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  • Gynaecology
  • 22.03.21

Endometriosis – 5 ways to feel empowered through self-advocacy

For many women, the journey to an endometriosis diagnosis can be painful and exhausting. It’s a condition that’s invisible from the outside and can only be diagnosed through surgery. For this reason, symptoms are often misdiagnosed and many women endure a frustrating battle for answers.

Endometriosis – let’s talk about the facts

One in 10 women have endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to that which normally lines the uterus grows in other parts of the body, usually in the pelvic cavity.

During a period, when the lining is shed, this tissue outside the uterus also bleeds. When this bleeding occurs, inflammation, scar tissue, cysts and adhesions are formed. Over time and with subsequent menstrual cycles, the scar tissue increases and can immobilise organse, fuse organs and cause damage to the fallopian tubes.

Symptoms of endometriosis:

It’s important to remember, everyone’s experience with endometriosis is different. However, endometriosis is often characterised by severe pain that stops you doing your normal daily activities and can’t be managed by over-the-counter medication.

Symptoms may include:

  • heavy bleeding
  • painful periods
  • backache
  • cramping
  • lower abdominal aching
  • pain during and after a bowel motion
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • painful intercourse.

Conditions often associated with endometriosis include adenomyosis, Polcystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and difficulty falling pregnant.

Empowerment through self-advocacy

It’s easy (and normal) to feel a loss of control when you’re experiencing pain and symptoms caused by endometriosis. We believe self-advocacy is one way to take back control, lift your self-esteem and speak up for yourself and your body.

Here are 5 ways to feel empowered through self-advocacy.

Seek the truth

Knowledge is power and the first step is to ‘empower’ yourself with the right information.

Searching for answers can be overwhelming, especially with a plethora of blog articles, websites and other information available online.

Unfortunately, not all information online is correct and can lead you in the wrong direction when it comes to diagnosing or managing endometriosis.

Always seek answers from reputable sources such as your GP,  advocacy groups like QENDO or an experienced gynaecologist.

At Grace, our gynaecologists specialise in the treatment and management of endometriosis including minimally invasive surgery which means, in most cases, you can still wear a bikini after a procedure!

Believe in yourself

It’s easy to feel disheartened and disappointed when your body isn’t performing the way you expect it to. The pain and other symptoms caused by endometriosis can penetrate deep into your everyday life and impact you both personally and professionally.

Remember to believe in yourself and acknowledge that the issues you are facing are real. The pain is real. The symptoms are real. Don’t compare yourself to others. If what you are experiencing is an inconvenience to you, then that needs to be addressed. Listen to your body and seek out the best treatment available. You deserve to be heard and listened to, so find health professionals who are supportive and empathetic.

At Grace, we believe every woman deserves to live her best life. In addition to our medical specialists, we have physiotherapists, psychologists and a dietitian on site to further support your treatment and manage pain.

Make empowered decisions

We’ve all heard the saying ‘knowledge is power’ and this is especially true when it comes to your health.  Pelvic pain and super heavy periods are not normal so seek advice and a diagnosis from a highly experienced medical professional as soon as possible.

If you’re not getting the support you feel you need to live your best life, then seek a second or third opinion.

It’s important you understand the treatment which is being prescribed for you and make empowered decisions for your body.

…don’t be shy to spread your network beyond your GP and gynaecologist to include physiotherapists, dietitians, pain management experts and other professionals who can assist you on your journey.

Build your support network

Creating a supportive professional and personal network should be a top priority.

It takes many aspects of care to nourish a whole woman so don’t be shy to spread your network beyond your GP and gynaecologist to include physiotherapists, dietitians, pain management experts and other professionals who can assist you on your journey.  Choose healthcare providers that make you feel comfortable and nurtured.

Friends, family and other ‘endo-sisters’ can also bring you comfort and encouragement during challenging times.

Many women diagnosed with endometriosis find it helpful to join a support group. It’s a great way to exchange information and stories with other women who are experiencing the same symptoms and connect with other women who know how you feel.

Be positive and kind to yourself

Stay positive, be kind to yourself and don’t give up. In Australia, there is a lot of help and support available for women with endometriosis. The endometriosis road may be long and winding, but with the right support and persistence you can find what works best for you and navigate your way through the challenges.

The Grace approach

At Grace Private, our holistic approach is designed by women, for women. Our gynaecologists are highly experienced and specialise in minimally invasive procedures which means most of our patients can still wear a bikini if their condition requires surgery. Our multidisciplinary team also includes physiotherapists, psychologists and a dietitian to help treat your condition and manage pain.

For a referral, remember to ask for ‘Grace’ when you visit your GP.

More information

You can access a wide range of resources and information about living with endometriosis from the following support and advocacy groups:

Find out more about Grace Private For Women.

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