Talking about your endometriosis symptoms can be challenging, but it’s important your doctor has a full understanding of what you’re going through. Learn from the experiences of patients and experts.
Todd Jenkins, MD:I think the biggest thing is that you feel comfortable, you feel heard. And even if I can't help you, hopefully I can at least listen.
Amanda:So often, women with endometriosis are told, "It's not real. It's in your head. You're attention-seeking." And at the end of the day, the pain is real, it is legitimate. And we just need to find a team who actually wants to care for us.
Tresnae:Going to the doctor can be intimidating. Sometimes, you go into the office, you sit there, and you can forget what you wanted to talk about or forget what you mentioned. So, I think in your experience, it's really important to journal so that when you do go to the doctor, you have that journal, and you can truly say, "Hey, for the last two weeks, this is when I'm in pain. This is what I've been eating." The more documentation you can share with your doctor, the more they can advise you and guide you onto the right treatment plan.
Amanda:I always made sure I had someone with me at my appointments because sometimes, like when the doctor is giving me the message, I'm kind of like, my eyes glaze over, it's just because I was scared. Me having another person who isn't me, and can hear it, and then share with me later made all the difference, too.
Jennifer:I never had the option for that. So, it was always me by myself, going to my doctor, advocating for myself. So, I would take in as much as I could, but also ask for the notes that he got during the-that he took during the meeting, and then I would call my mom pretty much immediately after and tell her exactly what I was going through.
Fransheska:Definitely, please don't take no for an answer. Go for your second referral, your third or fourth referral. You're going to have to keep doing your research. You're going to-
Jennifer:Yeah, you have to advocate for yourself.
Tresnae:Yeah, you're your biggest advocate.
Todd Jenkins, MD:Definitely be as open and honest as you can.
Anila Ricks-Cord, MD:Give me some idea about the pain. So, is it stabbing? Some people have achy pain. Does the pain go anywhere?
Todd Jenkins, MD:The more detail you can provide, the better. Make sure that both you and they are ready to devote the amount of time it takes to understand truly how your symptoms are affecting you individually, and how they're preventing you from being the woman you want to be.
Anila Ricks-Cord, MD:Your relationship with your physician, as a general rule, should be one that's built on trust.
Todd Jenkins, MD:I hope you're seeing someone who has established that their office is a safe space. I'm honored every day by the level of openness that our patients give us.
Anila Ricks-Cord, MD:If we take the stigma away from this, there's no shame in this. The sooner you can find a physician that you have an open relationship with, and they see you and hear who you are as a person, the more likely that you are to be able to improve quality of life in some way, shape, or form.
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