psychology browsing by tag


Women Suffering From Endometriosis Impacted On Several Levels

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Endometriosis is an incredibly common condition among women, affecting upwards of seventeen percent of the population, but there is little awareness of this condition outside of those who suffer from it. Unlike other debilitating conditions that are cause for concern, as well as sympathy, endometriosis often goes unrecognized among the general population—however, it can have a significant impact on not only a woman’s physical health and wellbeing but her psychological health and her ability to maintain a social life and presence, according to research that has been done over the past few years to determine the impact of this disorder among sufferers.

Endometriosis is characterized by a number of symptoms, from extremely heavy menstrual bleeding to pain both during menstruation and at other times of the month. This is caused by an overgrowth of the uterine lining, which moves beyond the uterus and into other parts of the body, including the abdominal cavity. There is no cure for this disorder, and the primary methods of management include medications and, in certain cases, surgical intervention.

Women who suffer from endometriosis must work closely with their doctor to manage their symptoms, but there is still little that can be done to eliminate the symptoms that she faces entirely. This makes the disorder much more debilitating, especially during menstruation, and may lead to increased anxiety and stress as a result of either dealing with the symptoms, or even simply the anticipation of symptoms.

In this same study, which identified several areas in which women with endometriosis might be affected, it was also pointed out that there must be more research done on the significant impact of this disorder on the partners and children of women who suffer from it. Not surprisingly, it is incredibly stressful for those close to the woman with the disorder to deal with the pain that she must endure and the extra measures that they must take so that their own lives are affected as little as possible by it.

There is a great need of support for women who suffer from endometriosis—that is something that cannot be disputed. However, there is also a great need for the families of women affected by endometriosis to receive support as well. This can be especially difficult for male partners and younger children who do not understand the very real physiological effects of the illness.

The best method of coping is, as always, to raise awareness of the issue and for those affected by it to become educated as much as possible on the disorder. While it can be debilitating, there is no reason that women who suffer from endometriosis, as well as their families, cannot live happy and fulfilled lives. It is not up to the woman alone to cope, nor should it be. By working together with their families, women can ensure a more positive outcome and a higher quality of life.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.


Talking About Depression With Your Ob-Gyn

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Depression is one of the most serious and prevalent disorders affecting women in the present day. It is also one of the most underreported disorders affecting women, and the number of those affected by it is increasing every year. Depression affects women of all age ranges and social statuses, and it affects those in poor health as well as those who are seemingly in perfect condition. With depression being so common, and affecting so many, it would seem that Ob-Gyn’s regularly diagnosis this problem in women. However, studies are suggesting that doctors miss a diagnosis of depression in as much as sixty percent of their patients.

Whether the women had a preexisting diagnosis of depression, reported suffering from psychological distress, or simply felt as if they might be depressed, their depression consistently went undiagnosed throughout visits with their Ob-Gyn. The most common signs recognized by doctors included physical manifestations of the disorder, such as weight gains and losses as well as reported insomnia.

Those that did receive a diagnosis were primarily women who were under twelve months postpartum, those under thirty-five years of age, and women who were seeing their Ob-Gyn either to discuss their depression symptoms or as part of a regular checkup. The most common visits in which the depression went unnoticed were visits in which the woman had scheduled an appointment to discuss an existing complaint.

This raises the all-important question—why do so many doctors miss depression diagnoses? There are likely a number of factors, ranging from the feeling of suffers that they are not in need of help to a reluctance to discuss any issues that are not “medical” with a medical practitioner. However, it is important for women to realize that depression is a medical issue, and it is one that can severely impact them throughout their lives—and it can even impact their health directly. Recognize that your mental state is just as important to report as your physical state and, most importantly, persistent feelings of sadness, loneliness, and lack of interest in one’s life are not feelings that must simply be “dealt with”.  Your doctor can help.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.