1 in 10: Living with Endometriosis
Not enough people know about the black spotted disease that is endometriosis, and yet 1 in 10 women in the UK suffer from it.
These women are informally known as ‘Endo WARRIORS’, and rightly so!
Endometriosis is caused when tissue from the lining of the womb jumps out and starts growing where it shouldn’t. It happens to women at any age after their first period. Most young women are not diagnosed for many years as the symptoms are so similar to other conditions, such as IBS. A lot of the time, it can get missed and brushed off as just ‘women’s pain’.
I suffered from thrush, ovarian cysts and a lot of nausea throughout my college and university years. I was in and out of doctors’ surgeries and hospital trying to get to the bottom of it. In the end, the thrush I was experiencing got so bad and so frequent that I could hardly walk. I booked myself into a sexual health clinic for further testing; they prescribed a form of steroids to help get rid of it. When all the standard tests came back negative, I was then referred to hospital to see a gynaecologist specialist. They put through to an ultrasound scan where they saw a medium sized cyst on my left ovary. The decision was made to undergo minor surgery called a ‘laparoscopic procedure’, which is like keyhole surgery. I was booked in within a couple of weeks and during that time, I was in utter agony. My stomach cramps were so intense and painful that I struggled to stand up straight. I was feeling sick and dizzy on a daily basis.
When my surgery date arrived, I was relieved to finally have the cyst removed. It was only when I woke up from the procedure that the doctor told me they couldn’t find the cyst; it must have ruptured! Hence why I was in so much pain. What they DID find were small black spots around the lining of my womb – endometriosis. During the procedure, they got rid of what they could using laser treatment. I was about 26/27 years old at the time of my diagnosis; I am now 33.
I have had the laparoscopic procedure a total of three times since they first found those black spots. The procedure will last a little while, but endometriosis will always come back! There is no cure. In-between surgery, I am constantly talking to doctors, and have even had to go to A&E on a number of occasions for high pain relief. My daily symptoms are nausea, slight vertigo, head fog and sharp tummy pain.
As the disease is so easily missed, there is not enough awareness out there for women, especially young women, to help them through such a confusing and painful condition. I hope my story and real-life experiences can help any other ladies out there who may not have heard of it but see a similar pattern in symptoms that don’t seem quite right.
Remember: it is not normal to be on the floor in pain during your period. It is not always ‘women’s pain’!