Foreword by Dr. Robert Franklin

During my 60 years of practicing medicine, I have treated over 20,000 women with endometriosis, a complex disease that can rob women of a functional life. When I first started treating endometriosis, most people, including physicians had never heard of it. The word about this disease is slowly getting out, but the current approach most medical doctors use to treat endo is lacking. There is much confusion and many misperceptions about endo, even within the medical community. As a group, physicians are currently without a clear and comprehensive mandate for diagnosis and treatment. Patients frequently don’t know where to turn for the best treatment, and as a result, needlessly endure long periods of pain.

Stop Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain: What Every Woman and Her Doctor Need to Know is a book that has long needed to be written. It gathers together what is known about endometriosis and presents a practical approach to the treatment.

Dr. Cook has a deep understanding of this complex disease, gleaned from years of experience as a gynecologist who focuses on a comprehensive approach to treating complex cases of endometriosis, both surgically and non-surgically, along with his habit of listening closely to his patients. He has presented the latest medical understanding about endometriosis and provided a practical and understandable approach to treatment. Any woman who has endometriosis, or who is suspected of having the disease, should read this book. Dr. Cook’s book will also be an invaluable resource for anyone who cares for these patients, including physicians.

I have come to believe that endometriosis should be a separate specialty in obstetrics and gynecology. Unfortunately, the current official guidelines for treatment of endometriosis are done by committee and, as is common in this type of situation, comes out with a very bland and non-committal approach to treating endometriosis. This is not helpful in promoting a better understanding and treatment of this disease. Because there is no official endometriosis specialty, it’s important for patients to know how to identify a physician who can provide the best care for the disease. Too often, patients who seek care end up in the hands of the wrong physician, with the wrong diagnosis, and the wrong treatment. This book will help patients with endometriosis understand what to look for in a physician and how to find the best care they need.

Endometriosis is a disease that affects many systems in the body and shows up in different patients in different ways. That’s why, as Dr. Cook clearly describes in his book, it is important to have a team of health care professionals. Patients may need to see bowel surgeons, gastroenterologists, endocrinologists, immunologists, and other physicians. Dr. Cook also brings psychologists and complementary healthcare providers into the mix, to help his patients manage the disease in all aspects of their lives. It’s vital that patients have a physician who can coordinate that care and who understands the big picture of her health.

Dr. Cook also explains, in clear detail, why it’s important to have a specialist do endometriosis surgery. During surgery, the physician has to meticulously remove all the endometriosis, a skill that requires years of training and experience. After surgery, the physician needs to evaluate the patient to see what symptoms are still present and work with other specialists to ensure that the non-surgical aspects of this disease are cleared up and health is restored.

One of Dr. Cook’s biggest contributions with this book is his emphasis on listening to, and working with, his patients. He tries to form a relationship with each patient that will make her realize that he’s working with her, but at the same time her participation in her health is essential. As outlined in the book, one of the first things a physician dealing with endometriosis has to do is develop a rapport with their patient, which allows him or her to adequately study, understand, and treat each patient’s unique situation.

This is the moment of truth for the medical community to step up and honestly address the issues of how women with endometriosis are treated. I hope physicians as well as endometriosis sufferers read this book, spread the book, and demand better care. I am glad that Dr. Cook has brought this useful, thorough, compassionate, and much-needed book to the public.

Robert Franklin MD
Clinical Professor of OB/GYN
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas
May 2012