What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition where the innermost layer of uterus-endometrium grows in locations outside the uterus.

Symptoms vary from person to person and can include:

  • Period Pain (dysmenorrhoea) that is not relieved by pain medications such as paracetamol
  • Pelvic and abdominal pain outside of menstruation
  • Painful Urination
  • Abnormal bleeding including heavy bleeding, clotting, prolonged bleeding and premenstrual spotting
  • Lower back, thigh and/or leg pain
  • Intense pain that restricts your ability to take part in activities such as work, school or sporting activities.
  • Inability to get pregnant
  • Lethargy or extreme tiredness
  • Fertility issues

Treating endometriosis is not simply about cutting out (surgery) the offending areas. Comprehensive treatment aims to address your functional goals and often requires a team approach including: GPs (at the clinic and your usual GP), physiotherapist, dietitian, gynaecologist, psychologist, endocrinologist, ultrasound radiologist, pain specialist and others as needed.

What is Pelvic Pain?

Consistent pelvic pain is defined as pain in the area of the pelvis which is present on most days for more than 6 months. Pelvic pain may relate to any of the pelvic organs, including bowel, bladder or reproductive organs, as well as the pelvic muscles.

Pain is both a physical process arising from local nerve irritation but also a psychological process which involves our bodies sensitisation to pain and thus our perception of such pain.

Treating chronic pain thus requires multiple modalities such as diet, exercise, relaxation modalities, medications, physiotherapy, psychology and much more.

The Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Clinic

In 2023, the Federal Government announced limited funding for the development of 20 clinics nationwide to facilitate care for women with Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain. The Hunters Hill Medical Practice Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Clinic is one such clinic. We aim to use the funding for a combination of staff education, improved resourcing, patient awareness and some clinical services as part of a multidisciplinary clinic approach. This will help improve timely access to care and treatment for appropriate patients.

The Clinic Approach

Completing your questionnaire prior to your initial consultation is essential. At your first appointment a full history will be taken/reviewed and your doctor will ask many questions about your symptoms, pain and lifestyle. You will likely have a physical examination and may also need to have an internal examination (please advise the doctor if you are not able to do this).
After your initial consultation with one of our GPs, a treatment and management plan will be created for you based on your goals and the doctor’s recommendations. We embrace a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment and your plan may include:

  • Gynaecological Ultrasound (If not previously done)
  • MRI scan (rare)
  • Medication for pain management
  • Hormone therapy
  • Dietitian
  • Specialists such as Gynaecologists, Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist, Exercise physiologist, Pain Psychologists, Counsellor, Urologist, or Colorectal Surgeon.

Expected Costs

A Endometriosis care plan is completely covered by the medicare benefits schedule and there are no out of pocket costs to patients referred by their GP for care plans.

Other costs are likely to be incurred outside of our practice. We have no control over such costs. Some examples are included below:

  • Blood tests – most pathology providers bulk bill these
  • Deep Endometriosis Ultrasound – about $500 with no rebate; this is a specialised test that should only be done with specialised providers. This is different to the normal pelvic ultrasound.
  • Women’s Health Physiotherapy (about $150+; health fund rebates or care plans may apply; public waiting lists at some hospitals).
  • Psychologists (about $200+; may be able to have a mental health plan to help subsidise the fees).
  • Specialists such as gynaecologists, urologists, endocrinologists etc will have their own private fees, often with a Medicare rebate. The fees are likely to be higher if a procedure is performed, Exercise physiologist, Pain Psychologists, Counsellor, Urologist, or Colorectal Surgeon.

Please follow this link to complete a valuable clinical information form prior to your appointment at our endometriosis and pelvic pain clinic