There was a great article on nbcnews.com discussing the plight of women with endometriosis who had their surgeries canceled or cannot schedule surgery due to the pause on elective surgeries at many hospitals.
I felt compelled to participate in the conversation as a gynecologist who specializes in the care of endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain--both from the surgical perspective and the medical management perspective.
It is certainly not ideal to have to postpone a scheduled or desired surgery to treat endometriosis. Often surgery is the best option or a good option to combine with other treatments. Surgery can be a healing path because it is the only way to definitively diagnose endometriosis. For many women who have had their pain disregarded and for women who have been told that their problem is in the head rather than in the pelvis. The diagnosis and beginning of the path toward treatment are life changing. Sometimes life saving.
Unfortunately, right now, during the Covid19 pandemic, that option is not open. I want women to know that just because surgery is not available right now, they do not have to wait to be treated. There are multiple medical options that can be used to treat endometriosis and relieve the debilitating pain while we are waiting for hospitals and surgery suites to re-open for routine business and “elective” care.
I often hear “I’ve tried everything and nothing has worked”. Only to find out that my new patient has only been one treatment at a time and has never been offered a combination of treatments to see if coming at the problem from multiple directions at the same time would be helpful. Or worse, to find out that she has only ever been offered different types of birth control pills and no other options at all.
You do not have to feel overwhelmed and you do not have to remain lost in your pain during this time. Do your research, find an endometriosis specialist near you for a telemedicine visit now and an in person visit when safe.
Discuss all the options that are still available while surgery is not. Birth control pills can be combined with hormonal IUDs, combined with DepoProvera or even combined with the more powerful hormonal suppressors like Lupron and the newer Orilissa. Many of these medications can be used in different combinations to get relief when one medication alone is not sufficient.
Learn what you can do to help diminish your pain while you are working on suppressing the endometriosis. Did you know that women who have experienced chronic pain (pain lasting longer than six months) can develop changes in their muscular tone that exacerbate the pain? Did you know that physical therapy and acupuncture can help diminish these changes and help relieve your pain? I often work with EMH Physical therapy. The office is open for telemedicine and chronic pain management during the Covid19 pandemic. www.emhphysicaltherapy.com
Did you know that women who have experienced chronic pain can develop changes in their central nervous system that change the way the brain perceives bodily sensations so that pain is more often perceived and perceived as more severe? Did you know that these changes can be treated with other medications that address these changes in the central nervous system--medications like Cymbalta, Gabapentin, Lyrica, Topamax, Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline and Abilify to name a few? Did you know that meditation, TENS and acupuncture or acupressure can all be effective in diminishing this pain?
There are so many different ways to approach the treatment of endometriosis that can be used separately or together in so many different combinations. Do not despair, do not give in to being overwhelmed, do not “be patient”. Reach out, ask for treatment while we are waiting for the surgical sites to re-open.
You can schedule a telemedicine appointment to be evaluated, examined in person if absolutely necessary and get your treatment started by contacting my office at 212-317-4548 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would simply like more information and would like to join a small group seminar run by me to get medically valid information, learn about the options available and ask questions, please contact me at email@example.com. My staff or I will give you the information to register for our next seminar on endometriosis scheduled for 5:30pm on Friday April 17th on zoom. Registration will be $65 for the 60-90 minute seminar (depending on questions). You may also submit questions that you would like addressed at the time of payment or registration as well as ask them during the seminar.
For more information on my practice, please visit www.melaniemarinmd.com