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Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 individuals. Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to  the tissue of the uterine lining grows on the organs in the pelvic cavity. Endometriosis, however, can be more widespread and grow up even higher in the body. 

These growths and the adhesions they form cause significant disabling pain. The type of pain that causes days and days each year lost from school and work. 

 

Endometriosis causes a myriad of other symptoms including but not limited to: heavy, painful periods, nausea, severe bloating, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, and infertility. 

 

This terrible disease finally is starting to get the recognition it warrants, but so many women/individuals born with female genitalia continue to suffer without answers.

 

Looking for answers and relief yourself? Maybe a loved one is struggling with this disease? Here are the 6 people you need on your team. 

Medical providers

Let’s give a shout out to those amazing gynecologists, urologists, primary care physicians and pain management specialists.

 

Doctors, NPs, PAs, and even school nurses well informed on endometriosis may be the first providers who seem to recognize and understand what you’re going through.

 

These individuals can help you get started on your journey by recognizing signs of endometriosis and assisting you in medical management of the disease or referring you to the right provider if they don’t have those tools for management themselves. 

 

Endometriosis pain is not in your head. If a provider brushes off your complaints, they probably aren’t the right provider for you. 

 

Endometriosis surgeons

Laparoscopic surgery is the only definitive diagnostic tool for endometriosis. Laparoscopic surgery seems like minor surgery with tiny scars. Those tiny scars on the surface only tell part of the story.

 

Endometriosis growths and adhesions can form on nearly all the structures of the abdominal cavity and even in some cases outside of the cavity.

 

These surgeons have completed extensive training and have a team approach to address growths on various structures during excision surgery. Various surgeons may be present so that the surgery can be effective. 

 

Note: not everyone with endometriosis needs surgery, but many do. Unfortunately, many individuals have multiple excision surgeries. A specialized endometriosis surgeon is a must for a successful excision surgery.

 

Nutrition specialists

The old saying goes “you are what you eat”. Individuals with endometriosis can suffer from extensive GI issues and sensitivity. 

Do your homework when researching registered dietitians (board certified) or nutritionists. Seek out providers with background and passion working with individuals living with endometriosis. 

Nutrition goes far beyond constipation management in this case. Certain foods can be quite inflammatory. Dietary changes can really improve your quality of life.

 

Mental health experts

Fortunately, mental health has moved into the spotlight and the stigma behind getting help continues to diminish. Licensed mental health specialists make up a key piece of the medical community.

Living with endometriosis pain, associated infertility, and often the trauma and difficulty of finding medical providers who understand and can help takes a toll. (Not an extensive list). 

Our overall health intertwines with mental health. Endometriosis is a serious disease warranting this full body approach.

 

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists

Shout out to all those amazing pelvic PTs skilled at working with this population!

Pelvic floor specialists can help you in so many ways. A significant percentage of individuals with endometriosis also suffer from an overactive pelvic floor. 

An overactive pelvic floor makes sexual activity very difficult and painful and worsens constipation just to name a couple issues. A pelvic PT can help you reach your functional/quality of life goals. 

In addition to working on painful tissues, pelvic floor physical therapists will teach  you pain management strategies so you have the power to get through your day.

Pelvic floor physical therapists play a vital role in the rehab process post excision surgery as well. Those post-op  scars need to move well for effective healing and recovery.

As a pelvic floor physical therapist myself, I can go on and on about all the awesome things we can do to help you manage endometriosis, but I’ll move on to the next group. At the end of the day, it really takes a whole team on your side to tackle this disease.

 

The Endo Community

Last but DEFINITELY not least. 

A team of providers dedicated to helping you…wonderful, but no one truly understands what it’s like to live with endometriosis than the other 10% of women/individuals out there. Thanks to social media, you can connect to the community easier than ever.

These are your cheerleaders when you’re having a tough day, an empathetic listener, and advocates for this serious disease. 

 

Just getting started on your endo journey? You want these 6 people on your team.