As every woman knows, her period isn't supposed to be painless. So, as a teenager, I became accustomed to the monthly cramps and discomfort. But in my 20s somehow the pain became more intense, more severe. Much more. And longer lasting. In fact, the pain sometimes lasted nearly half the month. My girlfriends, my sisters—even my internist and OBGYN—told me it was all normal. That, for some women, the degree of pain and the duration I'd experienced fell within typical range. I tend to be a trusting person, so I believed my doctor when she reassured me. Just take pain relievers. Eventually, their advice turned from over-the-counter medication to prescriptions. The drugs I was taking may have become more powerful, but so did my symptoms. Besides, the medications only blunted the pain, rather than treating what was causing it. In addition, the pain medications were beginning to upset my stomach. But there was another problem, too. And I was way too embarrassed to talk about it, even with my closest friends.
The pain from my period resurfaced any time I was intimate with my boyfriend, even when I wasn't actually having my period. I never wanted him to think I didn't enjoy being with him, but I also didn't want to lie about sexual pleasure when pain got in the way. Of course, it wasn't at all my boyfriend's fault. I started blaming myself. Was I doing something wrong? Could my OB/GYN really be right that all the pain I was enduring was normal — and that I'd have suffer this way until menopause? The more questions that filled my head, the greater my desire to uncover answers. I searched the internet exhaustively for information. When I stumbled upon web sites about endometriosis, I had never heard of it. I'm not even sure I could pronounce it correctly! But when I read various women's accounts of the disease, their stories sounded an awful lot like mine. Another discovery I made online was Dr. Tamer Seckin, of Park East Medical Group in New York City. I scheduled an appointment, and he told me endometriosis was treatable — though not through costly medications that mask the pain but fail to address its cause. Most importantly, though, Dr. Seckin insisted that the pain I felt was not normal. Not normal at all! No woman, he said, needed to endure the extent of pain that I had. To be honest, at our first meeting I was skeptical. How could my friends, my internist, my OB/GYN — how could they all be wrong? And if, as Dr. Seckin had insisted, endometriosis could be treated effectively with excision laparoscopic surgery, then why had I put up with such agony for the better part of a decade?
After meeting again with Dr. Seckin — and researching treatment options further on my own — I determined to give his advanced surgical technique a try. Nobody, of course, enjoys surgery. But, researching as much as I did, I concluded the benefits far outweighed any real or imagined risks. And was I right! Thanks to Dr. Seckin's surgical skill, I was in and out of the hospital same-day, with full-functioning and complete removal of the endometrial tissue that had plagued me. Before long, I had resumed swimming, rowing and running marathons. And yes, my boyfriend can see how much more I enjoy intimacy with him — more than ever before. A year since my surgery with Dr. Seckin, I can say my period has returned to manageable levels of discomfort. Another thing: If my endometriosis ever threatened my fertility, it certainly does no longer. I cannot guarantee that Dr. Seckin's treatment is right for you. But I can absolutely guarantee that a consultation is more than worth your while to find out!