In the General Question’s thread, Why Is Human Birthing So Painful, we got off on a discussion of endometriosis cramps. I said:
To which **Posted by mmm… forbidden doughnut ** replied:
So, here’s the story:
It wasn’t until I was twenty-two that I finally found a doctor who understood what the problem was. Sadly, many doctors either don’t understand endometriosis, or dismiss it, saying, “It’s all in your head.”
The first time I had an attack, I was still in school. They rushed me to the emergency room, where I was diagnosed as having a stomach flu. By the time a doctor finally saw me, the cramps had subsided to a “weakly-weeping” stage. Due to the vomiting, he guessed flu. He guessed wrong.
The second time, I immediately recognized it was happening again, much like you’d never forget the face of a person who walked up and kicked you in the stomach. I went to a doctor as soon as I could get an appointment, and told him what the symptoms were. He told me that he’d seen this before, and it would clear up right after I had a baby. I tried to explain that they were different from normal cramps the way that a migraine is different from a headache, but he just gave me an irritated look and said that it was all in my head, and I should learn to deal with a “little discomfort” which was, after all, just part of being a woman.
Every woman in my family suffers from this ailment, but never knew what it was. My family is generally more stoic about pain than I am, and they would all “stick it out” until their problems became so bad that a hysterectomy was required. Three aunts, my grandmother, and my mother have all had to go through this, and now only one aunt still hasn’t gotten a hysterectomy.
I wasn’t about to sit around and suffer because a doctor told me there was nothing that could be done. I went to another, who gave me Naproxen Sodium for the pain. It helped, he explained by trying to prevent the inflamation of the endometrial cysts in the first place. It did help me somewhat, but I still having bad cramps.
Two doctors later, I found a nice gynecologist who understood the disease. She drew diagrams and explained everything to me, and I finally understood what I suffered from, and how it worked. She outlined several options for me, and we decided to go with the least invasive, which is the Depo-Prevera shot. She said that if Depo didn’t work, we’d move on to trying to burn the cysts out with a laser. Should that fail, we would move on the chemical menopause, and as a last resort, consider more radical surgery.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad!! I have never been happier in my life! The Depo worked for me. My periods have nearly ceased, and I only occasionally have cramping, but it’s the kind which can be controlled with OTC medications-- what I imagine the rest of the world’s “normal” women have. No longer do I dread a certain date of the month, knowing that it will be spent sobbing, vomiting, and writhing in agony.
Endometriosis is not curable. In my case, it could get worse, but right now, the treatments do seem to be controlling the cramping. I’ve been on it for almost three years, and my worst side effect, so far, was a temporary two-pound weight gain.
And the icing on the cake? Depo’s covered by my insurance policy, because in my case, it’s “treatment” not birth-control. It’s the only positive thing I ever got out of endometriosis.
My advice for any sufferer: keep looking until you find a doctor who understands and knows how to treat this illness. * You do not have to suffer!!! *
This thread is for all of my fellow Dopers with endometriosis. What treatments have you gone through? How have they worked for you? What suggestions do you have for other women who may be suffering? Share your stories!