Psychological Aspects

Endometriosis is a very complex disease. It not only affects women physically but also psychologically. The disease disrupts many areas of a woman’s life:
-time off work
-time away from the family
-inability to care for children periodically
-painful sex
-abdominal pain
-heavy bleeding
-inability to attend social activities, participate in sport

All these things can make woman feel less in control of their lives, create self-doubt, hand an impact on their sexuality and can take away their sense of self worth.

Women who have been undiagnosed for many years may have many issues that need to be addressed to set them on the road o wellness.

Often referral to a psychologist is necessary for them to work through relationships, work or other issues, and give strategies to help them cope. Sometimes referral to a sexual counsellor is necessary to help retrain tired pelvic muscles from years of pain; and learnt behaviour from the pain that intercourse can be pleasurable again. Finding special time for intimate relationships when symptoms are least may mean that these relationships are more planned than spontaneous for the time being. Planning these social times is very important for relationships, and to help both parties feel loved and needed during these difficult times. Communication between couples is very important as it helps both parties to understand where the other is coming from, it also reduces feelings of being unloved or less desired when it is the disease process not the person that is responsible for lack of intimacy.

Women often find that they do not always have the energy to cope with their children and do the things for them they used to or want to. Finding ways of streamlining the family activities may be necessary to make the most of the times when symptoms are most tolerable, leaving rest time when they are not. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but necessary to help women when symptoms are bad. Encouraging children to help will not only help the woman herself but also allows the family to feel to feel helpful and proactive in her care.

Sorting through these issues may take time; if may not be rectified over night.

Work issues can be more complex. If woman are able to tell their boss or supervisor what is happening to them then there is more scope for understanding if deadlines are not met or regular sick leave is taken, and gives woman a valuable opportunity to educate others who may be ignorant of the disease. If woman are not able to do this then it may put more pressure on them in the workplace.

Researching the disease and educating key people in the woman’s life is important because together they can understand what is happening and seek help. Sometimes seeing a naturopath can help with symptom control. For some women, PMT is a huge issue which can put a strain on relationships.

Reassurance is needed for partners that whatever the symptoms, they are not imagined or created to excuse behaviour, they are real. Partners often struggle trying to understand women’s health issues and need guidance to know what to do.

Women need to be taken seriously, need to have their concerns addressed, need to have their symptoms appropriately treated and be given options for treatment that suit their lifestyle and needs.