Endometriosis affects many women. Ten percent of women in their reproductive years suffer from the condition. On “The Doctors” this week, Dr. Nita Landry and Dr. Andrew Ordon are helping to give viewers the tools to deal with struggles of this condition, sitting down with special guests Halsey and Kate Bond to discuss how the singer and actress suffered from years of misdiagnosis. Dr. Nita and Dr. Andrew spoke to CBS Local about what they learned from Halsey and Kate Bond’s experiences with endometriosis, as well as providing some tips on how people can prepare for May, which is both Skin Cancer Prevention Month and National Physical Fitness Month.
Can you tell us a little about endometriosis? What is it and how does it affect the women who have it?
Dr. Nita: Endometriosis is when the tissue that’s supposed to line the inside of the uterus gets outside of the uterus. When that happens, the tissue can implant places like a female’s ovaries or her Fallopian tubes, maybe her intestines. Regardless, it causes a significant amount of pain in some women. Unfortunately, what happens with women around the world is that it can be difficult to diagnose. Some women are diagnosed with the wrong thing time and time again and year after year. Kate Bond and Halsey will give us a first-hand account of what their journeys looked like. They’ll tell us how the misdiagnosis affected them physically and mentally. Then they’ll tell us how they were totally able to change their lives around once they got the proper diagnosis and the steps to address that endometriosis.
Dr. Andrew: I think this is the most in-depth look we’ve taken at a big problem. Millions of women globally are affected by this process, and, as Dr. Nita alluded to, can be difficult to make the diagnosis. Very often, women go months, if not years, being misdiagnosed. The good news is, we’re gonna give you the tips, what to look for, what to tell your doctor, and there are definite ways to treat this condition.
Dr. Nita: The big takeaway is if you’re a female and you are having heavy or painful periods that stop you from going to school, stop you from going to work, and make you miss certain social functions, that is not normal and it’s something that needs to be addressed. Not everyone with endometriosis will need surgery. Sometimes you can do hormonal medications, or over-the-counter medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In any case, if you’re having that much pain, it should be addressed.
This sounds like it’s something that affects a lot of women. Ten percent of women in their reproductive years suffer from endometriosis. What were the takeaways from Halsey and Kate Bond’s experiences dealing with it?
Dr. Nita: The big takeaways with Kate Bond and Halsey would be that they struggled for so long. They kept going to the doctor and saying, I’m having this pain, it’s disrupting my life, I can’t deal with it, and the doctors were not able to diagnose them with endometriosis for several years. A lot of times, doctors will say, oh I think it’s normal period pain, I think it’s this, I think it’s that. You just want to listen to your body, and if you feel as though you’re not getting the relief you need based on a treatment plan from a particular provider, then it may be time to switch providers. Find someone who will listen. Find someone who will help you feel better. And that’s what they did with their current OBGYNs.
Dr. Andrew: And the message was, listen to your body. Don’t accept what you’re hearing if it doesn’t coincide with the symptoms that you’re experiencing. You may need to seek additional care and advice. And in both their cases, they ended up getting the appropriate treatment.
Dr Nita: Some of the symptoms of endometriosis include heavy periods, painful periods, pain with intercourse, pain with urination or defecation, things like that. But once again, the big red flag was that the pain with their periods disrupted their lives.
May is Skin Cancer Prevention Month. Can you give us some tips on how to monitor your skin health, especially with summer coming?
Dr. Andrew: For sure. As you said, skin cancer prevention. Prevention is the key. We’re approaching the summer months, people want to get tan. Stay away from tanning beds. They cause skin cancer. That’s been proven. Protection, protection, protection. What am I talking about? Try to avoid those peak hours of sunshine from, let’s say, 10 to 2. Make sure you wear that floppy hat. Make sure you wear your sunglasses to protect your eyes. When you’re applying sunscreen, SPF30 or stronger. Make sure you’re using a full shot glass of sunscreen. Make sure you get your ears and the top of your head if you’re bald. Make sure you re-apply that sunscreen if you’re at the beach, going in that water, sweating, etc., because you lose the effect of that protection. Wear as much covering as you can to prevent that direct sun exposure. Keep an eye on your body. If you see any changing moles or lesions, any dark lesions that have been changing, you want to have them looked at. Skin cancer is the most common cancer out there, but if caught early, it can be treated, end of story, you’re done with your skin cancer. The key is protection.
May is also National Physical Fitness Month. A lot of people are working all day and not moving a lot. Do you have any tips for people on what they can do to still make sure they’re physically active?
Dr. Andrew: You gotta move around. Even if you’re moving around a little bit at work. I know that if you’ve got a sedentary job, it’s hard, but you actually can stand up in your workplace. It’s all about moving, getting that body going a little bit, burning calories. And we have all sorts of nice little tips throughout the month of May on “The Doctors” of how you can get yourself moving. It can a brisk walk everyday. It’s springtime, spring cleaning time. Household work around the house, spring cleaning will burn calories, another way to get moving.
Dr. Nita: Ideally, adults should get about two and a half hours of moderate intensity activity per week. That means a brisk walk, you can do a little dancing, maybe you can swim, rake some leaves. And on top of that, you should do some muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week. That means lifting weights or using those elastic bands. Kids should move an hour everyday, so really get those kids up and moving. Remember, once you get the green light from your doctor, physical activity is for everybody. You don’t have to start off running a marathon. Start where you are. Take it step by step, day by day. Just get up and get moving. It will make you healthier and it will make you sexier.
The next episode of “The Doctors” airs Thursday, Apr. 26. Check your local listings for more information.