Part 1 of my experiences with the medical system, and hormonal health.
It’s not a sharp pain, not usually. It’s an aching gnawing pain that makes me press my hand to my stomach. In February, I was told that this was perfectly normal. The gynaecologist said that to my face, she said that it’s normal to have pain throughout your entire cycle.
I went home, and I researched. Medical research is what I do best. Once you’ve experienced pain that makes you want to float away into nothingness, Googling symptoms doesn’t really scare you any more. So I researched, I looked up ovulation pain, and then I stumbled into the world of endometriosis. Now, I’m not saying I do have it, but I’m not saying I don’t. My body is a complicated thing. However, I’ve come across the term before, but what I haven’t really come across – or stopped to think about, was how doctors attitudes differ within female heath. I’ve dealt with a lot of problems with my overall health, that I often forget the special subset of hell that is female health.
I’ve been a staunch opponent of no contraception for two years now. Granted, I’ve had a bias against it for longer than that, but at that time it was working well for me. Two years ago I came off the implant and since then every doctor I’ve seen and explained my painful cycles to, wants me to go back on hormonal contraception. I get it. They know it works – they don’t really understand the long-term side-effects of hormones in the body, but it seems to help symptoms and that’s what matters to them. When it comes to endometriosis, it’s basically the only option.
This is how I found myself wheeled into an NHS consulting room a few weeks ago. I was due to have a hysteroscopy – a thin camera up past the cervix into the womb. I was due to have a hysteroscopy because I essentially got bullied into the idea of having the coil, and the gynaecologist wouldn’t budge on exploring the pain before writing it off as ‘normal’. She did say even if it was endometriosis, the only treatment would be the coil, so it didn’t matter if I did or did not have it. That’s how medicine works, right?
The only reason I didn’t have a hysteroscopy was because of my partner. When we spoke to the doctor that was going to do with the procedure, she mentioned she wasn’t sure why I’d been referred if I wasn’t going to have the coil. We were honest. We said that it was because the gynaecologist wouldn’t acknowledge the pain. For once a doctor looked out for me and said that she wasn’t sure why I was here, and she wasn’t sure if the procedure was going to be any help – it would cause undue stress and pain. I’ve never had a doctor look out for me like that before, especially upon the first meeting, it was nice. Odd, but nice.
I’ve become accustomed to doing what doctors say just because I know they will listen to me more if I go along with them. I nearly managed to talk myself into a hysteroscopy, according to the doc a ‘six injections into the cervix’ procedure because I didn’t want doctors to underestimate just how much pain I get throughout the hormonal cycle. My partner has taken it upon himself to look out for me in these medical situations nowadays and took charge of the appointment – a fact I am eternally grateful for. We came out of the appointment with a promise that she’d write to both my GP and the doctor I was supposed to be under before I got put on the consultant’s list.
There’s hope again.
Granted, I highly expected that hope to be squashed like it always is when it comes to birth control, menstrual pain, and my cycle, but there’s hope. Maybe the next time I see a gynaecologist they might just take my pain, and all my other symptoms seriously. Maybe they won’t get written off as a byproduct of my fibromyalgia, or my other health conditions.