I just watched the film Endo What? and lost my shit for a minute. A few tears streaming down my face quickly turned into an audible sob. The beginning of the film shares that women with endometriosis have to see 7-10 doctors before they are diagnosed. 7-10. I don’t even remember how many doctors I saw before I was diagnosed, but 7-10 definitely sounds about right.
The saddest thing is that some women never get to that 10th doctor. Some women stop after just a few, because no one believes them or they aren’t able to afford it or both. They are made to believe they are crazy, too sensitive, or the symptoms they are experiencing are just “normal” period things.
Excessive bleeding is not normal.
Intense pelvic pain, cramping, lower back and abdominal pain is not normal.
Painful sex is not normal.
Blood clotting is not normal.
Chronic pain is not normal.
Chronic fatigue is not normal.
Painful diarrhea and constipation is not normal.
Urinary frequency, retention, or urgency is not normal.
Not being able to get out of bed on your period is not normal.
Most women aren’t diagnosed with endometriosis until their late 20s (I was 28 when I was diagnosed with Stage 4) and many much older than that. We need to change this.
If you experience painful periods or have any of the symptoms above – I encourage you to not only find a doctor that believes you, but one that wants to work with you to actually get better (and not just with pills and drugs).
I had the HUGE honor to interview the founder of The Institute Of Functional Medicine (Dr. Jeffrey Bland) at SXSW last weekend. His website includes a tool to find a doctor in your area that spends time with their patients and actually looks at all the factors that affect your health (genetic, environmental, and lifestyle). Because so much of the pain we feel as endo suffers is deeply impacted by outside factors too. If you aren’t able to find a doctor on his list, please keep searching. Talk to the women in your life (on and offline) who they see, research specialists, Google the crap out of it until you find someone for you.
This month is Endometriosis Awareness Month.
Celebrate it by making a plan this month to find a doctor that believes you and get the help you deserve.
P.S. I’m working on getting the director of Endo What? on the podcast, stay tuned!
In the meantime, you can watch the trailer here.