Monday, March 2, 2015
Q&A Article With Dr. Heegaard
In the last few years, Huffington Post has done a few really well written articles on Endometriosis which I would love to share with you. One of those articles is Endometriosis: Devastating for Young Women. In this article, Erin talks about her friend who was diagnosed with Endometriosis and the physician who helped her, Dr. Eric Heegaard. Here are some of the questions and answers between Erin and Dr Heegaard:
Erin: From the young patients you have seen, what are the misdiagnoses they often receive before finding you?
Dr. Heegaard: The most traffic diagnosis is the "lack there-of," meaning it is just chalked up to normal menstrual cramping. The girl is told that she is exaggerating her symptoms. In short, the double, or in my opinion, the triple tragedy is that the condition is not diagnosed and therefore the opportunity to intervene early when it is most successfully treated is missed.
The young woman is told that her symptoms are not real, in essence, that she is looking for attention and has a poor pain tolerance (which in reality is the opposite of the truth).That this is occurring in our adolescent girls, at a time when so much is changing, and there are so many societal and social pressures they are having to cope with.
Erin: What questions should a young woman ask her doctor if she suspects endometriosis?
Dr. Heegaard: This is a wonderful questions and touches on many of the points I made above. I would do research before even seeing the doctor, so that you can be informed. If it comes to surgery, I would ask if the doctor has experience dealing with endometriosis surgery? How many cases has he or she done? Does she/he have experience with dealing with endometriosis of the bowel or bladder? In short -- experience, experience, experience.
Erin: Are there any other points you would like to include?
Dr. Heegaard: If anything I would again espouse the importance of self advocacy and insisting on being evaluated and treated by a doctor/practitioner with experience in this area. Do not let someone down-play your pain and minimize it, or you. In my experience, women who suffer from this dreadful condition are among the most impressive of all my patients because, in contrast to what they have been told, they have high pain tolerance and are amazingly functional given that they hold down their jobs, care for their friends and families, maintain their relations but they have pain, all the time. Many of these women function with a level of pain which would incapacitate the rest of us if it were for some reason thrust upon us. It is my life's work to spread this one simple message: If you have periods which are painful enough to keep you from engaging in normal activities, this is not normal! Get in an be evaluated for endometriosis. A second message would also be "sex should not be painful." IF it is, get in and get evaluated for endometriosis.
If you would like to read the whole article you can do so: Here