How to explain endometriosis to a man?
How to explain endometriosis to a man? Things you wish you knew sooner!
Last updated: 26/2/2021
Why is this post the best answer to the question of how to explain endometriosis to a man?
Because you won’t find a better source of information than from a man whose wife has stage IV deep infiltrating endometriosis.
Here’s your answer:
Before you begin, choose the right time to tell him, when he’s at most relaxed.
Be open with your man, talk honestly about your symptoms, how they affect you, and how they might affect him.
He needs to know that your pain, bleeding, and fatigue that follows, may change your plans sometimes.
Explain the importance of sex which can be very painful, and that you will have to find ways to work around it together.
Be supportive of your man. Remember, you’re not the only one affected, he lives through this with you.
Be sure to listen to what he has to say, and be understanding. Your man may experience the same emotions that you have, including anger and helplessness.
Table of Contents:
The male point of view.
So, why this post would give you the best answer to the question of how to explain endometriosis to a man?
We see so much information about endometriosis from the perspective of those who suffer from this condition.
We also see a lot from doctors who speak about it in clinical terms.
It is rare, however, to find information from the perspective of someone for whom actually this topic should be explained to.
You won’t find a better answer than from a man himself.
Because you will need to explain it to him in a male sort of way of understanding.
My wife has stage IV deep infiltrating endometriosis. I’ve learned a lot from her over the period of 13 years.
I’m a man who raises awareness about the unspoken challenges of spousal caregivers, helping other men support their wives.
I’m a husband behind a chronically ill woman who suffers from endometriosis and fibromyalgia.
If you were interested, I write about both illnesses because sufferers often find that they have more conditions than one.
Today I answer how to explain endometriosis to a man from my own perspective.
Those who have endometriosis know all too well what it’s like to live with this life-changing disease.
It can be difficult for a man to understand the impact endometriosis has on a woman’s life if you have never suffered with it yourself.
So, without further ado, here are 6 things I’ve learned, that will help your man understand endometriosis better…
It's not just a bad period!
Gents, the reason why I decided to help women answer how to explain endometriosis to a man is because endometriosis is a really serious disease.. It is NOT just a bit of pain while she’s on her period.
Endo (for short) can affect every part of her life, causing problems not only during her reproductive life, but it can also sometimes continue after menopause.
Endometriosis cells react in the same way as if she was on her period, except these cells aren’t inside of her womb, they are located outside.
During her cycle, hormones stimulate endo. This causes it to grow, then break down and bleed.
Unlike her period, this bleeding is internal.
What does it mean? This blood has no way of leaving the body. This results in a buildup of inflammation and scarring.
This inflammation may cause surrounded organs to become “glued” together in a web of scar tissue called “adhesions”. It literally looks like a spider web.
These adhesions cause chronic pain and may interfere with the function of nearby organs, such as the bowel, bladder, or ovaries.
Endometriosis can also form cysts on her ovaries. Some cysts are known as endometrioma, or “chocolate cysts” (filled with blood), and they can cause intense pain. If they rupture, everything spills out into the pelvic cavity, leading to more adhesions.
Pain can affect your partner at any time, not just during her period. Some women might get pain only while they bleed, other will be in pain every day.
She might be feeling good and then have a sudden onset of pain. It’s called “stabbing pain” because it feels like you’re being stabbed! Sometimes my M can predict when her pain will be worse, but endometriosis usually is unpredictable.
This pain can take many forms:
- Pain in her lower tummy or back (pelvic pain) which is usually worse during her period.
- Period pain that stops her from doing normal activities.
- Pain during or after sex.
- Cramping during intercourse.
- Pain when peeing or pooing during her period.
- Cramping or pain during bowel movements or urination.
- Pain during pelvic examinations.
Endometriosis pain isn’t always just in her abdominal area. Be aware of that!
Like period pain, it is felt in her abdominal area, but unlike period pain, it can also radiate to many other body parts. This includes her back, legs, chest, neck, shoulders and even arms. It can also cloud her mind and make it hard to concentrate and focus.
What else comes to ones mind asking how to explain endometriosis to a man? Well, pain is invisible!
FREE Printables for Her:
- Fibromyalgia symptoms checklist
- Endometriosis period pain tracker
- Body pain chart
Yes my friend – this is an invisible illness! Endometriosis is hidden inside women’s bodies, so you can’t see it.
Please keep this in mind that when your partner speaks out about her disease she might look okay, but please understand that very often she will have to take a variety of medications before she even begins her day.
Having endometriosis isn’t easy. Just being okay is a full-time job!
You have to support her the best way you can, even with simple chores you normally wouldn’t do. I hate cleaning, and here I am, I find myself washing, vacuuming, scrapping, cleaning twice a week.
It has to come from your own initiative, don’t wait for her to ask you. Just because we cannot see their illness or pain my friends, it doesn’t mean they don’t suffer!
No single medication or treatment works for everyone. It works for some, don’t get me wrong, but you will find what I have to say next pretty interesting…
Because every woman is unique, it makes it difficult to find a treatment that will help them cope with the symptoms. Unfortunately, treatment is rarely as simple as taking a few painkillers is a wrong approach.
Hear me out folks!
People believe that treatment options come only under three categories:
- hormone treatment
- pain relief
So far, laparoscopic surgery is the best (not permanent) solution. Unless endometriosis is removed entirely, pain will almost always come back, and that means – more surgeries.
In my humble opinion and M’s experience, medications such as pain relief and hormones don’t help as much as three other components:
- endometriosis focused diet
- avoidance of stress
- holistic approach (acupuncture, meditation, CBD, etc…)
The management of chronic pain has the same approach as any other chronic condition which lacks a cure. It’s about improving the quality of life and functioning.
Chronic pain management requires:
- Medical optimization (CBD for example).
- Physical reconditioning (rehabilitation).
- Behavioral, lifestyle modification (pain psychologist).
- Helping people become more aware of what these factors are, and how they influence pain, is a big part of behavioral and lifestyle modification.
People often think that they need to belong to only one of these categories, but in order to effectively treat chronic pain, we need to consider all the factors.
When it comes to endometriosis pain, chronic pain doesn’t have a cure, and the only way to manage it is to learn to live with it.
How to learn to live with pain?
Pain affects many aspects of your life:
- Family, friends.
- Work, school.
- Sports, leisure.
- Vacations, hobbies.
- Socializing, entertainment.
- Cooking, cleaning, errands.
Neglect of the management of chronic pain, or the wrong, acute approach, will impact you not only physically, but also mentally and financially.
Medication is very good for pain. But it is good for trauma pain, such as acute one.
Medication is not good for chronic pain! It’s a powerful tool but comes with plenty of side effects, therefore needs are perfect for acute pain because it doesn’t require long-term medication.
In order to help you manage your pain, the answer is in this very sentence – you need to manage it!
What does it mean?
- address her emotional state
- she needs to avoid stress
- learn to breathe
- follow endo-diet
- exercise lightly
Diagnosis is crucial answering how to explain endometriosis to a man because endometriosis isn’t easy to diagnose.
It takes, on average 7,5 years. Not many doctors understand endometriosis, neither they can see it, and there is no blood test to confirm or eliminate possibility of this disease.
The only way to diagnose endometriosis is through invasive surgery, which can create complications itself. It’s laparoscopy!
So why does it take so long to diagnose this common (1 in 10 women) disease, despite the fact it has a profound impact on the quality of women’s lives?
Part of the problem is that common symptoms like period pain, pain during sex, pelvic pain, and discharge, can be explained by other, even more common conditions.
Symptoms of endometriosis are commonly confused with those of infections, STDs, and IBS.
It takes a long time to diagnose because women have to go through the usual process of:
- Being disbelieved by the doctor, who usually say that “periods should hurt” or “it’s your anxiety dear…” That is frustrating and takes on average few visits before he take you seriously.
- Pelvic exams. It can take a long time for a woman to be referred to a gynaecologist from their GP.GPs have busy clinics and only ten minutes per patient.
After that, women are usually referred for Ultrasound and if that doesn’t show it (it doesn’t), they are referred for MRI, which again, has only 2% of successful discovery.
- Only when all the above processes fail, Laparoscopy will 100% confirm your diagnosis.
Phew… Now you see what our ladies are going through.
A word of advice!
To speed up the process of her diagnosis, you – the man – have to go with your partner to her GP and hospital appointments.
Whenever a man is by the woman’s side, she is being taken seriously. If additionally, you confirm her symptoms, she will skip a few years of pain and other struggles.
Unfortunately, we still live in the society where men don’t take women’s problems seriously. BE THERE MY MAN!
There is no cure!
There’s no point in dwelling about it, so, in a nutshell…
At some point after diagnosis, both of you will be told that something will cure endometriosis. Thay will try to tell you porky pies such as:
- changes to your diet
The list goes on! Unfortunately, this is rubbish! Diet may calm the severity of her symptoms, but in the end, as for today, there is no cure for endometriosis.
Your partner can still develop endometriosis after having a child, so don’t fall for that my friends!
Although the majority of women with endometriosis will be told that pregnancy can cure their endometriosis, for many it will come back. There also are some women who will develop symptoms of endometriosis only after having a child.
When you are a professional caregiver, your job may last a few hours at a time.
However, when you care for a chronically ill loved one, the demands of caregiving are completely different and often can be really exhausting, and overwhelming.
But there are steps you can take to rein in stress and regain a sense of balance, joy, and hope in your life.
A quick recap ladies and gentlemen… How to explain endometriosis to a man? Things you wish you knew sooner!
- Choose to speak to him when he’s relaxed.
- Be open with your man, talk honestly how you feel.
- Explain the importance of pain during sex.
- Be supportive of your man, he lives through this with you.
- Be sure to listen to what he has to say.
- It’s not just a bad period! It’s chronic and painful.
- Endometriosis pain can stop her from doing basic stuff.
- It is an invisible illness but it is real.
- The management is about improving the quality of her life and functioning.
- Diagnosis takes, on average 7,5 years. Be there to speed things up!
- There is no cure! But you are her greatest gift and support.
That’s all folks! Remember guys that the best gift you can give to your chronically ill partner isyur unconditional love and support!
Check out my guide to loving a woman with endometriosis…
Who am I?
Hi, I’m Lucjan! The reason why I decided to create this blog was my beautiful wife, who experienced a lot of pain in life, but also the lack of information for those who support their partners… [read more]
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