What The Health: Let's Talk Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Recap
On April 28th, the Lois Hole Hospital Women's Society hosted What The Health: Let's Talk Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain. The webinar featured obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr. Pieter Kruger, and Lux, a patient advocate who suffered from devastating period pain for over a decade before receiving an accurate diagnosis and course of treatment for endometriosis.
In case you missed the recording, the link to watch the video is now on our YouTube:
As we learned from Dr. Kruger, endometriosis is a progressive, chronic pain disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus — the endometrium — grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves ligaments, the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the abdomen and the bowel, which can cause pressure and pain in a variety places in the pelvic area, as well as inflammation and infertility. The disorder is common in about ten percent of the female reproductive population, and takes an average of seven years to properly diagnose.
Dr. Kruger provided an in-depth overview how endometriosis impacts women, the side effects of endometriosis such as infertility, and walked the audience through a variety of treatments, such as taking anti-inflammatories, and the variety of hormone treatments and surgical options available for patients.
Dr. Kruger stressed that the moment you experience pelvic pain bad enough that it interferes with your ability to live a full life, it’s time to seek out a specialist appointment to determine the cause of the pain, and develop a treatment plan.
“Pelvic pain and painful periods are NOT a rite of passage. If the pain you feel interferes with daily activity and quality of life, seek medical investigation immediately.” – Dr. Pieter Kruger
Echoing the statements of Dr. Kruger, Lux shared their fifteen-year long struggle with endometriosis. Despite their mother suffering from endometriosis, Lux was dismissed by multiple physicians who told them their period pain was normal, resulting over a decade of disruptive, debilitating pain, and no course of effective treatment. Lux recounted monthly visits to the ER, sometimes needing to pull over while driving due to pelvic pain, and needing help with simple activities like getting out of a bath due to pain. Their pain impacted their quality of life so dramatically, they were prescribed a morphine prescription by age twenty.
After years of advocating, Lux finally received a laparoscopic surgery, where doctors uncovered two endometriomas the size of baseballs. Based on their experiences navigating the healthcare system and attempting to find a course of treatment to alleviate their pain, Lux ultimately founded the period pain relief brand Somedays in hopes of helping those with painful periods find some reprieve, and some joy.
The question and answer period was lively and full of engaging conversation, ranging from questions about specific types of treatment options, the relationship between infertility and endometriosis, and about how to properly advocate for yourself. You can watch the video for the full Q&A, but here is an example of a question asked:
Question: Can the infertility caused by endometriosis be reversed?
Dr. Kruger: It depends on where a patient experiences endometriosis. For example, if you experience damage to the fallopian tubes due to endometriosis, the damage unfortunately is often permanent. But if you have mild endometriosis and it’s managed effectively, it may not impact your fertility long term. It’s really individualized. Endometriosis is a common reason patients seek out IVF.
Thank you sincerely to Dr. Kruger and Lux for joining us for this timely and important topic! We learned so much from you about endometriosis and are thrilled the topic resonated with so many people.
Stayed tuned for updated about our next instalment of What The Health! Thank you again to Alberta Blue Cross for continuing to sponsor these important women's health lectures - your support is deeply appreciated.
For more resources on endometriosis, please visit:
- www.yourperiod.ca (SOGC)
- https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/endometriosis (WHO)
- www.choosingwisely.org (AAGL)
- https://thehappypelvis.ca/ (pelvic pain resource guide)
- https://nancysnookendo.com/ (endometriosis support)
- https://www.instagram.com/tv/CcoPOK5BU5K/ (a talk with Dr. Yong)
- https://somedays.com/products/somatic-care-deck (mindfulness tool for people with chronic pain)