Endometriosis, Gynecologists, and Endocrinologists
Last updated: October 2022
I have been living with endometriosis for almost 20 years. I have seen several gynecologists to help manage my endometriosis during this time. Over this last year, my specialist added an endocrinologist to my care team.
Having a hysterectomy for endometriosis
Several years ago, I had a hysterectomy. While I know a hysterectomy is not a cure for endometriosis, I was desperate to find some relief.
My surgery was complicated due to the endometriosis and scar tissue. One of the less-mentioned side effects of all laparoscopic surgeries is the surgical scar tissue that builds up. This can cause issues within the abdomen in addition to endometriosis adhesions.
Despite all of the complications, my hysterectomy was a success. I had a total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.
My ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, and cervix were removed. They also removed any endometriosis adhesions and scar tissue.
Since both ovaries were removed to prevent endometriosis recurrence, I needed to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This is where the significant challenges began. Trying to balance my hormones was a complicated matter with many side effects.
Trying different medications
We started with various types of estrogen creams. Regardless of where the creams were supposed to go, they did not help.
The following medication we tried was an estrogen and progesterone combination pill. This medication helped before my hysterectomy but was not helpful after my hysterectomy.
We also tried just the progesterone pill, which was a mistake.
Referred to an endocrinologist
My gynecologist decided it was time for some assistance. He referred me to see an endocrinologist.
Of course, finding an endocrinologist who took my insurance and would work with my gynecologist took time and a lot of work. But I did eventually find one.
My first appointment with the endocrinologist involved a lot of blood work. She also checked me out very thoroughly.
We took the time to go through all the medications the gynecologist tried me on and the effects, or lack thereof, produced by these medications.
She has me on an estradiol patch, and a newer medication called Osphena. The Osphena helps treat my menopausal side effects due to my ovaries being removed during my hysterectomy.
It has helped drastically with my vaginal dryness. My gynecologist tried for over a year to fix this issue and could not correct it.
My endometriosis path has always shown me to be a complicated patient. I appear to be a complicated patient, even with the endocrinologist.
She is currently speaking to other doctors about my case. She also mentioned that I might have polycystic ovary syndrome, PCOS, and endometriosis.
I do not know what this diagnosis will mean for my health team, but I will find out at my follow-up appointment.
My gynecologist has decided that as long as I see the endocrinologist, I only need to see the gynecologist once a year for my well-woman exam. This feels so weird to me.
I am so used to seeing my gynecologist every few months that knowing it will be once a year now feels weird.
But I have to say that the endocrinologist seems to have a better handle on dealing with my hormone situation than any gynecologist.
Does anyone else have their endometriosis care overseen by an endocrinologist instead of a gynecologist?
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