Before you can be properly treated for endometriosis, you have to have the right endometriosis specialist, someone who knows the disease and who knows how to treat you the way you deserve. This page will show you how to begin your search for one. There is nothing more crucial in this journey than finding the right specialist at the very beginning.
On average, women 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).
In other words, 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 who thought it could be solved by removing part or all of an organ.
Many of my first-time patients have already seen multiple doctors, from general practitioners to gynecologists to specialists for diseases or conditions unrelated to endometriosis. The list becomes so long that many women have trouble remembering them all. These doctors often prescribed medications such as painkillers and antidepressants that negatively affected the women’s moods and did nothing to treat what was really wrong.
This is the primary reason why it takes more than a decade for women with endometriosis to be properly diagnosed.
Anytime we need a product or 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 - or life itself - is on the line, nothing is more important than finding the right doctor.
What makes “the right doctor” for treating endometriosis isn’t just anyone who is an expert in their field or has a lot of certifications and awards hanging on their wall. You need a doctor who has a thorough knowledge of the disease, including every symptom of endometriosis, 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 and an openness to applying those treatments, including the correct type of surgery for endometriosis, birth control, physical therapy, and hormonal therapy, to name some.
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, whether performing surgery on you or meeting with you for the first time. You should never be treated as a number or rushed through.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “The best form of advertising is word of mouth,” and that is often true when searching for an endometriosis specialist.
Many of my patients are referred to me by other patients on whom I’ve operated. Most times it will be a friend or relative who refers them, but with so many social media groups and websites today dedicated to endometriosis, a lot of women are referred to me by someone they’ve never met, but who has the same symptoms and negative past experiences with other doctors.
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 there where a woman talked about surgery she’d had with an endometriosis specialist in Georgia called laparoscopic deep-excision surgery which, as you will read throughout this website, including under the “Treatments” tab, 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? 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.”
You may also be referred to an endometriosis specialist by a gastroenterologist, urologist, or general gynecologist. And you should certainly 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 women today who are easy to find and willing to share their stories to help you.
Continue reading my other pages on this site 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.
No matter how prepared you are to beat this disease and get well, you need help. Not just any help, but the right kind of help. You must have the correct treatment plan. Put every effort you can into finding an endometriosis specialist. Don’t settle for just anyone. It will be the most crucial piece of your journey toward healing.
Medically reviewed by Tamer Seckin, MD on April 21, 2020
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