living life yellow.
the ramblings of a 21 year old
Does your period suck? Or quite honestly ruin your life?
Growing up I always thought my period symptoms were normal but turns out, THEY WEREN'T! It took 6 and a half years for me to be diagnosed with endo, which is way to long. The average diagnosis time for endometriosis is 8 years! Crazy right?
This blog post for those of you who think they have endo, but not really sure what to do now.
Please remember that I am definitely not a medical professional (although my parents wish I was LOL.) This information is all based off my own/friends experiences and opinions.
Step 1: Track your symptoms.
Track everything. Seriously, track everything. The more you know, the more your doctor will know. My fave way to track my period/endo related symptoms is using the app Clue. The most important things to be tracking (in my opinion) are when and how much you are bleeding, pain and anything else which impacts your life. This way when it comes time to attending your doctors appointment you have everything laid out nice and clear!
Step 2: Get informed.
I suggest visiting an endometriosis organisation website. My fave is the Endometriosis New Zealand website. I am a little biased but I honestly think they have a fabulous website that gets the information across without being too confusing.
Print out some of the pages and prepare them to take to the doctors with you. By prepare, I mean annotate/highlight/tick off anything that is relevant to you. This is a good thing to have when you attend your doctors appointment so you can say "I think I have endometriosis because my symptoms match these symptoms of the (insert organisation name here) website," and hand them the piece of paper.
Step 3: Make a doctors appointment.
Go to see your GP. Present your information and the symptoms you have been tracking. Be prepared for them to want to do a bunch of tests/swabs/scans. This is pretty normal and they do it to rule out other things that could be going on in your body. It's also ok for these to come back totally normal. Remember the only way to diagnose endometriosis is through laparoscopic surgery.
The doctor might also suggest you try taking medication to help ease your symptoms. This could be pain killers or even a form of birth control. These can be great and do help some people but remember it's not great to keep taking something long term if 1)it's not helping and 2) it's not telling you what the problem is.
Your doctor will probably refer you to see a gynaecologist. If you feel like your doctor isn't listening to you then go see anyone else! It's totally ok to get a second (or third, or fourth..) opinion. It's so important to find a GP that you feel heard by.
Step 4: Gynaecologist appointment.
Yay, you're seeing a gynaecologist! If you're on the public health system it might take you a while to get here due to wait lists but yay! It will be pretty similar to your doctors appointment; chat about how you're feeling, what your concerns are (bring out your app/notes.) The gynaecologist might want to do an internal exam which is them checking if there is anything else going on down there (better safe than sorry.) Remember it's totally fine to say no to this if you don't want to. It can be pretty daunting or awkward (I was terrified when I was new to this kinda thing) but remember they do this everyday, so it's nothing to be too stressed about.
The gynaecologist will, if they think it's appropriate, book you in, or put you on the waiting list for a surgery.
Other helpful tips:
I hope this blog post is helpful to you, or maybe someone you know (send them this blog post)