Your periods are painful. Like off the charts painful. You’re bloated and tired all the time. You’re up in the early hours of the morning Googling these and other symptoms and you think you might have endometriosis. So, what’s next?
Book a doctor’s appointment
For peace of mind, it’s always best to know what’s causing your condition than imagining the worst. Make a list of your symptoms and talk to your doctor about what you’re experiencing. Initially, they may conduct a pelvic exam, but will most likely get you to have an ultrasound and/or MRI to investigate in more detail. They then will refer you to a gynaecologist, or a surgeon who specialises in endometriosis and laparoscopic surgery.
If at any stage you feel like you’re not being listened to, or you’re still unsure about everything after your initial appointments, it’s ok to seek a second opinion. It’s your body and you need to feel confident in how to take action with the information that is being told to you.
Learn about endo
Learn about endometriosis and empower yourself with knowledge about the condition. This will also give you more confidence in understanding what’s being said and why your doctor may book you in to get a specific test or refer to you a specific specialist.
You can tie yourself in knots going down the rabbit warren of Dr Google, where much of the information you see may not be medically accurate, or even true! Also, everyone’s experience with endo is different – so what may be true for one person, may not necessarily ring true for you. Seek out trusted sources and medical professionals and ask your doctor as many questions as you like.
Talk to a friend or relative
It can really lighten the mental load when you talk. You might feel scared, anxious or even depressed about learning you have endo. Often, talking to a loved one about how you’re feeling can help. Book in a walk or a trip to a favourite café to have a chinwag.
Take your mum or BFF along to your appointments. They can hold your hand while you’re in the waiting room and can take notes while the doctor examines and chats with you.
Trusted organisations such as Endometriosis Australia can be extremely valuable in finding out more about endo. Check out their online support groups to read, listen and to share your experience with others who have had or are going on a similar journey to you.
Fellow Endo Warriors can be a wonderful ear to empathise with, give tips on how to navigate the medical system, or even to just recommend the best hot water bottles! You’ll feel less alone and more empowered to manage your condition in a way that works for you.
Author: Celia Drummond