Endometriosis and Relationships

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Endometriosis not only affects you, it can also affect those around you. For example, fifty-nine percent of women with endometriosis experience pain during intercourse. This may create issues for women and their partners.

How can my partner be supportive?

Unless your partner has endometriosis she or he cannot understand what you are going through and may not know how to support you. Here are some tips for helping each other:

  • Communicate. Share with each other about your feelings about how your endometriosis affects your relationship, work, and family life. Be clear about what you need from each other.
  • Ask your partner to go to the doctor with you to learn more about endometriosis. It may help your partner understand why pain occurs during sex.
  • Explore different treatments for endometriosis. Many women have experienced painless sex after surgical or hormonal treatment of endometriosis. Remember though, endometriosis is chronic. The pain will return when the disease does.
  • Talk to a sex therapist. Seeking the help of a qualified sex therapist has helped some women and their partners. Ask your doctor to refer you to a qualified sex therapist who is knowledgeable about endometriosis.

What can we do to improve our sex life?

Sex is more than just intercourse. You can have a sexually fulfilling relationship by exploring different activities and talking about what works for you.

If you are in a heterosexual relationship, you and your partner can experiment with positions that do not involve deep penetration. All couples can explore other satisfying sexual activities such as massage, hugging and holding each other, kissing, mutual masturbation and cuddling.

How do I care for myself?

As a woman living with endometriosis you may at some point experience anger, frustration, grief, helplessness, loneliness, inadequacy, depression and fear. It may help to know that you are not alone.

Here are some self-care tips:

  • Take time for you. Find an activity that you enjoy and make time to do it often.
  • Be patient and gentle with yourself. Be active when you are able. Rest when you need to.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Look at your lifestyle. Do you need to change your diet to a more wholesome one? Do you smoke? Do you consume more than 2-3 alcoholic drinks per day? Consider replacing negative behaviours with positive ones.
  • Look outside of yourself. Consider using your experiences to help others.

Where can I go for more information?