Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women in the world. Yet, it remains a disease clouded in mystery and myths. Please read the following with an open heart. Friends and family mean well by offering advice or tips, however, it might not be the best thing for your family member or friend.
Here are 6 things women with endometriosis want you to know and ways to support them.
1. It’s Not All in Their Head
When women complain they have pain that’s amplified during her period it’s easy to assume they’re overreacting or making up their pain. That’s very false. You don’t know what she is experiencing and can’t make the call that it’s “all in her head”.
2. They Can’t Just Relax
If a woman is experiencing pain, it’s a concern. However, if the pain is associated with her period then she is told she just needs to relax. Take an Ibuprofen and grab a heating pad, then she’ll feel better. Unfortunately, relaxing isn’t a cure for endometriosis. Don’t tell your friend or family member to relax – ask them if there’s anything you can do and offer your support.
3. Not All Endometriosis Pain is the Same
Not all cases of endometriosis is the same. It truly varies from patient to patient. You might have a friend who has endometriosis and she is able to cope with medication. However, your friend’s endometriosis does not represent all cases of endometriosis. Never assume that someone with endometriosis can just take medication or have a surgery. It might not be the best option for everyone.
4. Killer Cramps Are Not Normal
Yes, many women experience cramps during their periods. Menstrual cramps are a common symptom. However, if her cramps and menstrual pain are affecting her everyday life – that’s not okay. Something is wrong and she deserves support and compassion until she finds comfort through a treatment that works for her. In the meantime, offering your support will comfort her greatly.
5. There is No Cure for Endometriosis
There is no cure for endometriosis. There are different treatment options: medication, therapy, and surgery. Don’t offer treatments options that you’ve heard of from other sources. You (probably) don’t know the full story and certainly can’t offer medical advice. However, if your friend or family member wants to talk about treatments options, feel free to listen.
There is no cure, but there is help. Excisional therapy is the best option. Those suffering from endo and its nasty side effects may explore medication to assist in the management of the symptoms but the medications have limitation. We’re open to developing a plan that meets your goals.
6. They Don’t Want Your Pity
If you learn your friend or family member has endometriosis, don’t give them pity. Offer them support. Say “I’m here for you” and offer to listen. Respect that they might need to rearrange plans or need extra support.
You’ll notice most of the things women with endometriosis want you to know often ends with offering them support. With any friend or family member struggling with an illness or pain, offering comfort and support is the best way to help them through.
Contributions from Abby Norman who is a freelance writer and endo advocate.
She will be speaking at the Stanford Medical X this fall.
Call The Kaldas Center at (888) 599-8792