14 Apr Pain from Endometriosis
The pain of endometriosis can be a very destructive force in a woman’s life.
For example, a U.S regional study published in the Journal Fertility & Sterility found that endometriosis disrupted various aspects of daily life, including: day-to-day tasks, sexual relations, exercise, sleeping and social situations. Eighty five per cent of women reported reduced quality of work as a result of their endometriosis related pain.
How Endometriosis Works
The impact of a woman’s life due to pain caused by endometriosis is not always visible to those around her, including her family, friends, and even clinicians caring for her. It can be challenging for patients to communicate to their clinicians the extent to which endometriosis pain may be affecting their lives. In a survey of diagnosed endometriosis patients, nearly 1 out of 3 endometriosis patients have a hard time expressing just how much pain they’re still in.
It’s common to physicians to assume that our patients will open up to us and be vocal if they’re in pain, but surprisingly that’s not always the case. Patients may feel embarrassment with discussing symptoms such as dyspareunia (pain with sex) and they may also minimize their pain in order to please their physician.
After 20 years in practice and treating numerous endometriosis cases, as a women’s health clinician, I understand the importance of communication and discussing with my patient how endometriosis is affecting her life.
It’s important to optimize the time clinicians have with their patient by proactively asking about the pain intensity and frequency and the impact of all her endometriosis pain symptoms. At every visit, I ask how unresolved pain not just during her periods, affects her life. Listen for symptoms that occur outside her period, like during sex or going to the bathroom. And listen for any work or other activities that she may have missed because of unresolved pain.
I also encourage frequent follow up visits to help my patients understand their individualized management plan and goals. It’s important to make my patients feel cared for individually and to let them know that theirs an expertly designed plan for their care.
Given the key role that estrogen plays in endometriosis pain, an effective treatment strategy may need to adequately control estrogen levels throughout the ovulatory cycle. Naturopathic medicine uses natural treatments including herbal medicine that can really help, especially with pain.
If you or someone you know suffers with endometriosis, let’s talk…feel free to drop me a line on the “contact us” page on this site and request an appointment. I treat patients locally at my Naturopathic practice in Vancouver, B.C. and worldwide via phone or Skype.
Dr Tasnim Adatya
Naturopathic Physician, Menopause Clinician, Acupuncturist, and Health Educator
- De Graaff AA, D’Hooghe TM, Dunselman GAJ, Dirksen CD, Hummelshoj L, WERF EndoCost Consortium, Simoens S. The significant effect of endometriosis on physical, mental and social wellbeing: results from an international cross-sectional survey. Hum Reprod. 2013;28(10):2677-2685.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Practice bulletin no. 114: management of endometriosis. Obstet Gynecol. 2010;116(1):223-236.
- Vercellini P. Introduction: management of endometriosis: moving toward a problem-oriented and patient-centered approach. Fertil Steril. 2015;104(4):761-763.
- Yeh J, Nagel EE. Patient satisfaction in obstetrics and gynecology: individualized patient-centered communication. Clin Med Insights Womens Health. 2010;3:23-32.