IntegraMed® Fertility Expert Offers 3 Steps to Emotional Health for Women with Endometriosis
(Purchase, NY, March 7, 2013) It is estimated that a third of women who are infertile have Endometriosis, a condition that affects over 5 million women in the United States.* Endometriosis is one of the most common health problems for women and can be one of the most emotionally difficult. In honor of Endometriosis Awareness Month in March, Dr. Ariadna Cymet- Lanski, a clinical psychologist at Fertility Centers of Illinois (FCI), offers 3 steps that women can take that will help them maintain their emotional health. FCI is part of IntegraMed Fertility’s Attain Fertility® Network.
Endometriosis is the number one cause of pelvic pain, reproductive surgeries, and infertility in women. Along with the physical pain, the condition can also exact emotional pain on women and their partners. While there isn’t a cure for the condition, Dr. Cymet-Lanski believes that taking steps to deal with the emotional impact will help to alleviate the stress and discomfort associated with the condition.
Mindfulness: A kinder gentler you
The pain and discomfort associated with Endometriosis often leads women to feel that their bodies have let them down and that there is something fundamentally ‘broken’ about them. “The first and last thing I ask patients to do is to adopt an attitude of mindfulness; to cover their bodies with love and compassion and gratitude,” says Dr. Cymet-Lanski. Pain activates the nervous system creating tension and stress that make the pain worse. Practicing mindfulness – whether it’s taking a moment to breathe deeply, acknowledging the discomfort and remembering that it won’t last, or focusing on all that is positive in one’s life – has proven to be very effective in controlling pain by calming the nervous system down which reduces tension and stress.
Stay connected: Intimacy is about more than sex
Endometriosis may not only cause infertility in women, but often makes sexual intercourse painful. Both symptoms can lead to avoidance and tension between partners. It is important for couples to explore other ways to share intimacy, and to be open with each other. “When couples feel deeply connected and supported they are better able to take things slowly and accept that there will be times when they will need to find other ways to express their intimacy. It’s not about blame or shame. Allowing your partner to understand how you feel also allows them the opportunity to be more compassionate and loving,” explains Cymet-Lanski. Reducing stress and tension will also help ease the strain when hoping to become pregnant.
Communication: Honestly is the best policy
Living with chronic pain and discomfort, like that associated with Endometriosis, often causes women to isolate, which can have a negative impact on friends and family. Partners may not understand and friends may feel annoyed or left out. Finding a way to preemptively communicate with those closest to you and ask for support is important. “There may be certain times during the month when you know you won’t feel like socializing, and you’ll need to withdraw a bit in order to take care of yourself. By letting your partner and friends know what’s going on, you give them the opportunity to understand, and to offer compassion and support that will keep you from feeling alone and inadequate,” suggests Dr. Cymet-Lanski.
“And of course the most important thing for women to keep in mind is that a diagnosis of Endometriosis alone does not mean that you won’t have a child. With the care of a fertility specialist along with mindful attention to reducing stress, and staying as active and healthy as possible, the probability of having a successful pregnancy is very good,” concludes Dr. Cymet-Lanski.
To learn more about Endometriosis, visit AttainFertility.com and join the Attain Fertility community on Facebook for additional information and support throughout Endometriosis Awareness Month.