Endometriosis Awareness Month with Kardinia Health’s new Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis Clinic 

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, which is dedicated to raising awareness of this disease that affects one in seven Australian women/people assigned female at birth.   

To mark the month, we’ve spoken to Dr Caitlyn Pring, the GP clinic lead at the new Kardinia Health Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis Clinic, which opened in October 2023. The clinic has been funded as part of the Australian Government’s 2022-23 Federal Budget, with the aim of improving access to education, diagnosis, treatment and referral for persistent pelvic pain. 

Dr Pring said that one of the unique aspects of the clinic is having the time available to hear a person’s story and understand the impact their symptoms are having on their lives.  

Kardinia Health’s Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis Clinic staff (left to right): Emily Hill (psychologist), Julie Klein (nurse), Celia Bolton (physiotherapist), Caitlyn Pring (GP), Charlotte Byrnes (pain educator/osteopath), Sally Drummond (nurse), Carina Pytellek (GP).

“Scheduling initial hour-long appointments to get to know our patients really allows them to feel validated and safe. The other hugely satisfying element of the clinic is our regular multidisciplinary team meetings, allowing us to learn from each other and update the team about patient progress and share feel-good stories of improvements.” said Dr Pring. 

“What has received some of the best feedback from patients, though, is our small group education sessions, largely because these have left our patients feeling less alone. The power of peer support is clearly so valuable, and so we plan on developing this aspect of our service further. Ultimately, we are there to help those who struggle with pelvic pain and endometriosis, so we will continue to seek their feedback about what is most beneficial to them and adjust our service accordingly,” said Dr Pring. 

Looking at the first quarter of the clinic’s operation (October to December 2023), there have been 89 occasions of service, of which 84% were face-to-face and the remainder by telehealth. When it comes to the type of consultation, 39% were with a nurse, 36% with a GP, 11% with a group educator, 10% with a physiotherapist and 3% with a pain educator.

One of the measures collected at intake is ‘symptom impact on productivity’, with patients rating the impact out of ten (with ten being the greatest impact). On this rating 65% of respondents said the impact of their symptoms on their productivity was a five out of ten or higher, with 20% rating the impact a nine or ten. This measure will be collected again after 6 months of treatment to see if patients’ symptoms have improved.

Endometriosis Awareness Month events with Kardinia Health 

Kardinia Health will be hosting a few events in conjunction with EndoHelp over the month of March, including: 

  • Periods, Pain and Endometriosis Program (PPEP Talk®) at Waurn Ponds Library, this Saturday from 2.30pm. It will be a 1.5 hour long, FREE talk on how to manage period pain to ensure it does not interfere with your career and studies. Learn more here. 
  • A coffee and walk along the waterfront at 10am on Sunday 17 March (meeting at the Pavilion cafe) for anyone with endo/pelvic pain to come along and meet others. 
  • A webinar with gynaecologist Dr Edwina Coghlan to answer community questions about endometriosis and help dispel some myths about the condition at 7pm-8pm Wednesday 27 March, register here. 

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