Guys, you may not want to read this one. It’s about endometriosis. Sadly, there are a lot of women who still don’t know much about it and there are quite a few that are dealing with it without even knowing.
From the age of 11 and throughout most of my life I have dealt with terrible cramps. The kind that can keep you stuck in bed and drugged up just hoping to stop feeling them. For many years I was told my pain tolerance was low, I was told taking the pill would help, then I was told being on these shots that force your body into menopause would help… finally I was told I had endometriosis and needed surgery to remove it. That worked for awhile and they put me on other birth control shots that helped. The downside to those is that you cannot use long term as they mess up your hormones and can cause you to loose bone density. Oh, and you can gain weight with them. For me, it was about 15 lbs that I just could not get rid of. Even with the shots there were issues and when I went off the shots and back to birth control it got worse. Pain in my legs, feeling like I always had a UTI even though I did not. A every day all day for months UTI.
For a year I went from doctor to doctor, test to test with no help. I was in 24/7 discomfort or full on pain and functioning in day to day life took more energy than I had to give. At the age of 29 I was told that a hysterectomy was the only thing they could do because they couldn’t find anything that should be causing the pain. That wasn’t an option for me at that time as it creates a bunch of other issues. So, I went searching for a specialist, for someone who could give me answers. One appointment with the specialist and an MRI was scheduled. Then I got the call… no hysterectomy needed, but I did need surgery because my uterus was falling and mix that with scar tissue and endometriosis and you get a pain cocktail.
By the time they went in for the surgery a few weeks later my uterus had completely collapsed and was smushing everything under it. No wonder I felt like I had a UTI, my poor bladder was squished.
Recovery was slow, but the scars are minimal and this surgery bought me 12 years with limited pain that is not frequent. However, it’s coming back because endometriosis does not go away. They say it does when you get done with menopause (fingers crossed that it actually does go away then).
In the meantime, more surgeries mean more scar tissue which leads to more pain and more surgeries that create a vicious cycle. So, I am using supplements to help alleviate the discomfort and I am walking more as moderate exercise helps too. Dietary changes are happening as well.
There’s a lot of research going on with different deficiencies that can cause it as well as having too much estrogen. We’re finally reaching a point in time where actual research is being done on the causes and cures. Fifteen years ago you didn’t hear about it as much. At least it’s becoming known and women are learning that there is a real illness that is impacting them.
All of this is being shared in an effort to help other women who might not know what is going on with their body and might get told they just need to deal with the pain. There are options, find a good doctor. For me, having the specialist show my mom photos after the surgery and explain the level of pain my body was dealing with was healing. It only took 19 years for her to realize I wasn’t unable to stand pain and that this was very real and could be quite painful.
The moral of this story is to ask around, do your research, find someone who will take your pain seriously and don’t just go with the first opinion when it comes to your health. It’s only through sharing our stories that we can make a difference.