A woman stands in a circle of doctors who all have their backs turned to her

Being Taken Seriously

Individuals who have any type of health condition genuinely want to be heard, believed, and understood. Any kind of health condition presents stress on the individual; It is even worse when other people’s reactions make us feel isolated.

Family history of endometriosis

Like many individuals with endometriosis, I have a family history of endometriosis. We know for a fact that my mother and her cousin have endometriosis. With my mother’s prior experiences dealing with her own endometriosis, I was lucky to have her support me. It helped me to go through my battle to be diagnosed with at least one person believing in me. This is sadly more than many women can say.

Take me seriously

One of the most emotionally taxing elements of facing endometriosis is the fight to be taken seriously. For many women, it is a struggle to find anybody that believes you. This challenge takes place both in an individual’s personal life and in their healthcare. It is extremely difficult to endure an illness without any support.

Take me seriously in my personal life

So many healthy people can be judgmental, intentionally or not, when they are faced with somebody who is dealing with health issues. In my own experience, it seemed all too easy for people to dismiss my symptoms due to endometriosis. It seemed all too easy for people who had normal periods to tell me I was just being a baby and that the pain was not that bad. Most people had no understanding of what it meant to bleed through the biggest pad and tampon in 30 minutes.

My paternal grandmother explicitly told me that I needed to suck it up because I was only feeling what every other female felt. This was extra upsetting for me because I was only 14 years old.

Take me seriously in healthcare

The extreme ignorance that I had to deal with due to healthcare professionals was beyond disturbing. It is hard to learn at the age of 14 that medical professionals can be undeniably jaded. I had multiple specialists tell me that somebody my age simply could not have endometriosis. This was frustrating because other conditions do not have age limits on them, so why would endometriosis…?

I even had doctors tell me that I was just depressed and the extreme pain was just in my head. These doctors also seemed to think my mother and I were exaggerating about my symptoms. I cannot even count the number of Obstetrics and Gynecology physicians we saw through the emergency room and during hospital visits. It seemed that nobody took us the slightest bit serious until every period landed me in the emergency room and caused me to miss a week or more from school.

Ways to improve your chances

One important step to take is to be extremely open with your doctor about all your symptoms. Do not be embarrassed to tell the doctor that it hurts during sex or during a bowel movement. If it seems that your doctor is not familiar with endometriosis, look for a doctor who is knowledgeable about it.

One of my biggest suggestions for somebody dealing with any kind of medical condition is to manage your doctors. I have always looked at it as doctors work for us. If you are seeing a doctor who refuses to believe your symptoms, fire that doctor. I probably dealt with 15 OB/GYNs prior to finding the duo who did my first laparoscopic surgery. These doctors worked hard to do their best to treat me. Once they realized they were out of options to provided effective continuous care for me, they helped me find a qualified doctor.

While it can be a challenge to be taken seriously, it is something that everybody deserves. You may find yourself in a position that requires you to make changes in your life, it can have a positive effect on you and your health. The added stress of feeling like nobody is taking you seriously is not good for your health.

Do you have experience with the challenge of being taken seriously?

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