As many women with endometriosis can attest, a lengthy delay in diagnosis is one of the most vexing aspects of the disease.
A decade or more wait after the initial onset of endometriosis symptoms isn't uncommon, as doctors can miss the mark, pointing instead to IBS or appendicitis.
Erin McCloskey knows. The 31-year-old Prince Edward Island native says beginning at age 17, she experienced crippling endo symptoms and wasn't diagnosed until she turned 29, when a laparoscopic procedure unearthed an endometrioma or an endometriosis-filled cyst inside of her ovary. Now, she plans to make sure her 1-year-old daughter, Lucy, won't have the same cross to bear.
“Because I have been in horrible pain for years," McCloskey tells The Blossom, "my first concern before I even got pregnant was that I was scared to have a daughter and did not want her to grow up like this. Once I had a daughter, it really started to sink in.” McCloskey says she also has two great aunts and a cousin with the disease.
How soon should women like McCloskey turn a watchful eye to their daughters?
With a family history already present, Seckin says monitoring symptoms should start right at home.
"The dialogue between mother and child is really crucial," EndoFound founder, and endometriosis specialist, Dr. Tamer Seckin tells The Blossom. "Today's kids are so intelligent. They deserve to be told way before puberty about what a normal period is like. If they are aware, they will be able to recognize and express themselves better about menstrual sensations that are out-of-the-ordinary. You don’t want to create an unnecessary sense of fear in a child, but you want to monitor symptoms carefully as girls will first experience endo symptoms before they are sexually active.”
As young girls begin regular menstrual cycles, Seckin says an initial, conservative approach to pain is best.
“The first line of defense is [administering] NSAIDs," he shares. What if that doesn't yield any results? "Then, screening for other causes of pain such as a septated vagina, or a blockage in the vagina such as an imperforate hymen, which may stop menstrual blood from flowing out. Abdominal sonogram. And in certain cases MRI's. Surgery really should be a last resort. And if surgery is to be done, as much detail as possible needs to be documented, whether it be in photographs or video, so that the child doesn’t have to endure countless surgeries.”
She'll have many years to go, but McCloskey says she already has a talk all planned out with Lucy. "As soon as my daughter is old enough to understand what her period is and the pain that can be associated with it, I want to explain everything to her," she shares, "and make sure she is comfortable talking about it with me. I want to give her what information I have. If I would have found someone who could have suggested endometriosis earlier, I could have received the care I needed earlier, and the disease would not have progressed as bad.”
Dr.Seckin is so much more than a surgeon. His passion for helping endometriosis sufferers and determination to improve the quality of life in all of his patients is undeniable. I remember when my gynecologist first told me I needed a laparoscopy. Her exact words were "I can do the surgery, but if you were MY daughter- I'd send you to him." From the first day I met him he took the time to explain endometriosis to me since I knew…
I was there for hysterectomy but then I found out that I also had endometriosis.My both surgeries went excellent and I feel great!.I am so thankful to Dr.Seckin and all his team for making my journey smooth!
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 low hormone dose anticoncipient pill. My symptoms came back quickly and got worse in a few months’ time. I went…
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, I was experiencing almost daily terrible pain to the point where I had difficulty walking, inability to eat, inexplicable weight…
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. They were all caring, kind, patient, and took the time to listen to me and explain anything I needed to…
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!