How Can I Support My Partner With Endometriosis?
Endometriosis often requires women to develop strong emotional resilience, as it can take a huge toll on someone’s personal and professional life. The support of a partner with endometriosis during this difficult time can go a long way in cementing relationships.
Understand the reason behind her pain
Pain during endometriosis is often debilitating and is unlike normal period pain. If you find your partner is not able to cope with her period pain, then it’s an indication that something is not right. Helping her in getting a confirmed diagnosis of endometriosis is a crucial first step, if not already confirmed.
Communication is key
Your partner might not always be in a position to explain her symptoms. When in pain, she may be unable to articulate her exact needs or feelings. You can improve the situation with effective communication. For instance, provide physical assistance in terms of helping with errands or daily tasks. Be empathetic about her condition, open to her needs, and gauge what kind of support you can provide. Take additional help from support groups and your healthcare provider, if necessary.
Approach sex with empathy
One of the six cardinal symptoms of endometriosis is dyspareunia (painful intercourse). Dyspareunia can have an adverse impact on personal relationships if not addressed appropriately. It is important for the partner to note understand that the patient’s discomfort is not her fault and is not related to romantic sentiments about her partner.
Making adjustments such as choosing a comfortable sexual position, timing intercourse according to monthly cycles, and using lubrication can all help reduce pain and improve intimacy.
Create a plan for fertility
Fertility concerns can be a major strain in relationships, so it is important to tackle them head-on. Although infertility can affect endometriosis patients, most conceive naturally. Having an open conversation and understanding each other’s priorities is of great importance. Usually, the complete removal of lesions via laparoscopic deep excision surgery can improve the chances of natural conception. Otherwise, if necessary, the patient can undergo an infertility workup and seek help with assisted reproductive options.
Help her in making sound healthcare decisions
The debilitating nature of endometriosis symptoms and all kinds of misinformation can make coping with the disease stressful. It can also cause confusion in selecting the right treatment option — whether to go for surgery or manage the disease with medications such as contraceptives. Discuss with your partner the severity of her symptoms and check out the pros and cons of each treatment option.
We do not recommend hysterectomy or oophorectomy that can lead to permanent surgical infertility unless absolutely necessary. Removal of the uterus and/or ovaries is a major decision and all other options should be weighed together with your surgeon with serious consideration before any decision is made to undergo it.
Deal with endometriosis together
Your partner suffering from endometriosis can benefit from all the love and care you show for her during these trying times. While there is no definitive cure for endometriosis, the disease is very much treatable. It is important that you support your partner in all stages from the initial diagnosis to after the treatment.
Individual support is important
That being said, it is perfectly natural for the partner to have concerns and experience inadequacies, despair, and helplessness. Endometriosis can be a shared burden. You may initially avoid talking about your own personal feelings in an effort to protect your partner with endometriosis, but having an open, honest conversation with each other is the best way for relationship longevity. Focus on the positive aspects of the relationship and practice mindfulness and gratitude. Many couples find relationship guidance from a qualified therapist helpful to navigate more challenging times.
Get a Second OpinionOur endometriosis specialists are dedicated to providing patients with expert care. Whether you have been diagnosed or are looking to find a doctor, they are ready to help.
Our office is located on 872 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10065.
You may call us at (646) 960-3080 or have your case reviewed by clicking here.