Endometriosis: which healthcare professionals and doctors should you see?

Published Mar 28, 2024 • By Claudia Lima

Endometriosis is a chronic gynecological disease that affects millions of women around the world. It causes intense pain, fertility problems and other disabling symptoms.

For the management of endometriosis to be effective, patients should see a number of different health specialists and receive a multidisciplinary care.

So which healthcare professionals should patients see and why?

Read our article to find out!

Endometriosis: which healthcare professionals and doctors should you see?

What is endometriosis? 

Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory disease in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, called the endometrium, develops outside the uterus. This tissue may be found in other pelvic organs, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, ligaments supporting the uterus, bladder or rectum. Less frequently, it can also spread to other parts of the body, such as the digestive tract and lungs.

During the woman's menstrual cycle, the endometrium that has developed over the previous few days detaches and is evacuated from the body in the form of a menstrual bleeding. However, the endometrial tissue located outside the uterus cannot be evacuated, leading to inflammation, pain and the formation of scar tissue known as endometriomas.

 The most common symptoms of endometriosis are:

  • Sharp, disturbing pain during periods and sexual intercourse, as well as when defecating and/or urinating,
  • Intense, chronic pelvic pain,
  • Lower back pain,
  • Heavy and/or irregular periods,
  • Bloating
  • Nausea,
  • Chronic fatigue,
  • Depression,
  • Anxiety,
  • Fertility problems.

10% of women and girls of child-bearing age are affected worldwide.

We don't know what causes endometriosis, or how to prevent it. There is no cure, but symptoms can be reduced by various drug treatments and/or surgery.

Increased awareness combined with early diagnosis and treatment can slow or halt the natural progression of the disease. Various medical specialists are involved in the management of endometriosis.

Which healthcare professionals should you see for your endometriosis? 

Because of its complexity and impact on patients' daily lives, endometriosis requires multidisciplinary care.

The two health specialists most frequently seen at the start of the diagnostic process are the general practitioner and the gynecologist. They are usually the first ones to suspect the presence of endometriosis lesions.

A primary care physician 

Your primary care physician, or family doctor, is the one who can assess the nature and the extent of your symptoms. They can then refer you to a gynecologist, but they can also coordinate your appointments and keep your medical records up to date.

A gynecologist

A gynecologist is sometimes the first health professional women see if they suffer from endometriosis symptoms.

It is strongly advised to find a gynecologist specializing in endometriosis.

To establish a correct diagnosis the gynecologist asks questions about the symptoms and their impact on the patient's life, and performs a clinical examination. They can also prescribe a pelvic MRI to confirm the diagnosis and hormonal treatments for endometriosis pain.

Depending on the symptoms, the patient may be referred to another healthcare specialist: a gastroenterologist, a urologist, a neurologist, a fertility specialist, etc.

A gynecological surgeon specializing in endometriosis can intervene if surgery is required. Gynecological surgeons can perform laparoscopic surgery to confirm the diagnosis of endometriosis and treat it. These surgeons have specific expertise in the management of the disease, including fertility preservation and the management of surgical complications.

Here is the list of other healthcare professionals you should see if you have endometriosis:

A radiologist 

Medical imaging is essential for diagnosing endometriosis. It is the starting point for the diagnosis and therefore the management of this disease.

More and more radiologists are specializing in the diagnosis of endometriosis. Radiologists have in-depth knowledge of the diagnostic criteria and imaging processes to avoid the risk of medical error.

An endocrinologist 

An endocrinologist is a hormone specialist, and endometriosis is a hormone-dependent disease. Endocrinologists prescribe hormonal drugs such as oral contraceptives, progestins or GnRH agonists to regulate menstrual cycles and reduce the growth of endometrial tissue.

A gastro-enterologist 

Digestive endometriosis can occur when the endometriosis develops in the intestines, colon and rectum. Treatment is complex and often surgical to help the organs regain function.

A pain specialist

Despite careful medical or surgical treatment, the pain associated with endometriosis can progress and become neuropathic.

A pain therapist (an algologist) can help patients manage this pain more effectively by developing specific treatment plans to relieve the symptoms: drug treatments, physical therapy and stress management techniques.

A psychologist or a psychiatrist 

Endometriosis has a major emotional and psychological impact on people who suffer from it. Professional support is necessary, as the consequences of endometriosis and some of its hormonal treatments can quickly lead to depression. Psychologists or psychiatrists provide emotional support, stress management techniques and strategies for coping with the challenges associated with the disease.

A physical therapist 

Physical therapy offers a less invasive approach to relieving the pain caused by endometriosis. Physical therapy sessions help to relieve muscular tension in the perineum, hips, lower abdomen and lumbar region. Various methods are also used to improve posture and breathing to free the diaphragm, boost the immune system and relieve stress.

An osteopath 

The osteopath works with the adhesions and mobility of the organs in order to reduce the muscular tension caused by the endometriosis.

A nutrition specialist

A nutrition specialist can help patients adapt an anti-inflammatory diet tailored to endometriosis. Having a poor diet can aggravate the symptoms of the disease and its development.

Specialists in alternative medicine

Alternative methods include acupuncture, relaxation, sophrology, hypnotherapy and naturopathy.

The majority of alternative medicines are indicated to help manage stress induced by the illness and to better cope with pain. These methods can have rather effective results. But before trying any of them, you must speak to your doctor to avoid any possible contraindications.

A fertility specialist 

For women with endometriosis who wish to have children, fertility specialists can assess their fertility issues, discuss treatment options and provide emotional support throughout the assisted reproduction journey.

Effective management of endometriosis therefore requires a multidisciplinary approach involving different healthcare specialists. By working in a coordinated way, these healthcare professionals make sure patients receive a comprehensive and personalized care, in order to successfully manage the symptoms of endometriosis, improve their quality of life and meet their specific needs.

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avatar Claudia Lima

Author: Claudia Lima, Health Writer

Claudia is a content creator at Carenity, specializing in health writing.

Claudia holds a master's degree in Entrepreneurship and an Executive MBA in Sales and Marketing Management. She is specialized in... >> Learn more


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