So many women have misdiagnosed or undiagnosed endometriosis. In many cases, it takes many years before the correct diagnosis of the condition. Researchers say that it takes about 7-10 years on the average from when symptoms begin until when the diagnosis is made.
It’s even more surprising that about 10% of women within the reproductive age have endometriosis. How come these multitudes of women don’t get an early diagnosis? One of the reasons is that it’s hard to find an endometriosis specialist.
Before we go on, what exactly is endometriosis? It is a condition where the uterine lining (known as the endometrium) starts growing in any other place aside from the uterus. Common areas include the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and/or pelvic region.
When a woman is suffering from endometriosis, it would be very helpful to find a doctor that specializes in endometriosis. Such doctors know the in and out of this condition and have the necessary training and experience to help treat it.
Endometriosis specialists don’t usually employ birth controls or any other form of medication. They rather use the surgical approach. That is, they excise the disease to get rid of errant tissues. This should give the patient pain-free living afterward.
Again, diagnosis is very pivotal to the effective treatment of endometriosis. And endometriosis specialists are at the center of both endometriosis diagnosis and treatment. With surgery, experts report 75 to 85% long-term relief.
How to Find an Endometriosis Specialist
1. Make use of online search engines
Conduct a thorough search on the internet for directories of specialists, as well as for “Endometriosis care centers”. There are centers all over America, and beyond, that focus on treating endometriosis. You might be able to find a center close to where you live. There are usually many specialists in such centers.
2. Do thorough research too
It is not enough to search, you must also research. Take a look at the profiles of whoever you are considering for your treatment. If you find anyone who works in a specialist center or has authored research on the subject, then that person might be your best bet.
3. Check out endometriosis forums and support groups
Check out Facebook groups, follow endo bloggers, and/or join support groups on endometriosis. You will get to meet and/or hear from other women who have the disease. You will get tips and advice on how to find the right specialist.
If you get to talk with anyone who can help, ask about their specialist, and ask for recommendations. Gather information and take a close look at every option before you. Consider the cost, location, and other factors that you deem important.
4. Get ready to travel
We have heard of women who traveled all the way from Australia to Atlanta. This is because there is a CEC (Center of Endometriosis Care) there. You might have to travel that far if you are looking for appropriate care.
One good part of traveling that far for endometriosis care is that your medical trip might be covered by insurance. More so, the endometriosis care center usually helps with hotel arrangements and discounts
5. Be willing to wait
If your preferred specialist is super busy, you might be placed on a very long waitlist. This might put your patience to the test. Some specialists might even cancel a few appointments before eventually seeing you.
Questions To Ask Your Potential Endometriosis Specialist
After you have found a specialist that you think might be the right one for you, you should ask certain questions and watch out for certain things. Note that you might have to ask these questions via phone call if the center is far away.
- Ask if the doctor specializes in endometriosis care. Don’t assume that you know already
- What percent of this doctor’s endometriosis patients are within your age range?
- Does the doctor hear you out as you describe and talk about your symptoms and history?
- Does the doctor answer all your questions logically and collegially?
- Do you think the doctor values your input about your treatment?
- Does he or she explain the treatment plans and proposals to you in a very comprehensive and understandable way?
- Watch out for the questions the specialist is asking. Are they the appropriate and right questions? For instance, the specialist should ask about when your symptoms usually flare up in relation to your monthly period.
- Ask if this specialist works with other specialists? Endometriosis surgery usually requires the presence of other specialists.
What If No Endometriosis Specialist Seem Forthcoming Right Away?
If you can’t find a specialist on time or you are on a long waitlist, you should take certain steps for palliative care. Get the very best form of care that you can. In addition to getting help from your primary-care doctor, you should also consider doing the following:
1. Use pain medications
You can use pain medications, as directed by your physician. These include NSAIDs, among other options that your GP may recommend. In some cases, you might even have to consult a pain specialist.
2. Use other relevant medications
Some other popular options that experts might recommend include the following:
- Hormonal therapy, including birth-control pills and patches, as well as vaginal rings that contain both progestin and estrogen.
- Contraceptives with only progestin. These are usually available in the form of pills, shots, and IUDs. Examples of shots include Depo-Provera and GnRH therapies. These might help relieve pain.
- Alternative and complementary treatments. These include dietary changes, stress management, acupuncture, supplements, pelvic-floor physiotherapy, and so on.
Remember, however, that these are only temporary fixes to manage your symptoms. They will not treat or cure endometriosis itself. But you can use them to buy time while you are searching for a specialist or waiting for your appointment.
You can only treat endometriosis by getting an endometriosis specialist to excise the errant tissue. And you can follow the tips we have shared to increase your chances of getting one on time.