Those who've struggled with endometriosis know it's a complex disorder. There is no direct cause or cure, and the symptoms vary from person to person. While some experience terrible cramping, irregular periods, and heavy menstrual flow, others experience pain during sex, nausea and vomiting, and infertility. Regardless of how it affects someone, having a solid support system is crucial. If you're suffering in silence, it may be helpful to hear women with endometriosis reveal the little ways their partners support them, so you can start building your own helpful network.
According to the Endometriosis Foundation of America, 200 million women are affected by endometriosis worldwide, (which says nothing of trans and non-binary individuals), and it often takes up to 10 years after the onset of symptoms before a patient will receive a diagnosis. Endometriosis symptoms can begin inflicting a person as young as 11, but more often than not begin when a person is between 25- and 35-years-old.
And while there are plenty of ways to treat the symptoms of endometriosis — from pain medication to evasive surgeries — there is no cure. So, more often than not, those suffering from endometriosis have to find a way to live their life with chronic pain. That's why, among many other reasons, the support of a partner or larger network is vital. With that in mind, here's what some partners do to help, care for, and support their loved ones dealing with endometriosis pain.
"I’m insanely lucky. My husband takes care of the kids, orders sushi, and gets me everything I need when I have flare. He was incredibly loving and caring when it took us years to get pregnant. He also brings me a lot of coffee in bed, which is pretty great. Mostly, it’s the house stuff that’s the best. Cleaning, kid caring, getting dinner, all while working tons of hours as a cop."
"It doesn't effect me as much as it did pre-birth control pills, but back in the day when I felt the intense cramping coming on [my partner would] launch into battle-mode and run to the store for me. Thermacare hot pads, chocolate, DVDs. You name it. But more important than that was how he'd back me up in situations where people didn't necessarily grasp the magnitude of having endometriosis. I've never tried to have children, but I can imagine that it would be a whole different level of difficulty. It brings me a great deal of comfort knowing that whatever the situation, I have a partner who gets it."
"Mine was so severe, plus the continuous risk of cervical cancer, that almost a year ago I had a hysterectomy at 36. [My partner] would rub my back as I sobbed, begging him to end my life just so I could be pain-free. He was at every VA and now Civilian GYN appointment helping me fight the system, to get what I needed. He has always been by my side through the battle. I am so grateful that I have him in my corner."
"My partner wasn't very supportive in the beginning because I don't think he understand how bad it can get. Eventually, he saw how much pain I was in (though still doesn't really get it) and helped out more around the house and with our other children."
"My husband takes me to my doctor's appointments, rubs my feet, and takes care of everything while I try to ride out the pain in bed. It's not fun for either of us but at least he tries to understand."