I Have Endometriosis, How Can Therapy Help Me?
Updated: Feb 16
*Photo with permission of @endostrong, endometriosis advocate and not a patient at Bloom Psychology
If you are suffering from abdominal or pelvic pain that stems from endometriosis, a medical provider might have recommended therapy. You might be wondering: why therapy? What can a therapist do for my pain? You might have thought that the medical provider - your doctor, nurse, or PT - thinks your pain is at least partially “in your head.”
Your pain is not "in your head," it's real, it hurts and it means you're suffering. Therapy helps with suffering. Let’s talk about why and how the right therapy for pain can help you.
First of all, as you know endometriosis hurts! When something hurts this much and this often it takes an emotional toll. Pain can make you feel nervous, stressed out, sad, irritable, and disappointed, to name a few.
What else have you felt because of your pain? A pain-focused psychologist, or therapist provides a safe place to process these emotions. They also provide emotional support and pain-informed strategies for curbing the effects stress can have on pain, and vice versa.
In addition to messing with your mood and emotions, endometriosis pain and discomfort often interferes with your ability to do the things you want to do. This could be work, exercise, hobbies, time with friends and family, and sex. Not only are you in pain, you’re also missing out on opportunities to engage in meaningful activities, and opportunities to frankly feel good - play, laugh, be fully present, enjoy sex.
Pain psychologists have lots of experience helping people manage these difficulties, and in most cases can help women re-engage with their lives and avoid missing out. What’s more, feeling good helps counteract the negative effects of pain, so pain psychologists work extra hard to help you maximize this healing effect.
Have you noticed how complex, stressful and frustrating obtaining medical care can be with endometriosis? This isn’t everyone’s experience, but it can be quite common for women to go for months and years without obtaining a definitive diagnosis. Some are told over and over that there is nothing wrong, or there is nothing that can be done.
These experiences can be deeply invalidating.
Many women walk away not feeling heard, or walk away feeling hopeless about their options. A pain psychologist can help you navigate these challenges. Many pain psychologists spend years working side-by-side with other medical providers, in hospitals and clinics, large and small. Having this insider knowledge allows pain psychologists help you get the care you need.
Psychologists and therapists who specialize in pain understand pain from a whole-person perspective. Your pain is real, so is it's effect on our life.
My name is Dr. Anna Yam and I’m a pelvic pain psychologist with many years of experience helping women reclaim their lives from pain. If you or someone you know is suffering with pelvic pain, and could use pain-informed care and support, I’m here to help. Schedule a complimentary consultation to get started.