How to talk to your doctor about endometriosis? Endometriosis advice for couples.
How to talk to your doctor about endometriosis?
Being a partner of someone who suffers from endometriosis I found a way to talk to your doctor about endometriosis. I attended most of my wife’s hospital and doctor’s appointments.
Take your symptoms diary with you. Prepare questions you want to ask your doctor. Have a man present with you so your doctor takes you more seriously than if you were alone, plus you will have a witness confirming your symptoms.
To help you more, here’s a list of questions you should consider asking your doctor:
- What is your treatment plan for me?
- How will we know if this treatment is working?
- What are the benefits?
- What are the risks?
- How long is this treatment?
- Are there other alternatives?
- Will I need more treatments or procedures in the future?
- What would happen if I did nothing?
- What is your approach to pain relief?
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- What is endometriosis?
- What are the symptoms?
- What causes endometriosis?
- What does endometriosis look like?
- What are the stages?
- What are the types?
- What is adenomyosis and how is it related to endometriosis?
- Why do some women develop severe endo and others don’t?
- Does endometriosis cause infertility?
- How is endometriosis diagnosed?
- Do types and stages affect the treatment?
- Recurrence of endometriosis after excision surgery.
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It is vital for a woman with endometriosis to be able to communicate effectively with her doctor. After discussing things with my wife I found out that talking to your doctor about endometriosis can go good or bad for two reasons – he either believes you or gaslights you.
It usually depends on you attend your appointment alone or not. Most doctors are male so if a man is present at your appointment, you will be taken more seriously as the presence of a man by your side will make your doctor warier of what he says.
Women are often gaslighted by their doctors due to the fact that endometriosis symptoms are invisible (until laparoscopy proves otherwise), and they are being told it’s all in their heads, that it’s only stress and anxiety.
Knowing how to talk to your doctor about endometriosis is having a man by your side. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend or a family member, however, partners are always the best.
He will advocate for you, confirm what you’re going through, won’t let you be medically gaslighted, remind you if you were to forget to say something, support you if you’re having a flareup.
Before your appointment…
There are some things you can do to encourage a positive outcome when talking to your doctor about endometriosis. Make a list of questions you’d like to ask your doctor. To remind you, here are the most important ones:
- What is his treatment plan for you?
- How will you know if this treatment is going to work?
- What are the benefits?
- What are the risks?
- How long will the treatment take?
- Are there other options than surgery?
- Will you need more treatments or procedures in the future?
- What would happen if you left endometriosis untreated?
- What is his approach to pain relief?
During the appointment…
After you greet the doctor, clearly say what you came for. Tell him that you have been having a lot of pelvic pain for at least two weeks every month (even if it is less than two). Explain that over-the-counter painkillers don’t help and you’d like to find the reason for this continued pain and find some way to deal with it.
DO NOT minimize your symptoms or be vague in any way. Don’t say things such as “it’s probably nothing”. Don’t feel bad, be specific about your symptoms!
As I mentioned at the beginning, it’s helpful to have a diary of your pain and other symptoms that you recorded daily, so your doctor can see how often you’re in pain, when it occurs, how long it lasts, and the intensity of it.
Ideally, you would show him the exact location of your pain, so sketching a pain map of your body would be a really good way to show the doctor the exact location of your pain, which is helpful in diagnosing and treating endometriosis.
Guess what? I created one for you! You can download it directly below, it’s an easy-to-print A4 size pdf file.
With such information, you can accurately inform your doctor of your symptoms and pain. I’d encourage you to also say something along the lines of:
“Four months ago, I began noticing pain during sex. It’s a deep pulling pain, also burning in sensations, especially during penetration, sometimes even for up to two hours afterward. It also happens most often during ovulation and my period.”
Don’t be embarrassed about your symptoms, your doctor heard it thousands of times before. Be honest!
If you don’t have a diary of your symptoms, write down all of them, plus all the medications you’re currently taking, and include all recent medical records and lab results.
What to do if your doctor doesn’t listen to you?
Again, if your doctor minimizes your symptoms, blames it on stress and anxiety, tells you it’s all in your head, to “just relax,” or worse – if he recommends pregnancy as a treatment, or gives you medication without a thorough exam, you should consider finding another doctor who listens and understands.
Women with endometriosis often endure years of misdiagnosis because no one ever listened to them. You have a right to a second opinion, even though you may have to be persistent to find a doctor who will work with you.
It can be scary to talk to your doctor about endometriosis, to begin with, but if you prepare yourself beforehand, you shouldn’t fear things going wrong.
Remember to take your symptoms diary with you, and if you don’t have one, try to write things down before your appointment, anything you remember.
Don’t forget to prepare questions you want to ask your doctor too. Have a man present with you so your doctor takes you seriously and won’t ignore what you have to say. He will be a witness and confirm all your symptoms.
Finding a good doctor may take some time, but is worth it when you find someone you can trust. Remember to be persistent, not to downplay your symptoms, do research, read, and talk with other women with endometriosis.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about endometriosis!
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 about endometriosis and fibromyalgia for men…