1 in 10 women suffer from Endometriosis. An often painful disorder, in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus, commonly affecting ovaries, fallopian tubes, and possibly surrounding organs. Have you heard of this? Are you diagnosed with Endometriosis? Comment down below! Celebs like Tia Mowry and Amy Schumer have been open about their endo journeys and it’s been a great way to bring awareness.
The journey to my diagnosis
It was summer break and I was 13 turning 14 in just a few weeks, and I got my first period. At the time I was surprised, but looking back there were some signs – cramping and feeling unwell a few days before. I remember telling my mom and she handed me a pad and we talked after I got out of the bathroom.
From that day on my life was never the same. We all know a period typically comes every 4 weeks, but mine was coming every 2- 2.5 weeks. My flow was extremely heavy, and I experienced the most intense cramps and nausea. After months of leaking through clothing and being picked up early from school due to the pain, I just couldn’t take it anymore! It was embarrassing and unbearable.
At this point, my mom set up an appointment with a gyn! At 14 years old I was very nervous and did not know what to expect. Furthermore, since my mom had to work I had to go with my father! As a teenage girl that was embarrassing as it is and even more so when the doctor began to discuss birth control options! Yikes.
Once the exam was done, the doctor stated everything was “normal” so my only option was birth control to regulate my period and hopefully it would help with the pain. Because of my age, my doctor thought it would be best to put me on the patch so I wouldn’t forget to take a daily pill. Well, the patch was a nightmare to say the least. Although, it did regulate my periods the pain was just as bad, the flow was about the same, and I experienced nausea and vomiting. I’m sure you can guess that I did not stay on the patch much longer.
I suffered for years, through high school, college, and as a young adult. Each month was dreadful and I ended up missing events, school, and work because of period pain. A heating pad, Advil, and tea were my best friends during my time of the month – I even carried my heating pad to work! All I wanted was my bed and to sleep each time I got my period. Sleep the pain away. But that’s not reality, we women still have to get up and keep going!
Fast forward to me at the age of 25/26 with overall good health trying to conceive with no luck. After trying for about a year with no positive pregnancy test I decided to make my annual gyn appointment and discuss these concerns.
During my exam my doctor discovered a cyst and scheduled me for an ultrasound. It was bittersweet in the sense that I had possible answers, but I also didn’t want anything to be wrong! The ultrasound confirmed the cysts so once that was completed he scheduled me for an MRI.
According to the findings which confirmed multiple cysts, particularly chocolate cysts, he was pretty sure I had endometriosis. Although the only way to diagnose this condition is through a procedure called a laparoscopy, a minimally invasive operation performed on the abdomen or pelvis through one or a few small incisions. We scheduled it and now I had to wait!
After my laparoscopy I learned I was in stage 4 of endometriosis, which is the most severe stage! In plain terms, it was a hot mess! The endometriosis was all over my uterus and surrounding organs! Due to the overwhelming findings my doctor was unable to remove all of the endometrial linings. Additionaly, since there is no cure for this disease it is possible it can grow back.
The most common management for this condition is birth control. Personally, I’m not happy about taking birth control daily but it’s the only thing that helps me. My periods are regular, pain is minimal, and flow is decreased as well. There are months I experience nausea and headaches, but it outweighs the immense suffering I used to endure.
From then to now I have had another laparoscopy and 2 pregnancies! To read more on my TTC journey with endo check this out: My Path to Motherhood
Periods are bad enough as it is, but when the pain is multiplied and you have extreme symptoms it’s important to find out if there’s something wrong. We shouldn’t have to suffer! It may not necessarily be endometriosis but don’t rule it out.
So, what should you do?
My goal here today is to bring awareness to such a common condition that is too easily misdiagnosed! Please feel free to share any experience you may have had with endometriosis or any other gynecological condition. Thank you for reading! Stay well Mamas.