A Pain You Can’t Ignore: Endometriosis

A Pain You Can’t Ignore: Endometriosis

Stomachaches, nausea, cramps. What you think is just part of being female could actually be a dangerous, debilitating disease. Here’s what you need to know about endometriosis — and why exercise could be the best antidote of all.

— By Kristina Grish

What Is Endometriosis?

Last January, after a long run, I sat down to a delicious dinner of Thai takeout — then sprinted to the bathroom three hours later. Diarrhea turned to blood, and when I thought I was well enough to stand, I actually passed out. My husband, Scott, found me a few feet from the toilet with my pants around my ankles. He was scared; I was mortified. We’d been married only six months, and this was hardly newlywed bliss.

I blamed dodgy tofu, or maybe a bad mango salad. My symptoms persisted through the night, so I called a gastroenterologist the next morning. He saw me right away and scheduled a colonoscopy. The verdict? Inflammation and impaired blood flow to the large intestine, a problem most common in men and women over the age of 60. I’m 33.

The stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea continued for several weeks, coupled with sharp cramps and deep pain during sex. My GI doctor prescribed a common antispasm medication to calm my intestinal issues. I saw a food allergist to manage my diet and bloating, and an acupuncturist to help with the cramps. I still exercised, though not as often. I found that high-intensity Spinning, when I felt up to it, muted the pain.

After months of turmoil, my gyno performed laparoscopic surgery; this revealed that I have endometriosis, a chronic disease in which the uterus’s endometrial lining begins to grow elsewhere, such as on other pelvic organs, interfering with their function and potentially damaging the bladder, intestines, and appendix. Surgery, the only sure way to confirm and correct the condition, showed that the sticky endometrial lining was binding my left ovary to my intestines and uterus, putting pressure on the organs and likely causing the intestinal problems. It had also grown on both ovaries and the area behind my uterus, which contributed to my stomach pain.

Listen to Your Gut

Endometriosis is a problem that more than 80 million women across the world suffer from — with at least 10 million cases in the United States alone, according to the Endometriosis Research Center. It’s one of the top three causes of infertility, is the source of an estimated 80 percent of chronic pelvic pain, and accounts for more than half of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed annually. A 2007 study calculated that costs of endometriosis care in the U.S. reached $22 billion in one year alone.

Yet because few women share details about something so personal, it’s easy to feel, as I did, confused about what’s happening. Here’s what I learned: During a normal period, the uterus sheds its endometrial lining, and small amounts of endometrial cells pass harmlessly through the pelvic area and exit the body. But in an endometriosis patient, when these cells are shed they invade other areas of the body. They frequently implant themselves on the uterus, ovaries, fallopian

Twelve years ago Mary Frances Mango, 35, a nurse in Smithtown, New York, was diagnosed with Endometriosis. After the surgery, he [Dr. Seckin] put her on a mild birth control pill to moderate estrogen levels and lower the chance of future growth. So far, she’s pain-free.

//www.drseckin.com/member_files/topic_files/fitness.pdf

Patient Reviews

Write a review
  • Samuel Taveras

  • Rena Ebrahim

  • nikoletta pados

    I am a physician who suffered from deep infiltrative endometriosis. I needed laparoscopic surgery, so I went to see my former gynaecologist and he performed the procedure (a surgery which he supposedly does hundreds of times a year) last November. I had severe pain again when I had my period in January and was advised to go on taking a…

  • Grace Larsen

    After years of excessively painful periods, a serious loss of quality of life, and a series of uninformed and uninterested doctors, Dr. Seckin and Dr. Goldstein turned my life around. I was told I woke up from my surgery almost a year ago with a smile on my face, and I haven't stopped since. Before I heard of Dr. Seckin,…

  • Nicole Novakowski

  • Jacqueline Galindo

    Dr Seckin and his team gave me back my life! Tomorrow will be 1 month since my surgery and I feel great. Dr. Seckin, Dr Liu, and Dr Goldstein are not only beyond words talented and amazing Doctors, but they are also genuinely wonderful and caring people. I cannot say enough great things about Holly, Asiye and Kim as well.…

  • Anna Lu

    Dr. Seckin and his staff spared me from years and years of heavy periods and unbearable endometriosis pain. After having surgery with him (my first) I can now function like a regular human. No more eating NSAIDs like candy and calling out sick from work. Thank you, Dr. Seckin!

  • Sheena Wright

    I underwent surgery with Dr. Seckin in 2017 and have felt like a new woman ever since. If you have, or suspect you have endometriosis, Dr. Seckin and his compassionate team of surgeons and staff are a must-see.