Lauren D. has been managing her endometriosis with Natalya Danilyants, MD for more than eight years. Endometriosis is a recurring condition that has no cure. It is also an elusive condition that can be very difficult to diagnose. For some, the disease can be debilitating. For others, they may not know they have it until other symptoms like infertility occur. In many women, it can take up to a decade to get a proper diagnosis. Endometriosis often mimics symptoms of other conditions. Endometriosis specialists often see the connection between symptoms sooner.
“I was misdiagnosed or told I was crazy for about a year and a half by multiple medical professionals before I found Dr. Danilyants.”
Lauren had a basis for believing she had endometriosis. Her mother had it on her liver. As her own symptoms corresponded with her monthly cycle, she knew that there was the possibility she could have it as well.
“This started with ovarian cysts. I woke up in excruciating pain and I knew it wasn’t normal. My primary care physician at the time thought I had appendicitis. A CT scan showed that I had ovarian cysts. I knew that this was the start of this. The other symptoms slowly started progressing, including the rectal bleeding, pain with intercourse. Every time I had rectal bleeding, it would scare me and I would go to the ER. Every time, they would agree with me that I was bleeding and they would send me out to the GI doctor and they would do a colonoscopy and it would be fine. I would talk to my OBGYN and she would say I was fine. But clearly I wasn’t.”
None of the medical professionals Lauren consulted recognized the signs of endometriosis. It took a lot of missteps before finding a specialist to perform what would be a life-changing minimally invasive endometriosis excision.
“I asked if my endometriosis could be attaching to other areas, but all of my doctors whether GP, OBGYN or the ER doctors said no, that it would only attach to the woman parts. I swore for years that it attached somewhere else, because my mom’s attached to her liver, so I knew it could be somewhere else. Finally after a while, I was googling endometriosis specialist and I found Dr. Danilyants and since she was local, I wanted to try it.”
“After a few minutes of reviewing my history and tests, Dr. Danilyants asked me when I wanted my surgery, and I said ‘No more tests?’ ‘No more tests!’ ‘Thank God!’ she said you clearly have all the symptoms, and you’ve had all the tests in the world, let’s get in there and see where it is. She found a quarter size piece, it was sent to the lab and confirmed for endometriosis. So I only go to her now. I got rid of all of my other doctors. I have my annual exam, and about every two years, I need to go in for a tune-up, but it’s part of managing the disease. This is part of my treatment plan. I don’t feel the incisions, I don’t feel on the inside where she has removed the endometriosis, so the only discomfort is the IV and the gas used in the belly, which is part of any surgery.”
“My endo is no bigger than the size of a quarter, and it shows up on my bowel, and it causes me horrible problems. I get really uncomfortable rectal bleeding, which is not something anyone wants to talk about.”
SEEKING ENDOMETRIOSIS TREATMENT EARLY
Delaying diagnosis and treatment gives endometriosis time to do a lot of damage. Pelvic adhesions can form due to the inflammation from the endometrial implants, and fertility can be compromised. If diagnosed and treated early, there is a higher chance that the treatment will be more effective, and there will be less damage to the reproductive system. Having a diagnosis and finding specialists who take you seriously and who are experienced enough to detect the connecting symptoms and treat the condition can be a huge relief.
“Had I not been local, I still would have come here. There were very few specialists when I did my initial search.”
MANAGING ENDOMETRIOSIS LONG-TERM
“This is something I have. I know what to look for, I know how to treat it, and when I have a flare-up, I can plan when I’m going to get it taken care of. We can monitor it to see if it is advancing. So far, it’s not. The spot appears in the same area each time. It was a long journey to get where I am not. I’m on coast now. I’ve been on the same birth control for several years, and I feel like my symptoms would be worse without it.”
RECOVERY AFTER ENDOMETRIOSIS EXCISION WITH DUALPORTGYN
“The incisions from the surgery are practically invisible. The last surgery I had was just 2 small incisions and she can use the same access points so I never have new scars.”
DualPortGYN uses just two small incisions, one at the belly button and one just above the pubic bone. Recovery from surgery is fast, because the incisions avoid the abdominal muscles.
“I just had my 3rd endometriosis excision. After every surgery, I’m great for about 2 years. Some women get longer relief, but every woman with endometriosis is different. I was using stairs the same day as my surgery. Day 2 I was walking to the mailbox, and by the weekend I was driving. I discovered the ibuprofen worked better than the stronger pain killers, and I only took the ibuprofen for about a week.”
“My main concern throughout all of this has been making sure I could still have a baby. At my last exam, it was confirmed that everything should be fine when I’m ready to have a child.”
BOOK A CONSULTATION
The CIGC state-of-the-art specialists are available at three locations in the DC metro area. Virginia patients can visit the Reston, VA location, and Saturday appointments are available. Maryland offices are located in Rockville, MD and Annapolis, MD.
CIGC is dedicated to providing information and materials for women to help navigate the complicated healthcare system. The CIGC founders, minimally invasive GYN surgical specialists Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD and Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD, developed their advanced GYN surgical techniques using only two small incisions with patients’ well-being in mind. Dr. Rupen Baxi, MD is a CIGC-trained minimally invasive GYN specialist with extensive fellowship training and a respected speaker and researcher.
Their personalized approach to care helps patients understand their condition and the recommended treatment so that they can have confidence from the very start. Our surgeons have performed over 20,000 GYN procedures and are constantly finding better ways to improve outcomes for patients.