Money·4 min read

How I Live and Budget With Endometriosis

March 27, 2020

The Story

When it comes to managing your money, there’s a learning curve. Living with a serious health condition like endometriosis can make it even steeper.

What’s endometriosis again?

It’s when tissue similar to what normally grows inside the uterus grows on the outside. Symptoms include: fatigue, nausea, painful sex, heavy periods, and extreme menstrual cramps. All of which make life a LOT less fun. April suffered from severe pain for over a decade before getting diagnosed.

What should I do if I think I have it?

Tell your doctor. They’ll usually do a pelvic exam or ultrasound to look for abnormalities, like cysts and scars. Initial treatments could be OTC meds (like Advil and Midol) to help with cramps. Birth control and hormonal therapies may also be prescribed for endo-related pain. In more extreme cases, a surgeon may try to remove potentially harmful tissue.

Anything else to think about?

If you want to have kids (now or later), let your doctor know. People with endometriosis can have a harder time getting pregnant, so they might recommend seeing a fertility specialist.

Related: Navigating the Costs of Fertility Treatments

This all sounds expensive.

It can be. Doc visits and surgeries can set you back anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending on your health insurance. For April, her first surgery was fully covered.

But the pain came back – which is fairly common with endometriosis. She needed another surgery 10 months later. This time, by an out-of-network doctor. Luckily, her insurance company charged her in-network rates because she qualified for a “network gap exception.” That's something you might be able to negotiate in special circumstances, like if there isn’t an in-network specialist in your area. Call the number on the back of your insurance card if you have Qs about your coverage.

Any other ways to save money on health costs?

April used a FSA, aka flexible spending account. You fill it with pre-tax dollars from your paycheck for certain medical expenses. If you have a high-deductible health plan, you could also qualify for a health savings account (HSA). That’s where you can invest pre-tax money for future medical expenses. With both accounts, there are penalties for using the money for other things.

Related: Health Insurance Terms to Know

How does she afford all this?

April asks her doc to list out the potential treatments she could need throughout the year and makes a savings plan based on that. We Skimm’d some ways to help you save more money you can use for healthcare costs (or emergency funds or anything else that’s important to you) here.

Related: Picking Savings Goals You’ll Be Motivated to Hit


Life is expensive. Health complications can add even more costs. But, like April says, knowledge is power. Learn from other people who’ve gone through what you’re going through and ask LOTS of questions. When you’re at the doctor’s office, when you get a bill, and when you hear your insurance doesn’t cover something.

Asking for a Friend videos highlight one woman's story. They do not necessarily reflect theSkimm's point of view.

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