Coping with endometriosis

by Lone Hummelshoj

Endometriosis is a mystery – an enigma! We do not know the origin of the disease. We do not know why it causes such extreme symptoms in some women, and not in others. The treatment options can be – let’s be honest: a bit “hit and miss”.

And, unfortunately, because endometriosis is associated with menstruation, sex, infertility, and pain (all taboo subjects in most societies) it is a disease that is not well known, understood, or accepted in the general public.

This is frustrating for those who suffer from endometriosis, and for those who care for someone with the disease.

Frustration all around

However, it is also frustrating for those, who try to treat women with endometriosis: the physicians, who cannot guarantee a cure or complete symptom relief, are also left with a feeling of “defeat”: of not being able to provide their patients with a pain free life, or a promise of a much-longed for baby.

Doctors want to cure, but in endometriosis, there isn’t a cure – yet.

Because physicians see patients for short amounts of time, and these visits often are about specific aspects of the disease, the true chronic aspect and full scope of endometriosis may not always be apparent.

What we have to realise is that chronic conditions need ongoing medical care, including regular follow-up, information, and a good relationship with the health care provider:

→ how to talk with your physician

Learning to cope

What many women with endometriosis may end up having to accept is that we may need to learn how to live with and manage chronic pain, deal with infertility, and how to increase coping skills and regain control of our lives if we have not been fortunate enough to find a treatment, which adequately takes care of our syptoms.

There is no single prescription or blue print for coping – people use a number of different ways to cope, different methods work for different individuals, and some may wish to consult with different health care providers, including:

  • physiotherapists (improving posture and getting pelvic muscles back into shape)
  • counsellors/psychologists (talking through how it is like to live with a chronic disease)
  • nutritionists (eating well certainly does not make you feel worse)
These articles may be helpful

Psychology and endometriosis
by Vicki O’Donnell

Dietary modification to alleviate endometriosis symptoms
by Dian Shepperson Mills and Mark Perloe

Endometriosis: be good to yourself!
by Ellen T Johnson

Painful intercourse
by Ellen T Johnson and Lone Hummelshoj

What do I tell others about endometriosis?
by Ellen T Johnson

When others do not understand
by Ellen T Johnson

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