With Endometriosis, Quality of Life is Dictated by Money
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with complex, stage 4 endometriosis, and it has had a severe impact on my life... From the surgeries, the fight to find my specialist of choice, to every treatment I have tried. It has affected every aspect of my life, especially the financial side.
Alternative treatments can be expensive, and necessary
Endometriosis is a chronic disease that currently has no cure. Most patients resort to a wide variety of alternative treatments to regain control of their lives. Acupuncture, nutrition specialists, pelvic massage therapy, and physiotherapy are all treatments that don't come cheap. Alternative forms of pain relief such as CBD are especially expensive because of the extracting process required to produce them. Good essential oils that can aid with anxiety and other symptoms are equally pricey. Yet, each one of these treatments could potentially help relieve many symptoms.
Mental health therapy can become a costly necessity
Endometriosis can have a considerable impact on mental health. A lot of patients require some sort of emotional support to navigate life with a chronic illness. Finding inexpensive, effective treatment is not an easy task. I live in the UK, where I can access free mental health care, but the waiting lists are incredibly long, and you can easily wait for months before being seen by anyone.
It can seriously impact your ability to work full-time
Holding down a job with endometriosis is a struggle, and a successful professional career is something many of us can only dream of. Understanding bosses that are OK with recurrent flare-ups and hospital stays are hard to come by. I gave up my own career to work from home.
As a self-employed person, sometimes my income can be quite low. I am thrifty and carefully choose what I spend my money on, but the last month, my budget was so tight I had to forgo buying CBD oil for pain relief. All I could do was use my TENS machine and stay horizontal. I have also put my acupuncture sessions on hold because I can't afford them right now.
An endometriosis diet does not come cheap
An “endo diet” is a lifestyle change that although very helpful, can be hard to maintain financially. Gluten and dairy-free alternatives are expensive, as is any specialized ingredient found in health stores. Organic, fresh produce will always involve spending more money than reaching out for cheaper, processed alternatives - which conversely are not good for endometriosis patients.
There is little doubt that endometriosis is a financially costly disease. I am lucky to have good friends that can drive me to my medical visits and live in the UK, where healthcare is still free. For my most recent surgery, I didn’t have to decide on one type of surgery over another. Excision surgery is generally more expensive than ablation, and in many countries, like the US, patients will undergo a procedure that is easier on their budgets because they can’t afford the right one for their type of endometriosis.
From my somewhat lucky position, I wonder how those less fortunate manage life with endometriosis. It is an illness that affects so many, regardless of their socioeconomic background, and that can easily become a burden on anyone’s pocket.
How old were you when you were diagnosed with endometriosis?