Endometriosis hurts. There’s no question about it. Millions of women suffer in the U.S., and around the world.
The clinical terms that doctors use to define the pain and suffering are well-known to many women, particularly as they try to seek some answers. These pain words all start with “dys”: painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea); painful intercourse (dyspareunia); painful bowel movements (dyschezia); and painful urination (dysuria). And all of these “dys” problems are strongly associated with chronic and unpredictable bouts of pelvic pain, spastic bladder, irritable bowel, abnormal bleeding, back pain, and infertility.
Endometriosis hurts because there is so much ignorance, particularly amongst physicians and other health providers. When women with endometriosis are told ignorant things or have ignorant treatments that quickly leads to depression, questioning of self-worth, relationship breakups, loss of productivity, and feelings of isolation. And ignorant treatments can lead to actual physical harm (“iatrogenic” is the term). Luckily, this ignorance can readily be overcome when women with classic endometriosis symptoms turn to the Internet and social media, where it is easy to find that they are not alone. And through that information often comes empowerment and a plan of action.
Endometriosis hurts when women have trouble conceiving. In our experience, over 95% of women labeled with “unexplained infertility” actually have endometriosis. If I blogged everyday about every patient in our practice who has unexplored infertility causes, i.e. endometriosis, I’d be blogging for many years. In reality, endometriosis is by far the #1 diagnosis identified and treated in our subspecialty practice. My colleagues in reproductive endocrinology and infertility do their patients a huge disservice when they label 20-30% of their patients with the non-diagnosis of “unexplained infertility”.
Endometriosis hurts even when it doesn’t cause pain. Millions of women with endometriosis have no symptoms, or have mild cramps. This is so-called “silent endometriosis”. About one third of our patients have this, because they come to see us to determine why they are having trouble conceiving. Many “unexplained infertility” women fall into the “silent endometriosis” non-diagnosis. That’s because it is hard to diagnose endometriosis in the absence of symptoms. Women with “silent endometriosis” and “unexplained infertility” deserve a thorough laparoscopic evaluation, though this has become controversial amongst infertility specialists. Better to jump to expensive treatments without diagnosing and treating endometriosis? Better for whom?
Endometriosis hurts when fertility treatments fail, including IVF. While powerful and expensive treatments like IVF often can overcome infertility caused by endometriosis, it is very clear in the biomedical literature that endometriosis interferes with ovarian response, egg and embryo quality, and embryo implantation. How or why all of this happens is vigorously discussed amongst academic-minded physicians and basic scientists. We don’t have all the answers but many of my colleagues are ignoring the science that already exists. I could also be blogging for many years about each patient seeking second or third opinions, especially for failed IVF cycles.
Endometriosis hurts when families can’t grow because of infertility. Endometriosis hurts those who like or love a woman with endometriosis because they don’t know how to help. Endometriosis hurts future parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and Godparents.
Endometriosis hurts everyone.
"I have had pain for so long, finally finding Dr. McGuirk was honestly one of the best things to ever happen to me. She is so so smart and so kind. I knew I was in the right hands the second I met her. I actually get emotional thinking about it! She was the first doctor to take me seriously. She took away my pain and has given me better chances of becoming a mom. I can’t recommend this clinic enough, they truly care so much about their patients!"
"After a friend recommended, I saw Dr. McGuirk in April of 2019. On my first visit after explaining my symptoms I have had for over 20 years, Dr. McGuirk and I worked on a plan, she explained everything, offered reassurance that I was not crazy and she could help me. I had surgery in September and have enjoyed freedom from many unwanted symptoms since. I am so thankful for Dr. McGuirk and her team, especially Mari who was also a huge support for me throughout it all. Thank you all!"
"After becoming a patient, Dr. McGuirk performed a successful endo excision surgery and immediately started a treatment plan that restored my quality of life. I haven't felt this good in over 20 years! She really cares and is so passionate in helping those battling endo. She truly takes the time to explain everything to you and has such a great bedside manner. I've seen the pain in her eyes when she sees us suffering because she truly cares and wants to help us all. I feel amazing now and can actually enjoy life."
"Dr. McGuirk has been phenomenal. My daughter is 15 and underwent four surgeries and many other failed treatments for endometriosis within 2 years. As soon as my daughter was seen, Dr. McGuirk had a treatment plan and knew exactly what needed to be done. My daughter has been pain free since May and is living a teenage life again. Dr. McGuirk and her staff truly care about her patients and spend as much time as needed with you to explain and answer any questions. I can't thank Dr. McGuirk enough for giving my daughter back her quality of life."
"I don’t think I can express how much Dr. McGuirk changed my life. Before meeting Dr. McGurik, I had been living in chronic pain from endometriosis and after 4 surgeries nothing changed. My last doctor literally just gave me pain meds and sent me on my way. Not with McGuirk! Every appointment she takes time to thoroughly listen and understand what is going on. Through diet, surgery, and suppression I am now completely pain-free. I woke up from my surgery feeling completely different. She knows chronic pelvic pain and she is definitely someone you can trust."
"I suffered with my Endometriosis for many, many years - I am SO thankful for Dr. McGuirk and the wonderful staff at the Endometriosis & Pelvic Pain Center! She performed my laparoscopic excision surgery back in Nov. 2015, and that marks the day I got my life back! Dr. McGuirk and her staff are always quick to respond whenever I have any questions or concerns, and they're so professional and kind - it's obvious that they love what they do! I highly recommend them - they changed my life!"
"I have been a patient of Dr. McGuirk's since 2011. It's frustrating going from doctor to doctor to figure out what's wrong. I was fortunate to find Dr. McGuirk and she understood the constant pain I was going through. I was diagnosed with endometriosis. She has helped me to be come pain free and be able to get back to my life."
"Dr. McGuirk is an amazing doctor and I am so grateful that I found her to help me fight my battle with endometriosis. I have been to many doctors over the course of my treatment and I can confidently say that Dr. McGuirk is the one who gave me my life back!
Dr. McGuirk is a rare breed of doctor--capable of sitting with you even while you cry your eyes out discussing the struggles of life with endometriosis; capable of empathizing with you while rejecting the notion that a pain level of 4 is ‘not that bad’; capable of making you feel like she has all the time in the world to sit with you while you process; capable of delivering on her promise to help.
Dr. McGuirk saved my life and for this I am eternally grateful!"
4735 Ogletown-Stanton Road
MAP 2, Suite 3217
Newark, DE 19713
Eden Hill Medical Center
200 Banning Street, Suite #240
Dover, DE 19904
© 2023 Endometriosis & Pelvic Pain Center - A Division of RADfertility