The Personal, Painful Ordeal of Women with Endometriosis

The Personal, Painful Ordeal of Women with Endometriosis

For Lindsay Murphy, a laundry list of symptoms she’d had for years turned out to have a one-word diagnosis. Endometriosis. Patients and a handful of doctors are demanding better education, diagnosis, and treatment for this common condition.

Lindsay Murphy, a 36-year-old San Francisco native, sensed something was wrong with her, but none of the doctors she saw found anything.

Her periods were grueling. Birth control pills seemed to help, but she still wasn’t quite right.

One day, she passed out with no explanation. Another, she woke up in a pool of blood. A battery of tests didn’t lead to a diagnosis.

In May 2011, she started coughing up blood. She had just moved to the Lake Tahoe area to work as a nanny, and she and others first blamed the elevation. Then there was blood in her stool.

In August, as she loaded clothes into the washer at her apartment, Murphy collapsed and was taken to the hospital.

Barely conscious, Murphy remembers medical staff talking heatedly about her low blood oxygen levels before wheeling her into surgery. She would remain on the table for more than nine hours.

When she came to, the surgeon told her she had the worst case of endometriosis he’d ever seen.

It turns out, he hadn’t even seen all of it.

What Is Endometriosis?

Most people think of endometriosis more or less as a synonym for bad menstrual cramps, but the condition is more serious than that. It involves tissue from the uterine lining implanting itself outside the uterus.

Basically, endometriosis is a plumbing problem. Instead of being flushed during menstruation, the uterine tissue backs up into other parts of the body. Wherever it lands, it continues to respond to the hormones that control menstruation. The result is pain and bleeding wherever there’s endometrial tissue.

The condition affects 1 in 10 women.

“Endometriosis reaches far beyond the uterus by sneaking up the tubes or through the blood or lymph systems. It goes other places like cancer, and because it’s the body’s own material, it’s not rejected,” said Dr. Tamer Seckin, a gynecologic surgeon who co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America.

 
People are committing suicide because of this, because it’s not recognized and there are no good treatments and people get blown off.
 
Dr. Peter Gregersen, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

In most patients, the endometrial tissue spreads no further than the abdomen. The tissue can implant itself in the bowel, causing gastrointestinal symptoms. It may sit atop the cervix, making sexual intercourse excruciating. Almost half of female infertility cases are associated with endometriosis.

The scientific literature documents more severe cases, like Murphy’s, where the tissue extends beyond the abdominal cavity, including the lungs, throat, urethra, bladder, kidney, liver, and sciatic nerve.

Doctors often dismiss patients as wimps who can’t handle the pain of a normal period. In fact, as many as 87 percent of women who complain of chronic pelvic pain have endometriosis. They wait, on average, a decade to be properly diagnosed.

“People are committing suicide because of this, because it’s not recognized and there are no good treatments and people get blown off,” said Dr. Peter Gregersen, a geneticist with the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Long Island who is researching endometriosis.

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Patient Reviews

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  • Megan Rafael Moreno

    I was in pain for 2 years. I was getting no answers, and because dr Goldstein and dr seckins were willing to see and treat me I'm finally feeling almost back to normal. They were very down to earth and helpful in my time of need. Dr Goldstein was easy to talk to and caring, she took care of me…

  • Nancy Costa

    Dr. Seckin is one of the best endometriosis surgeon. Every time I go to the office, he really listens to me and is always concerned about my issues. Dr Seckin's office staff are a delight and they always work with me. I feel I can leave everything to them and they will take care of it. Thank you to the…

  • Rebecca Black

    Fast forward 5 years to find out incidentally I had a failing kidney. My left kidney was only functioning at 18%. During this time, I was preparing all my documents to send to Dr. Seckin to review. However, with this new information I put everything on hold and went to a urologist. After a few months, no one could figure…

  • Monique Roberts

    I'll never stop praising Dr. Seckin and his team. He literally gave me back my life.

  • Erin Brehm

    I had a wonderful experience working with Dr. Seckin and his team before, during and after my surgery. I came to Dr. Seckin having already had laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis 5 years prior, with a different surgeon. My symptoms and pain had returned, making my life truly challenging and my menstrual cycle unbearable. Dr. Seckin was quick to validate my…

  • Anita Schillhorn

    I came to Dr. Seckin after years of dealing with endometriosis and doctors who didn't fully understand the disease. He quickly ascertained what needed to be done, laid out the options along with his recommendation and gave me the time to make the right decision for me. My surgery went without a hitch and I'm healing very well. He and…

  • Nicholette Sadé

    Dr. Seckin brought me back to life! I am now 3 weeks into my recovery after my laparoscopy surgery, and I feel like a new and improved woman! Being diagnosed with Endometriosis, then 25yrs old in 2015, and discovering the severity of my case being stage 4, made me devastated. Dr. Seckin's vast knowledge of the disease, sincere empathy, and…

  • Jason Curry

    My wife had her laparoscopic excision surgery to remove endometriosis with Dr. Seckin on Jan 30, 2014. She doesn't write online reviews so I'm writing this on her behalf. I accompanied her with each office visit she had. The staff--Lucy and Kim, are very friendly, warm and professional. Dr. Seckin was excellent in every capacity. He spent a lot of…

  • Liz Filippelli

    He is an awesome doctor who saved my daughters life from debilitating endometriosis..she knew instantly upon awaking from surgery that she was better..that wad May and no complaints only praises for Dr. Wonderful Seckin!!

  • Karen N

    I was diagnosed with Endometriosis at 19. I saw several Endometriosis "Specialists" since then, had a few laproscopic surgeries to "remove" the endometriosis and continued to be in pain. I had a hysterectomy in 2012 and was told this would stop the pain once and for all. No such luck! Tired of spending days in bed with a heating pad,…

  • Lauren Rodriguez

    I researched and found Dr. Seckin after dealing with years of doctors who couldn't help me or refused to go the extra mile for their patients. I have to say I am truly blessed to have found such a compassionate and talented doctor. He is exquisite with everything he does, and both his team at the office and surgical team…

  • Kellya Vespa

    Dr. Seckin is a very skilled surgeon. There are not many doctors like him that truly understand the effects of endometriosis. I am lucky to have found him. The staff is wonderful too.

  • Meg Connolly

    Dr. Seckin truly LOVES what he does and cares about his patients from the bottom of his heart. My life has already changed in 3 weeks and I couldn’t be more grateful. Should I ever need another operation for endometriosis, Dr. Seckin will be the one to do it. I recommend him to anyone I come across with similar problems…

  • Elisandra O

    Dr. Seckin is an amazing Doctor he is very compassionate, caring and he will be honest with you. He's been my doctor for 19yrs and I am so grateful to have someone taking care of me that knows what he is doing and knows the best way to treat each and every situation. I would definitely recommend him and his…