Lena Dunham and Halsey Bring Endometriosis Back Into The Spotlight; Wrong Information Shared About The Disease
In the recent announcements of Lena Dunham and Halsey about how pain from endometriosis has had a huge impact on living their lives, medical professionals have come out to comment on the condition, but there is a lot of outdated information they are sharing that will do more harm than good for women who are seeking treatment.
Endometriosis has no cure. It is a condition that can be effectively treated by an experienced specialist with medical therapy (including pain medication and hormone therapy), and surgery (primarily endometriosis excision, also known as resection, and resection of pelvic adhesions that often form in response to the inflammation).
Hysterectomy Cannot Cure Endometriosis
In some cases, hysterectomy can be effective depending on the location of the endometriosis, but this is not a blanket solution, and it is not fair to women who wish to maintain fertility to be told that their own option for relief is a procedure that eliminates that possibility, when in fact it may not be the right solution at all. Too many women have been told that this is the only “cure,” which is out of step with modern endometriosis treatments. Unfortunately, not all OB/GYNs are trained in how to diagnose or treat endometriosis, so they are only recommending procedures that they are capable of performing. Too often, that means women are having invasive open or robotic hysterectomy procedures that can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks for recovery, and discovering too late that the procedure was neither necessary nor effective. Hysterectomy cannot cure endometriosis.
In addition to the organs in the pelvis, endometriosis has been found in the lungs, heart and brain. It is not simply localized to the uterus.
Women with this disruptive condition looking for relief must find an experienced endometriosis expert to perform thorough removal of all instances of the lesions. This specialist should also be an expert in pelvic adhesion removal. Any remaining lesions or adhesions can continue to cause severe pain. If endometriosis is left behind, it can continue to spread.
Get Diagnosed By An Endometriosis Expert Early
On average, women with endometriosis often wait a decade for a proper diagnosis. Even though many women start to experience symptoms in their teens, many do not see a gynecologist for the first time until their 20s, and it is rare for a woman to seek out a specialist at that age unless she is in severe pain. But that pain is subjective, and is often dismissed even by medical professionals as a normal part of menstruation.
Pelvic pain is a sign of a GYN condition. It is not normal. Pressure and minimal bloating are normal as the uterine lining thickens to prepare for a fertilized egg. If the egg is not fertilized and implanted the lining of the uterus sheds and bleeds. The cycle should not disrupt normal activity. If it does, it is important to see a specialist as early as possible.
Delaying diagnosis and treatment gives endometriosis time to do a lot of damage, even beyond the intense pain. Time dedicated to school or work is sacrificed. Relationships suffer. Fatigue sets in. Emotions are strained. Depression is common. 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.
Additional Myths About Endometriosis
- There are some medical professionals telling women that getting pregnant will cure their endometriosis. This is an irresponsible recommendation from multiple angles. How one woman reacts to the hormones during her pregnancy may not be the same for another woman. Some women claim that their pregnancy actually helped, while others have said their condition got worse. From an ethical standpoint, women should not be told to get pregnant as a medical treatment. Many woman have no interest in having children, while others want to wait to have children on their own timetable. This is not a blanket recommendation to give to women. On a case by case basis, depending on a woman’s plans for fertility, doctors can advise.
- Changes to diet have not been shown to be effective. While many women are willing to try anything to find relief, there have not been any studies that consistently show that one way of eating over another has any effect on endometriosis.
- Endometriosis is not limited to affecting a woman during her cycle. The damage created by the lesions can create scarring that can cause pain at any time. These lesions can affect the bladder, bowel, ureter, ovaries, lungs, brain and nerves. If damage is done to the bladder, bowel or ureter, the simple act of going to the bathroom can be painful no matter the time of month.
Minimally Invasive Endometriosis Experts at CIGC
At The Center for Innovative GYN Care, our minimally invasive GYN surgical specialists are fellowship trained in advanced techniques that are used for minimally invasive endometriosis excision, pelvic adhesion removal and bladder, bowel and ureter repair. They treat women with complex conditions using DualPortGYN. This technique was developed by the CIGC specialists to help women recover faster from surgery, so that they can get back to their lives faster.
We partner with other endometriosis awareness groups to make sure our patients have the most up-to-date information and access to support. Keep up with Lena Dunham and Halsey as they share their experience with endometriosis. When it comes to effective long term relief, it is important to find the best endometriosis doctor available.
BOOK A CONSULTATION
GYN surgical specialists can often see women sooner because they are focused entirely on surgery. Each patient gets detailed, in depth attention from Dr. Natalya Danilyants and Dr. Paul MacKoul. This personalized 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.
CIGC TRAVEL PROGRAM
Even if you are not from the DC area, many patients travel to The Center for Innovative GYN Care for our groundbreaking procedures. We treat women from around the world who suffer from complex GYN conditions.
Learn more in our travel program.