Brittany Robinson lived with debilitating, chronic pain for over a decade. She saw doctor after doctor, but to her frustration none were able to accurately diagnose and treat her. That is, until she found the BC Women’s Centre for Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis five years ago.
“The first thing that struck me was how wonderful the clinic team is. I wasn’t treated like just another patient through the door,” says Brittany. “Coming to BC Women’s was such a breath of fresh air.”
Endometriosis, a disease where uterine lining tissue grows outside the uterus, affects an estimated one in 10 women and can cause intense pain, abnormal menstrual bleeding and infertility. Most women suffer for years before they learn they can get help.
Through ultrasounds and pain mapping during physical examination, doctors at BC Women’s Centre for Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis can often find the cause of pain without the need for surgery.
Most of the world uses surgery for endometriosis diagnosis but Dr. Christina Williams, the BC Women’s gynecologist who founded the Centre, says 80 per cent of cases of suspected endometriosis can be treated with hormone therapy without needing surgery.
The clinic also offers advanced, minimally invasive surgery, physiotherapy, mindfulness training, counselling and skills workshops that teach pain self-management techniques.Compared to her experiences with other doctors, Brittany felt a sense of immediate understanding from the team at BC Women’s.
Rather than brushing off her concerns, the Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis clinic helped her become an active participant in her care.
“I felt validated in my concerns and really listened to,” she says. The doctors at BC Women’s didn’t just treat her endometriosis, they also helped improve her mental well-being and the other physical issues that accompany the pain.
Brittany also attended classes at the clinic, which taught her useful skills and introduced her to other women going through the same challenges. “I left feeling better equipped to deal with my endometriosis, as I was able to take away invaluable strategies to deal with pain,” she says.
For Brittany, discovering the BC Women’s Centre for Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis changed her life. “It’s not just being treated as a patient, but as a person,” she says. “It’s one of the biggest blessings that someone could ask for.”
Brittany Robinson photographed by Sherri Koop
Article by Laura Rodgers