“Doctors don’t know what causes fibromyalgia, but it most likely involves a variety of factors working together.”
Here are some ugly truths: Women and men experience pain differently. Doctors are less likely to treat women’s pain. Health issues that disproportionately affect women are not studied as much as those affecting men. It can take women multiple visits and sometimes years to diagnose their medical issues and chronic illnesses. And when painful conditions like Endometriosis and Fibromyalgia don’t have a simple test for diagnosing, those visits and months and years can prove both emotionally and physically draining when you’re already in pain and still having to fight for a diagnosis.
Continue reading “Diagnosing Chronic Pain”
Health Care is not One-Size-Fits-All.
You know there is a reason they call it “practicing medicine.” Doctors don’t have all the answers. There’s no Magic 8 Ball sitting in their office solving all of the great medical mysteries. Many women, especially, take years to get diagnosed (read more here). Trust me. I know.
This post isn’t meant to bash the medical community by any means. Having been treated for fibromyalgia and endometriosis, I have seen my share of doctors over the last 30 years. I have had some great medical care over the years…and I have had some not so great medical care. I have had doctors who would prefer to treat a symptom and send me on my way, rather than look for the root cause of my collective symptoms. And I have had some medical mysteries that have perplexed many a health care provider, leading to endless doctor visits, expensive (and quite possibly unnecessary) tests and medical expenses, and no explanations.
As Pain Awareness Month comes to an end, think about the other side of medical care – diagnoses, benefits, and billing. So what do we need to do to take our health into our own hands and advocate for ourselves?
Continue reading “Becoming Your Own Health Advocate”
“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”
I write a lot about my fibromyalgia and chronic pain, but long before I was diagnosed with those issues I suffered a different kind of chronic pain. And it was the first of several times I have had to convince doctors that there was something wrong with me. Really wrong with me. Endometriosis is somewhat of a hidden disease, since it coincides with a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle and will often be written off as severe PMS or dysmenorrhea. But here is the definition, from the Office of Women’s Health:
“Endometriosis happens when the lining of the uterus (womb) grows outside of the uterus. It may affect more than 11% of American women between 15 and 44.1 It is especially common among women in their 30s and 40s.” Continue reading “Endometriosis Awareness Day”