Before you can receive the proper treatment for endometriosis, you have to find the right endometriosis specialist, someone who knows the disease and who knows how to treat you the way you deserve. This page will help you begin your search for one. There is nothing more crucial in this journey than finding the right specialist at the very beginning.
The wrong surgery
On average, patients who visit my office have already undergone two to three surgeries by general surgeons to alleviate their symptoms, none of which worked long term. They usually have had one or both ovaries removed, a hysterectomy, an appendectomy, or a bowel resection (part of the small or large intestine removed).
Often, they’ve been treated by surgeons who weren’t even gynecologists, let alone endometriosis surgery specialists. They were surgeons who weren’t certain what the problem was. But they thought they could solve the problem by removing part or all of an organ.
Many of my first-time patients have already seen multiple doctors. These ranged from general practitioners to gynecologists to specialists for diseases or conditions unrelated to endometriosis. These doctors often prescribed medications such as painkillers and antidepressants that negatively affected the patients’ moods and did nothing to treat what was really wrong.
This is the primary reason why it takes more than a decade for individuals with endometriosis to receive the right diagnosis.
Doing the research
Anytime we need a service to improve our lives, we have to do research to be sure it is right for us. Otherwise, we’re wasting valuable time and money. And in the matter of our health, when our quality of life is on the line, nothing is more important than finding the right doctor.
The right endometriosis specialist
“The right doctor” for treating endometriosis isn’t just anyone who is an expert in their field or has certifications and awards hanging on their wall. You need a doctor who has a thorough knowledge of the disease. This includes every symptom, exceptional surgical skills and training, and access to the most modern surgical equipment and techniques.
The right doctor should understand the various options to treat the disease. He or she should be open to applying those treatments, including the correct type of surgery, birth control, physical therapy, and hormonal therapy.
The right doctor should listen to you patiently and have compassion. They should be able to explain everything to you in the simplest terms. They should be able to answer all of your questions to your satisfaction. And they should always be present in the moment with you. This includes when performing surgery on you or meeting with you for the first time. You should never be treated as a number or rushed through.
Being referred to an endometriosis specialist
Many of my patients are referred to me by other patients on whom I’ve operated. Often it will be a friend or relative who refers them. But with so many social media groups and websites today about endometriosis, many patients are referred to me by someone they’ve never met, but who has the same symptoms and negative past experiences with other doctors.
A gastroenterologist, urologist, or general gynecologist can also refer you to an endometriosis specialist. And you should look at any online reviews on doctors you are considering. But, ultimately, nothing may be more valuable than speaking to other patients. And in the endometriosis community, as silent as this disease has been for so long, there are many courageous individuals today who are willing to share their stories to help you.
One woman, Melissa, who eventually became my patient and tells her story in my second book EndoMEtriosis: A Guide for Girls, diagnosed herself with endometriosis after years of pelvic pain. Following an unsuccessful surgery by her gynecologist, Melissa joined an endometriosis chat room online. It was where a woman talked about the surgery she’d had with an endometriosis specialist in Georgia. The surgery in question was laparoscopic deep-excision surgery, which is my gold standard for treating the disease.
“I’d never heard of it. And I wasn’t about to let her go until I learned all about it,” Melissa said. “I hit her hard with questions. What were her symptoms? How was this surgery different from laser surgery? How was she feeling now? She was happy to reply to every question I had. She was the first person who really understood me, who could relate to me, who knew the pain. All these years, and it took a stranger to come through.”
This website is an online resource textbook on endometriosis. It contains information about the scientific explanations of each condition. It also has information about endometriosis specialists, including qualifications they should have, what questions you should ask, and what you should bring to and expect from your appointments to receive the best endometriosis care.
I recommend putting every effort you can into finding an endometriosis specialist. Don’t settle for just anyone. The right doctor and the correct treatment plan are critical. It will be the most crucial piece of your journey toward healing.