Oct 222012

“You might have Endometriosis, but there’s nothing we can do for that and the test is invasive, so we’re not going to explore that option, but I can write you a prescription for birth control.” – OB/Gyn to woman.

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 October 22, 2012  birth control, Gyn, OB  Add comments

  40 Responses to ““You Might Have Endometriosis, But…I Can Write You A Prescription For Birth Control.””

  1. You might have allergies, but there are some many things to test for, so we’re not going to explore that option, but I can write you a prescription for benadryl, try not to swell up and die.

    • BEEN THERE! Except they wrote a prescription for topical steroids! I also had a derm say, “You are probably allergic to everything including air, grass, and dairy. And since you can’t live in a bubble and no one wants to stop eating dairy, let’s just treat the symptoms instead!” WTF LOTS OF PEOPLE LIVE WITHOUT DAIRY!!! Doctors are infuriating.

    • The “test” for endometriosis is SURGERY. The OB/GYN should have asked the woman if her pain warranted surgery and told her that the only way to diagnose endo is to schedule a surgery to “clean it out.” If endo is not found, they close you up. If it is, they do the surgery, which provides relief for a while–sometimes months, sometimes years–before it comes back. Endo treatment does not enhance fertility, either.

      For the vast majority of women, birth control or even, in the most sever cases, hysterectomy is the better option. It’s only not a better option if you are wanting to try to conceive but are put in too much pain to do so. Then, a good “cleaning out” can make a woman able to be comfortable for as long as conception takes.

      Fortunately, endo is often made MUCH better naturally during pregnancy and lactation, and the effects can continue for several years after birth. Between #1 and #2, I got some painful adhesions, but I’m still symptom-free 4 years after #2 was born!

  2. OR, you can write me a referral to a doctor who knows how to do more than one thing.

    In what other area of medicine would this be acceptable? If you do to your PCP complaining of chronic headaches, does the PCP just say, “Well, if you take lots of Tylenol and Motrin, you’ll probably be able to mask the pain, and you can pretend everything’s fine”? Why is it that gynecology is allowed to get away with doing the same thing?

    • Because it’s just about women. Not all that interesting and/or important. :/

      • I honestly believe that when the Pill came into use and with that the realization that it could be used to “cure” everything, authentic advancements in Women’s Health has gone by the wayside.

    • That actually happened with my mother-in-law. She went to the ER with a horrible thunderclap headache in the middle of the night. The dr said it’s “probably nothing” so go home and take ibuprofen. A week later, the undiagnosed brain aneurysm ruptured.

      • Oh, good grief, I’m so sorry. :-( How horrible.

      • Did her family sue? I would have, my step-father died 3 years ago from a brain aneurysm rupture it was just awful, but we knew about it before hand and knew it might happen.

        • They’ve requested all of her medical records and are talking to a lawyer. She ended up completely paralyzed and living with locked-in syndrome for 3-1/2 years and just passed away last month.

          • I’m so sorry, I made the assumption that she didn’t make it, as the survival rate from a ruptured brain aneurysm is almost zero.

          • She really shouldn’t have…apparently 95% of the people who have the type and location of the aneurysm she had don’t even make it to the hospital, let alone through surgery.

            The really frustrating part is that the kind of care she received in the ER the night they didn’t take her seriously became the norm for any sort of medical “care” she received from physicians for the rest of her life.

          • That is inexcusable. I am so sorry for your loss, and for the pain I’m sure everyone in the family has experienced due to the situation over the years. :( *Hugs*

      • Oh, holy hell. I am so sorry. I don’t even know what to say about that.

  3. Interesting. I suffered for 20 years with mild endo, and was continually told it was “all in my head.” It got worse (go figure) after my (un)necessarian. I had one OB do lapro, because they kept saying it was a cyst on my ovary causing the pain. Her treatment was to tell me I should just have a complete hysterectomy, or Depo shots. I asked her if there were more natural ways to treat it, like diet changes and exercise, and she told me no.

    A few months later I met another OB who sat and talked to me at length about my symptoms, my pregnancy, etc, and said that if the first OB had just done the same, she would have been able to diagnis the endo without doing the lapro. He lso suggested a diet change, exercise regimen, and other more natural ways of handling the pain, and told me that if none of it helped to my satisfaction, that I could come in and he would discuss all of the other options in depth to find what fits my needs the best.

    • Good thing we’re not allowed to name names on this site, because the second doc would be in BIG trouble with the rest of the OBs. Listening to the patient?!?!?!? Horrors.

    • He lied. There is no positive diagnosis for endo without surgery. The doctor can SUSPECT endo but not diagnose it. The dr. can be SURE there is endo and go in for surgery….and find none.

      He should tell you that surgery is temporary and will almost certainly need to be repeated. He should also tell you that it doesn’t bring complete relief.

      There is also no real evidence for diet and exercise helping endo. Oh, unless you exercise so much your periods stop. That actually works pretty well.

  4. my best friend has endro, and rather than tell her the risks/benefits/options, they just put her on the pill and told her it’s the easiest option. She desperately wants kids and the gyno isn’t even discussing other options with her. It absolutely breaks my heart for her

    • Does she have access to a different medical practice?

      • Unfortunately, not without driving almost an hour to the nearest large city. She lives in a little nowhere town. Driving an hour isn’t really feasable for prenatal care when she gets pregnant so she’s stayed with this one.

        • She can see another doctor to treat the endo and then when she gets pregnant, see this doctor.

          • yeah, but we established that he’s a douche, we don’t WANT to have to see him! what will he do if she has a real problem and goes into premature labor or something? instead of stopping labor and looking for the cause, he might just c-section her( in a very confusing time where she thinks that its this or death) and let somebody else… 1+hrs away, deal with the NICU baby!

  5. How did someone this lazy ever get through medical school?

  6. And how exactly did you determine that you have the right to say *I* am not getting certain medical tests? I am not a minor child, you are NOT my parent, *I* will be the one making decisions, NOT you!

  7. While I completely disagree with how the doc handled the situation, how much really can be done for endo?

    My sis has HORRIBLE endo and has suffered since she was a teenager (she’s now in her 40′s). She did have empathetic docs who listened, tested and even performed surgeries to help get rid of the excess tissue and make things better for her. Whatever action was taken, it either didn’t help or helped for just a short time. :-(

    It took her six rounds of IVF to get pregnant (a completley miracle in and of itself) and she’s given up hope of ever having a second child despite having tried several more times.

    I do agree with pp – because the pill is viewed as a “cure-all” for these types of things, I don’t thing the research that needs to be done is happening and women continue to suffer…

    • I would suggest that she see a NaPro doctor. There might be other options for her. Even if she doesn’t end up with another child, she might find a better or safer treatment.

    • There are no other options, genniemom. The Pill isn’t a cure-all. It’s a stop-gap that’s less invasive than surgeries that WILL have to be repeated.

      And cleaning out endo does NOT improve fertility.

      The cause of endo seems to be a cause of infertility. Unfortunately, no one knows what that is.

  8. I have endo, and the Pill made my symptoms worse PLUS I had horrible side effects. I know anecdotes =/= data, but I have yet to meet an endo patient that the Pill truly helped. Most of them still have significant symptoms but are afraid to go off because “if it’s this bad with the Pill, how much worse will it be without?”

    I’ve used herbals (Shatavari in particular) with some success, but the only thing that eliminated my symptoms was excessive exercise. I run marathons, and as long as I run 20+ miles a week I have no pain. I was injured a couple months ago, and from my last run to first pain was 3 weeks, first pain to completely debilitated and heading to surgery was 5 weeks. Clearly the endo was still growing, and I would have eventually needed surgery no matter what, but I’ll gladly take the exercise and no pain between crises rather than the Pill.

    • You can count me as one that the pill helped. Every time I have been on the pill, my pain has at least not gotten worse, and usually gradually gets better over time. Every time I have been off the pill, my symptoms get progressively and markedly worse every month.

    • I’m another one that the pill helped. I thought I could manage my endo off of it, but landed myself in the ER. After having surgery I’m back on the pill, and along with some diet changes and the like, I can actually have a cycle without feeling like I’m going to keel over. In fact this is the first time in my life my cycles actually feel “normal” to me!

      I’ll have to see what happens on the fertility side of things when DH and I start trying, but I’m very much thankful that the horrendous pain is now under control!

    • I was literally crippled by my endo when I was a teenager. I missed 2 weeks of school nearly every month because I couldn’t get out of bed, in and out of the ER for pain, etc. At the age of 19, I was using a cane to help me get around because the pain was so bad. I had to plan all my trips in 10 minute spurts because I couldn’t stay straight for more than ten minutes.

      The pill didn’t help anything, and it wasn’t until I was 26 and got a sympathetic doctor, endocrinologist and got proper treatment that I finally got to live a normal life.

      • I don’t know much about endometriosis, and less about treatment options. I like to learn new things; do you mind me asking what treatment you received that worked for you? :)

  9. Sounds like something that happenend with my mother. She was complaining about painful, and heavy periods for years, and her docotr wanted to perscibe birth control pills. Finally I convince her to switch doctors, she does an ultrasound, thinks uterine cancer, and refers her to an OB Oncologists. he does an hystectomy two weeks later, no cancer, but she feels so much better not to be having a period all month long.

    OP, I hope you found a healthcare provider who took your concerns seriously. They do exist, they’re jst hard to find.

  10. The thing that I find really troublesome here is the word “might.” You MIGHT have endo. If a lap hasn’t been done to confirm a diagnosis, then this doctor has no way to know that for sure. That means he could very easily be missing an even more serious diagnosis!

    (I don’t mean to imply that endo isn’t serious because it certainly can be! I have severe endo and it has caused more problems than I could shake a stick at.)

  11. Laproscopy is the wrong first approachnfor pelvic pain see endometriosis website it is a chronic disease and surgery should be avoided if possible bcp and NSAIDs should be tried first then visane then depo Lupron then as last resort laproscopy by laser laproscopists too many times scope is first option no Endo is seen and no treatment is given. Guess what the woman still has pain

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