Thursday, January 29, 2015

Endometriosis is the Devil - This time it's Personal

Wouldn't this blog title make an excellent movie title?

Whenever I think about endometriosis I think about Venom from Spiderman. For those of you who are not comic book nerds, Venom kind of takes over another person with this black, web-like material until ultimately they're engulfed. That's how I imagine endometriosis taking over the inside of the body. Evil stuff.

So this is the story of why endometriosis is the devil and why I became a pelvic floor therapist.

There is this woman I know, let's call her...Cody. She had a family history of endometriosis. She had always had really heavy menstrual cycles and when she was a teenager she developed ovarian cysts so she started taking birth control pills. All was fine in the "South" until she was in college. She noticed that she was depressed and generally felt "blah" in all areas of life. She tried many types of birth control including Ortho Evra, BeYaz, Nuva Ring, and Depo Provera injections but she just didn't feel like herself on these medications. So she finally decided to go off of them. She noticed that her periods gradually got heavier and more painful.

Then one day she had to have an abdominal surgery. She was left with what amounted to a C-section scar. All went well with the surgery but as time progressed her period became so painful it was debilitating. She was taking her pain medication that was prescribed for post-surgical pain for her menstrual cramps. She couldn't sleep and would lie in the fetal position at night crying because of her pain. It made her nauseous and she couldn't seem to get out of the fetal position without it feeling like someone was stabbing her in the uterus and vagina with a knife. Fun times, right?

So how is someone supposed to function like this? She was in college and could get by with missing class from time to time so she dealt with it as best she could. Until she graduated and realized she was going to be getting a real job, and how was she supposed to work like this? She couldn't call in to work every month because she was on her period. So she went to her gynecologist to figure out what was wrong. She was diagnosed with endometriosis and told she had two options. She could have laparascopic surgery to remove adhesions (that could just come back in a few months) or be put back on birth control. That was it. Those were the only options.Or so she was told.

This may be my story, but it is also very similar to all the stories I have heard from my patients who come in with a diagnosis of endometriosis. It is very unfortunate, but there are a lot of doctors out there who don't know that there is another option for treating this issue. I did my homework and research and found out that there was treatment available in the form of pelvic PT.

Okay, this part is coming from me as the woman with endometriosis, not me as a pelvic floor therapist: Endometriosis sucks, but pelvic PT has made an amazing difference. I can do so many things that I couldn't before without pain. It has helped my relationship, my mental health, and I don't dread my period every month. I feel normal and I have the tools to keep myself in good shape. If I don't use them because I'm feeling good, I remember the next month. I'm not cured (there is no cure for endometriosis) but I can manage my condition and live my life as a normal person.

If you are dealing with endometriosis please talk to your doctor about pelvic PT. It has made a huge difference in my life and the lives of my patients and it could make the difference for you too.

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