Story: Eight Months of Bleeding and Extreme Pain? Clearly It's All In Your Head

Today's story comes from Robyn Waugh, an all too common victim of an uncaring, unresponsive doctor quick to attribute medical symptoms to unspecified mental illness.

I've had horrible pain with my periods since the day I started my period, but never had chronic pelvic pain until after my fifth miscarriage. Suddenly, I was bleeding almost nonstop for 8 months straight and had debilitating pain. My primary care doctor immediately recognized my symptoms and suspected endometriosis, so she sent me to a female OB/GYN.

This doctor was pregnant and had a perpetual look of smugness glued on her face. As she performed the pelvic exam, I writhed in pain, failing to hold back the tears. As I sat up, she started to explain that women who were sexually abused as children sometimes ended up with "functional pelvic pain" [ed note: this is a controversial diagnosis of psychosomatic pain, a big word that essentially means pain all in the woman's head]. Despite the fact that I had countless ultrasounds showing blood-filled cysts on my ovaries, she was convinced it was all in my head.

She prescribed an antidepressant and sent me on my way, with orders for a colonoscopy and pain management, refusing to do a surgery to confirm my primary care doctor's diagnosis. Several doctors and two years later, I awoke in recovery to hear that I did indeed have this nasty invasive disease that causes chronic pelvic pain among a host of problems [ed note: including miscarriage]. If she had just taken a few extra minutes to really listen, perhaps I would have been able to get proper treatment instead of having a hysterectomy at 24 years old and being in unnecessary pain for two years.