The media has been talking about endometriosis a lot lately. Women are encouraged to report symptoms to their doctors, yet these ads are short on explanations. Women who wonder if their symptoms are warning signals for endometriosis are searching the Internet and social media for what it actually is and—more importantly—might they have it. Unfortunately, the sources of information online are either unreliable from self-appointed and uncredentialled experts or totally without individualized perspective from the “reputable” sites that are overly careful in their vague presentations to risk any legal exposure and liability.
This is unfair to women and their families, which is why Dr. Ulas Bozdogan (“Dr. Boz”) of NYCendometriosis.com, a physician and surgeon with thousands of cases of experience, makes it his mission to put his patients solidly on track with a perspective for it which they can address intelligently, if necessary. He explains it this way:
“The lining of the womb that builds up and then is discarded as a “period” when implantation—pregnancy—doesn’t occur, has glandular and blood-like elements. When this tissue is found elsewhere in your body, it can stick to and invade the tissue, where it remains cycle after cycle. This causes inflammation, scarring, pain, and infertility.”
Dr. Boz’s list of warning signals for endometriosis:
- Painful and crampy periods.
(Dr. Boz: “Yes, they normally can be uncomfortable—briefly!—but not enough to ruin your day.”)
- Pain with a bowel movement or urination.
(Dr. Boz: “Simply put, bowel movements and urination should never hurt.”)
- Pain with sex.
(Dr. Boz: “Sex should be pleasing and gratifying. Pain with the mechanical actions of intercourse are warnings of endometriosis deep in the pelvis.”)
- Diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or other GI disturbances.
(Dr. Boz: “Especially during your period, although these symptoms can occur at any time with or without endometriosis.”)
- Calendar fixation.
(Dr. Boz: “Many women keep a calendar to track their cycles. This is a good idea. But if you keep your calendar only as a warning for a part of each month in which you are miserable or suffer enough to change your plans, this points to the possibility of endometriosis and you need to report this and get it checked out.”)
Dr. Boz adds the following points:
- The frustrating thing for a physician is that endometriosis runs the gamut from no symptoms to crippling incapacitation, and it’s hard to draw a line of where the danger zone begins. For that, you are best served letting your GYN professional make that determination.
- Since the only way to determine if you have it is via surgery, you will want a physician with the most experience in not only diagnosing and treating it, but in knowing when it is not endometriosis so as to save you an unnecessary surgery.
- If surgical diagnosis is warranted, you’ll want someone who is prepared to do removal of endo at the same time, sparing you a subsequent “Part 2” surgery.
- If surgery is warranted, you’ll want someone who is an expert in robotic excision, to take advantage of the meticulous surgical techniques this state-of-the-art technology provides. After all, you want to keep as much reproductive tissue as you can while ridding yourself of a disease that can affect your fertility. Now or even into the future.
In considering the above, it is reassuring that Dr. Boz at NYCEndometriosis has these important bullet-points firmly in mind for each patient for whom he develops a personalized care plan.
“One size does not fit all,” he explains. “Each case is unique. Every woman is unique. Every couple is unique. Every family is special—even if it is only the two of you…so far.”