Doctors And Specialists For Endometriosis: A Quick Guide

Endometriosis is a complex inflammatory condition that affects 5–10% of females in their childbearing years.¹ It is a hormone-dependent condition fueled by estrogen and causes severe pelvic pain and infertility in those who suffer from it.

This means approximately 176 million people worldwide are living life under the shadow of dyspareunia (pain during sex), dysmenorrhea (pain with their period), dysuria, and dyschezia (pain with urination and constipation), as well as infertility.¹

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What kind of doctor treats endometriosis?

The journey from symptom onset to diagnosis is often long and complicated, lasting between 4–11 years, with common misdiagnoses along the way.² Of course, this time can cause significant emotional, physical, and financial burdens to the patients searching for an answer to their pain and infertility. Although gynecologists and endometrial surgeons often understand endometriosis intricately, a team of people is often needed to help you get to a point where you can manage your condition and experience an improved quality of life.

Knowing exactly who to consult makes life a lot easier and minimizes the need to spend so much time suffering without a definitive diagnosis and associated help.

Here, we explain who could make up the team of specialists to treat you and help you understand and manage your condition.

What specialists might form your medical team?

Family doctor

Your family doctor likely won’t be an endometriosis specialist but may form a critical cornerstone to your journey as they know you the best and can often give good advice about who to see for your different symptoms. Given the complexities of diagnosing and managing endometriosis, you will usually be referred to a gynecologist — ideally early on in your journey.

Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB-GYN)

An OB-GYN specializes in treating females and any issues related to the reproductive system. They may perform or refer you to get a diagnostic ultrasound scan, as well as complete a physical exam to help diagnose your condition.

Because they understand endometriosis, they may be very helpful in suggesting other specialists for the different symptoms you are experiencing.

Reproductive endocrinologist

These specialized OB-GYNs are very experienced in understanding female reproduction and the intricate interplay of hormones that governs it. For this reason, they understand endometriosis well and how it may be impacting your fertility.

They can help assess what problems are occurring and offer alternative solutions, such as assisted reproduction techniques (ART), including intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

Gastroenterologist

These doctors are specialized in the entire gastrointestinal system, including your stomach, intestines, colon, rectum, esophagus, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

Often, the bowel can be involved in endometriosis with associated symptoms such as chronic diarrhea or constipation, or even obstructions from deep infiltrative endometriosis (DIE).³ They can help you manage the gastrointestinal symptoms you are experiencing, which can make a big difference in your life.

Pain management specialist

These doctors study pain, how it arises, and where it comes from. Understanding pain can be complex as pain can be related to other areas of the body or can arise from other factors such as environmental, occupational, musculoskeletal, emotional, or psychological influences. With endometriosis, inflammation can excessively stimulate the uterine nerve fibers, which can put the peripheral and central nervous systems into a sensitized state.⁴ Pain specialists can help treat your pain using different approaches so that you can experience relief from your symptoms.

Pelvic floor physical therapist

The pelvic floor muscles can be very involved in the pain experienced from endometriosis.⁵ They can also contribute to the pain associated with sex, passing urine, and bowel movements.

Seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist who understands their role in endometriosis can be one of the best things you’ll do. They can help with simple things that may be exacerbating your pain and work on the causes in a non-invasive, non-confronting way.

Mental health professional

The impact of endometriosis on your life cannot be underestimated, but additionally, it shouldn’t be allowed to impact your quality of life indefinitely. Addressing the pain and physical manifestations is important, but so too is addressing the emotional and mental impact it may have on you. Finding a psychologist or counselor who works with endometriosis specialists or understands pain and infertility could be invaluable in feeling like you can manage your life again.

What are the specialists' approaches to treatment?

Generally, most doctors’ approaches to treatment should be patient-focused, where they listen to any concerns you may have. These may include all the different types of pain you experience, when it affects you, whether infertility is an issue, and exactly how your experience affects your everyday life.

The impact the disease has on you should guide the way they assist you and how they try to intervene to address these issues.

When should you see a doctor for endometriosis?

Simply put, whenever a condition is reducing your quality of life and altering the way you would normally live it, you should see a doctor. Some people who have endometriosis are asymptomatic, so they may feel the need to delay seeking help — if, of course, they know about their condition. Even when it shows no symptoms, the argument for endometriosis is that it should always be managed or at least watched by a doctor because of its long-term consequences.

These include infertility and an increased risk of cancer. Seeking help at any stage of your disease and ensuring you are cared for properly will help keep the disease controlled for a longer period. 

The lowdown

Endometriosis is a condition that has a huge impact on the physical and emotional lives of those that suffer from it. These can extend into their professional lives and relationships and be very debilitating. Because of the multi-factorial and chronic nature of the disease, a team of specialists is needed to treat their own areas of expertise while remaining in communication with each other. They will adhere to a patient-focused model of treatment that will ensure the best outcome.¹

Have you considered clinical trials for Endometriosis?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Endometriosis, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Joining community groups and exercise programs for my condition made me feel empowered – but I want to be part of finding a cure.
Peter, 64

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