LONGMONT, Colo. (KDVR) — A viewing of the eye-opening documentary “Below the Belt” is scheduled for Wednesday night at the Stewart Auditorium in Longmont.

The film shows the impact a disease called endometriosis has on four women, and the producers include actress Rosario Dawson and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

After the film, a panel of local specialists will speak about the often misdiagnosed disease that affects one in 10 women of reproductive age.

Endometriosis can cause terrible pain

Dr. Brian Nelson, a gynecologic surgeon at UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital in Longmont, will be on the panel. Nelson said this disease causes tissue similar to the lining of the uterus to grow outside the uterus.

Endometriosis can cause terrible pain, especially during periods or intercourse, and can lead to infertility. Yet, Nelson said it often goes undiagnosed, and women are told their period pain is something they just have to live with.

He has advice for women who can’t find pain relief from typical methods.

“Seek out a provider who is going to listen and is knowledgeable about endometriosis,” Nelson said.

How is endometriosis treated?

Once diagnosed, some surgeons perform an ablation to burn off the endometriosis. Nelson said that doesn’t always work. 

“You are burning the tip but you have the whole iceberg underneath,” he said. 

He is one of a handful of surgeons who performs an endometriosis excision, cutting out the tissue. He believes it provides better, long-lasting results.

“If it’s on these delicate structures, we either lift it off or if we have to cut a hole in these structures. Then we will repair it,” he said.

Amanda Moon of Denver is one of Nelson’s patients who had the excision surgery after years of horrible pain. She said it felt like hundreds of wasps stinging her from the inside.

She said her pain is now greatly reduced and she hopes other women will seek out care and know that there are options.