What if someone I love has endometriosis?
It’s hard to watch a wife, partner, daughter, sister, loved one, friend or mom go through pain. You might be confused or have heard frightening information about endometriosis. It’s totally understandable that you may have many questions you don’t know how to ask, or even feel helpless. There’s a lot you can do, though, to help your loved one and yourself.
First, get educated. Learn about endometriosis from reputable resources that can help you gather the facts. The more you know about endometriosis, the more you can do to assist someone in your life who may be struggling. It’s normal to feel scared when you see a loved one in pain. Some of your fears may be real, but others may be based on things that won’t ever happen. Knowledge is power!
Know that you are not to blame. Your loved one may have “off” days when they are in too much pain to be involved in activities. It's not your fault—and it's not theirs. It may be the new "normal" for the time being until the symptoms subside or become more manageable.
Doctors, nurses and others in your loved one's life are likely trying hard to help them. Know that you are an important part of that team as well. Some days will be good, some will be harder than others, and some will be the way they used to before endometriosis was part of the picture.
Know that during surgical or treatment phases, effects do vary from person to person. Trying to understand what your loved one may be feeling might help you figure out how to help them. Help with care, spend time with your loved one, share some laughs, go with or take them to a doctor’s appointment, watch a movie together, help with a small meal or snack, assist with chores around the house, read a book or newspaper to them...or just give them a hug.
Be real! It's important to stay positive, but don’t feel like you always have to act cheerful, especially if it’s not how you really feel. Share your thoughts with them and be of comfort to each other. Know that helps exists and there are many options for endometriosis treatment. Work together to find the right answers.
Don't forget about you - your feelings are valid and important, and a great way to connect with others who understand is a support group. Support groups aren't just for patients, and many meet right on line. You can meet others who are going through what you're experiencing, learn from one another, and gather advice and information. Endometriosis doesn't have to isolate you from your loved one.
Empathy goes a long way. Sometimes, all individuals with endometriosis want to know is that those around them understand.