without ongoing support and healthcare management. It is crucial that all women with endometriosis receive ongoing care and management of their disease from an appropriately trained endometriosis expert.
3. Endometriosis care requires a multimodality/team approach
There is no one single medicine, or modality, that can effectively deal with endometriosis and this is why a multimodality/team approach is needed.
Surgery is just one treatment approach, which is also needed to definitively diagnose the disease, and then for when the disease is acute and nothing else is working. But surgery alone is not adequate to deal with the disease as a stand alone therapy.
Endometriosis is estrogen driven so there does need to be some form of progesterone support to help suppress further expression of the disease. This can be in varying forms and something I will discuss in another post.
There also need to be support of the microbiome and working on the microcirculation to the pelvic area and reproductive organs. There also need to be ongoing emotional support and care such as counselling, or psychology
There also needs to be dietary changes (low inflammatory based diet), physiotherapy, exercise, complementary medicines, acupuncture, nutritional medicine other modalities. All of this can be done alongside ongoing medications and medical support. Each individual with the disease has different symptoms and will require different multimodality care and support, based on their individual needs.
4. Not seeing the right surgeon
I know I always talk about it, but this is because many who are suffering from endometriosis and the associated symptoms, just have not seen the right person in the first place.
In every profession there is good and bad. There are those who specialise in a certain area, and there are those who don’t. The same goes for medicine and the same goes for surgeons too.
When needing a diagnosis, or surgical intervention for endometriosis, it is imperative to see an advanced trained laparoscopic surgeon who specialises in the excision of endometriosis. This way you also know that this surgeon is not only advanced trained and highly skilled, but also specialises in endometriosis and every aspect of it.
Not all gynaecologists and surgeons specialise in endometriosis and some dabble in it and are not highly skilled in the actual surgical requirements to effectively excise the disease properly. Some surgeons do not even do excision surgery and tend to just to ablation only. This is not how you surgical deal with endometriosis.
These advanced trained surgeons also have to do a certain number of surgeries per year to attain the status of being advanced trained. Someone who does a few surgeries here and there is definitely not advanced trained. These advanced trained surgeons also do extra years of surgical training and are the best of the best and why anyone who is suspected of having endometriosis, or has endometriosis need to see these surgeons only.
Too many women are under-serviced surgical, by poorly skilled surgeons, who are not specialised in endometriosis and who are not advanced trained and this is where all the problems start. It can also lead to making the patient worse and only leads to further suffering and years of pain as a result. It also means that the advanced trained surgeons then have to fix up the mess these other surgeons created.
The hard thing is some women are limited by demographic and location when it comes to being able to see an advanced trained surgeon. Unfortunately most of them do private work, and any in the public system have long waiting lists and may only do one day a week public surgical lists. You may not even get to see them unless you see them privately first and they put you on there public waiting list.
5. Not seeking help and intervention early enough
There is two parts to this that need attention and need discussion. We know that it often takes up to 10 years (or more) to be diagnosed with endometriosis. This means that a hell of a lot of women are being missed and dismissed by GP’s, allied healthcare practitioners, complementary medicine practitioners, specialists and so forth. This isn’t meant to be negative, or an attack on any one profession. These are the facts and something that cannot be ignored. It also needs to be discussed.
Then we also have parents waiting way too long to seek help for daughters, using the wait and see if it will go away approach. I see this often and I am often getting asked if a parent should just wait and see if their daughters pain will magically disappear. I often have to point out that if my daughter was passing out, or laying on a bathroom floor crying with pain, I would not be waiting to see if it was going to go away. Early intervention is the key to any disease. The wait and see approach is often the reason many women end up with years of fertility issues and years of pain, and other associated symptoms of endometriosis. The longer a disease is left to spread, the more damage it does, and the harder it is to treat.
Teenagers are not too young to have endometriosis and we are now seeing young girls as young as 5 years old having endometriosis found.
The other issue we see if women who know that they have the disease, putting off seeing someone for fear of more surgery, or fear of being dismissed. Again, this only leads to further complications and disease growth and thing being harder to treat.
Once a woman has endometriosis, the reality is that she may need further surgical intervention. But, it is needed to help with symptomatic relief and reduce inflammatory response in the body. The other thing is that by going and seeing someone who specialises in endometriosis, they are trained to help you manage your disease properly.
There may also be some non-surgical options that can be used and help with symptoms and disease management as well. But, you need to go in the first place, to get the help you need. Please do not put off getting your health and disease state managed properly. If you are in a bad place with your disease, make sure you get on that phone and book yourself in with someone who specialises in endometriosis.
6. Trying to manage the disease by yourself
I’ve covered this a bit in the last statement, but so often I see women trying to manage endometriosis themselves. This only leads to a vicious cycle that keeps going around and around and nothing good ever comes of it. The disease does not get managed properly, the symptoms get worse and then it all becomes way harder to effectively treat and manage.
Sometimes if things are left too long, there can be permanent damage that is not repairable. This is definitely why people should not try to manage their own disease and symptoms themselves.
If your disease state and associated symptoms are out of control and you aren’t being managed properly, please get on that phone and book in to see someone as soon as possible. Do not put it off any longer. Now is the time to do something about it, not tomorrow, or next year.
7. Getting medical advice from support groups
I am a big advocator of anyone with a long-term health issue receiving emotional and physical support. It is a must. But, it needs to be via trained professionals who are specialised to help you properly.
While I am also a big fan of support groups, I am not a fan of non-medically trained, non-healthcare people giving healthcare and medical advice to people within these groups. I love seeing the emotional support in these groups, but I don’t love it when I see people getting medical advice about medications, hormones and medical procedures. This is dangerous. I’ve even seen advice given on how to take ones own IUD out and this is when I have to speak out.
By getting medication advice, medical advice, surgical advice and any other healthcare advice from someone who is not appropriately trained, you are actually putting yourself in great danger. Please do not take the advice of anyone who is not a healthcare practitioner, or a specialist in endometriosis. Sure, get the emotional support from like minded people, and people who understand what you are going through, but leave it there.
The other thing is just being careful of not getting caught up in some of the negativity of some groups, where you also then start to focus and become your disease. You are not your disease and to move forward you need proper healthcare and lots of positivity.
8. Letting pain and associated symptoms get out of hand
Some of this I’ve also spoken about, but this is one thing I see often as well. Many people are at a point of self-managing with pain medications that are not working effectively any longer. This then leads to increased reliance and dependence of pain medications and it can also lead to increase pain and associated symptoms.
I have talked about pain medications and the withdrawal affects in previous posts. I have also talked about how increased pain medication use can actually cause pain and lead to further inflammation in the body. I have also talked about the addiction of pain medications too. It is a catch 22 situation. (Click here to see previous posts mentioned)
The point I am trying to make here is that if your pain levels and associated symptoms are getting out of hand, then you need to do something about it. Please do not try and manage your pain and symptoms on your own. Increasing your medications can have detrimental effects on your body and long term health consequences.
If you have to increase your pain medications, it means something is drastically wrong and that your pain levels need urgent professional attention. Your endometriosis expert/specialist is trained to help you get your pain levels and associated symptoms managed properly.
There may also be something else going on that could be sinister and require urgent medical attention. Never presume that all your symptoms are related to your disease. Seeking proper medical health and ongoing management, could just save your life.
9. Buying into the label and letting your disease own you
Having a chronic health condition myself, I know all too well how easy it is to fall it the trap of buying into the label of the disease. I also know all too well by doing this, you are letting the disease own you.
I also understand how hard it is on the bad days, not to get down about everything and think that there is no help, and how unfair things are. Yep, I truly get it. But, I also know that the more one focuses on the negative, and constantly lives in the disease state, the harder it is to truly move forward and get better.
Our thoughts and being negative can exacerbate pain pathways and they can also disrupt the healing pathways as well. If you listen to people that have overcome and illness, or a disease, they will always tell you it was by getting the right help and being positive. Positive mental outlook is very underrated in healthcare and its healing effects.
This is why I sometimes mention about being careful in certain support groups, where the focus is constantly on the disease, the label, and the negative. It isn’t good for anyone when that is all you hear. You need support, but you need to surround yourself with positive people, see the right healthcare team and also remember that you are not your disease, and it does not own you.
10. Believing that there is no help out there
I know many people have had a hard time and some have really had a terrible journey getting to where they are now. It is one of the reasons I am so big on giving people the facts about this horrible disease and trying to help women get the proper help they need. It is also the reason I do what I do now.
Having lived with a chronic disease and having dealt with my share of really bad experiences, I know all too well what many of you have been through. I thoroughly get it and I understand on all levels.
While many people have been missed and dismissed and many have seen their fair share of terrible healthcare practitioners, I do need to point out that there are some very good ones also. Never let your last experience by carried over with you. Not all healthcare practitioners are bad. There are actually some amazing practitioners out there who are experts in endometriosis.
Like I have said before, in every profession there is good and bad and this is why it is important to do your homework. Don’t just go off a friend’s recommendation, or some recommendation from your mother. Do your homework and make sure the person you are seeing actually specialises in your disease. You also need to be realistic that you need a multimodality team approach, and that you may need to see a few practitioners within a network of specialists.
When you do find someone you think may fit the profile of a true endometriosis specialist, make sure when you see them that they take a full history, listen to all your concerns, give you appropriate care and advice and are empathetic in helping you move forward with appropriate care and health management.
The one thing I tell people is to not go in with a negative attitude based on previous bad experience either. This can then lead to further angst and anxiety and could get a good practitioner offside too. At the same time, while you need to not take your last experience with you, you do need to make sure the person you are seeing is right for you. It is all about balance and not judging each person you see as being the same.
But, if the person you do see has no idea, then don’t be scared to say “Thanks, but not thanks” and be on your merry way. There is no harm in getting multiple opinions and the honest truth is that is what you need to do. Never just take ones person’s advice and be done with it. Get a second, or third, or tenth opinion if you have too.
Last, but not least, if you are struggling and are at a point you believe there is nobody to help you, please remember there is always someone out there. Never give up hope about that. There are some amazing people out there who will know how to help you properly and get you the help and care you need. You just need to find them. There are endometriosis experts out there and when you find them, they will help you.
If you do need help and assistance with endometriosis, or need help getting diagnosed properly, please give my staff a call, or send an email, and find out how I may be able to assist you. I do consultations in person and online as well. There are some conditions with online consultations, but my staff will explain all this too you. You may also need to come and see me in person, so I can make sure you get all the appropriate investigations and testing done too. I also have a team of experts I work and refer to as well. I do see people from all over Australia, far and wide, and some from overseas as well.
-No Stone Left Unturned
-The Endometriosis Experts
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has just released a report on Endometriosis – “Prevalence and hospitalisations”. I thought it was important to talk about this and share this information in a previous post.
When I did post this information on social media, with an explanation about endometriosis being more than just period pain, someone had commented and congratulated me for acknowledging that endometriosis has other associated symptoms as well.
One of the things I see with media reporting on anything to do with endometriosis, is that they always refer to endometriosis as just being about period pain. So I wanted to talk about the importance of recognising that endometriosis is more than just period pain.
Endometriosis has many other associated symptoms and is more than just period pain, which it is often portrays it as in the media. Endometriosis flares can happen at anytime and aren’t always related to a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Have a listen to my latest video post about this subject and some other useful information to know about endometriosis.
Hey everyone. I’ve just recently put up a post about the facts about why hysterectomy does not cure endometriosis.
It seems this is a very contentious issue and many people are not understanding the facts, or how endometriosis presents in the body. I also think that some people just haven’t read the actual article, as I do explain all of the reasons why.
But, it does seem some people are still not getting the reasons why, or have been told the wrong things. As usual, I am here to give the facts and this is what I am here to do with this post.. Give the facts.
I am sorry for many of the journeys you have been on too and that some of you are not being listened too as well. That is why I am here. To raise awareness and give the facts and help women with endometriosis have a voice.
This is to also raise awareness about adenomyosis too. Many really do not realise that they have this disease state, or have it coinciding with endometriosis as well.
So, I have done up the video blog to explain things in more detail and hopefully it helps all of you understand things better. It is also so people can see a visual explanation and see why hysterectomy will not “Cure” endometriosis.
In my recent post Getting a Handle on Pain with Proper Pain Management, I talked about the need for getting help with pain and how important it is to manage pain properly. But most of that was focussing on the medical side of things. But we also know that even with the best medical care, people are still in pain. So what is the answer is this approach is not working?
This is where we need to look at the Non-Medical ways to manage pain and look at an individualised and multimodality care approach to give people the best care and clinical management of pain possible.
Let’s have a look at what some of the Non-Medical options are first.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
One modality that may assist in managing long-term pain is Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). This medicine has been around much longer than modern medicine and it is very effective. There is now research to show that Acupuncture and TCM is not only assist with treatments for pain and pain management, but it may be equivalent to the effects of some of our strong pain medications, when it is administered properly by a trained healthcare provider and with a series of treatments. It is also being used in mainstream hospitals for pain management too. While acupuncture may be effective for pain, there is no such thing as a one off treatment for any medicine and we all need to remember that.
There is also an amazing therapy called Biomesotherapy, also known as biopuncture. It combines the use of acupuncture and also uses injectable saline and anti-inflammatories into the acupuncture points. Local anaesthetics and pharmaceutical injectable pain killers can also be injected into the acupuncture points and this is how it has been used in parts of Europe for over 50 years by main stream medicine. It may be affective for acute pain.
Chinese Herbal Medicines
There are also Chinese herbal formulas that may assist with pain and pain management and they may also help with the root cause of your pain as well. Again these aren’t a one off treatment and require a course of treatment to get the true benefits. You don’t just take one antibiotic, or one pain medicine and it fixes your issue and the same goes for herbal medicines. What we also need to remember is that up to 50% of our pharmaceuticals are actually derived from herbal compounds.
Chiropractic & Osteopathy
There are also some other great complementary therapies that may help pain. Chiropractic and Osteopathy may help with skeletal pain and may also help with realigning sublaxations that are impinging on nerves and may be causing pain. Both modalities may assist in helping balance the body as a whole.
Yoga & Pilates
Yoga and Pilates may help with pain by rebalancing the body, working on the core and also by assisting the body to relax. There is a bit more to it than that, but they can help. There is now some good research out there to support the use of these modalities.
Massage & Complementary Medicines
Massage may also help with pain and pain management. There are also other herbal medicines that can help too. You need to see a qualified massage therapist and qualified complementary medicine practitioner to get the best care and advice with either of these modalities.
Your healthcare provider, or herbalist, can assist you by consulting with you and helping manage your condition. Just like medical interventions and pharmaceuticals, you should never self-prescribe and always consult with someone who is qualified in their particular profession. They can also administer you practitioner only medicines that are far stronger and more clinically efficient that over the counter products. It is the same in modern medicine too.
Physiotherapy can help with pain management and rehabilitation and women with pelvic pain may need a physiotherapist that can help with pelvic floor physiotherapy and that can do work internally. This is a specialist area though. Physiotherapy also fits into the medical model of pain management too.
Pulse Magnetic Therapy & TENS
Pulse magnetic therapy and TENS (Transcutaneous Electro Neuro Stimulator) may help with pain and ongoing pain management. While many people have heard of TENS, not many have heard of Pulse Magnetic Therapy and this is something that may assist with chronic pain and also pelvic floor instability and incontinence. There is such good research to support this as well. Many urodynamic specialists are now using pulse magnetic therapy in their clinics.
Let’s not forget the power of a healthy diet, when it comes to pain. Diets high in processed foods and sugars and refined grains, alcohol etc promote inflammation. Then inflammation causes pain and may make conditions causing pain worse. I always assess people’s diets, when they have pain, or health issues.
Exercise may also assist with pain by helping with stress levels and helping with increasing blood flow into the muscles and brain and also helping with endorphins into the body. Again exercise can be a catch 22 situation. Some people are in so much people that they cannot even contemplate exercise. But, with starting out slowly and a step by step approach, little by little, exercise can help with controlling pain and getting the body back to optimum health again.
Counselling and Mindfulness
Lastly, talk therapy and counselling and mindfulness training is probably some of the most underrated therapies for the ongoing management of pain. I can’t say this enough. Our brain is what controls all our senses and unless we learn to control stress and quieting our mind, then managing pain is so much harder. I also know it can be a catch 22 situation too, but it is needed. While support groups and talking with friends is great, it cannot compare to the help from a trained professional, who has the appropriate years of training and is specialised in their particular field, or profession.
Important Things To Remember
Oh, and please don’t get your medical advice from people on support groups either. I see this so often and it really scares me what I see and hear. I know they are well meaning and their support is great for you, but they are not a trained professional and this could be very dangerous. Let’s not forget that everyone has different needs according to their condition.
What medication, or therapy, one person is on, or taking, may make another ill, or actually make someone else worse. Please do not Dr Google either. A degree in Dr Google, doesn’t make one a healthcare expert and much of the medical advice on Dr Google is not right. Sure, be educated and be informed, but be careful too. Always consult with a healthcare professional for any health advice, or before trying to do something to manage your health.
Pain is something that we have all experienced, but it is not something that should be endured either. Of course there are individual cases that are just off the charts and require a whole different level of management. These people I feel sorry for the most. While some of these cases may never have their pain gone completely, with the right treatment most of them can be managed to some form of normalcy.
For the rest of the population, most pain can be treated if intervention is administered early enough and there is good ongoing management moving forward. The problem for many is that they aren’t being managed properly and many are trying to just do it themselves. That isn’t going to work. Some people just leave it too long too. The longer you leave pain not managed, the harder it is to treat.
You may also need that multimodality (team approach) for some conditions such as endometriosis and gynaecological conditions. Some other causes of pain will need this too. For others, they just need to see the right people and once they do, their pain can be treated, or managed really well. In many cases, it can be fixed completely.
There is no magic pill
Always remember that there is no such thing as a one off magic treatment for pain, or any health issues, and that there is no miracle one off magic pill to fix pain either.
Even though pain needs to be managed with medications sometimes, it isn’t always the answer either. People need look at treating the cause of their pain and also looking at other therapies outside of modern medicine too. This is where individualised treatments and treatment/management plans are the best, because everyone is different in what they are experiencing and what their particular issue is.
I have seen the amazing effects of a combination of therapies, or stand-alone therapies, in the treatment of pain and its ongoing management. If you aren’t getting the answers you need, with who you are seeing, or what you are currently doing, then you need to look outside the box, think outside the box and start finding treatments and healthcare people that can help you and your particular health issue.
Never underestimate the body’s power to heal itself with proper care and never underestimate the power of a second, or tenth opinion.
Getting proper help and care
If you aren’t getting the help you need, then book in a consult with me and I will do my best to get you the help and care you deserve and should be getting. I also have a great network of trusted professionals I work with if it is outside something that I do, or if you need that team approach for your condition. I have my trusted team and that is what you may need too.
One more things, for anyone, pain is the sign that something is wrong in the body and means it needs to be addressed. Oh and always remember, period pain is not normal either.
Dr Andrew Orr
-No Stone Left Unturned
-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate
– The Headache, Migraine and Pain Experts