What is Endometriosis?
It is a hormonal and immune disease affecting girls as young as eight and women of all ages. The name comes from the word, endometrium, which is the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus and builds up and sheds each month in the menstrual cycle. In “endo” tissue like the endometrium is found outside the uterus in other areas of the body, most commonly in the abdomen.
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms include pain with periods; pain with intercourse, urination, or with a bowel movement; and infertility.
Period Pain is Not Normal!
That’s right! It is not normal to be in pain during your period. If pain during a menstrual period cannot be relieved by over-the-counter pain medication and a heating pad, then endometriosis should be suspected. It is important to be diagnosed as soon as possible, as earlier diagnosis and treatment may reduce the progression and severity of the disease.
Ever since I was 15 yrs old and it was time to get my period, it was a time of suffering. It hurt a lot, I used to cry a lot and spend two days in bed because I couldn’t handle the pain. I started visiting the gynecologist and she used to tell me that it wasn’t normal to have that kind of pain every month.
Years passed and the pain grew higher, I couldn’t evacuate because of the pain I had, I couldn’t walk more than 3 hours without pain. I first thought that my problem belonged to a gastroenterologist ’cause I thought the problems where with the evacuations even if I didn’t have my period.
So when I was 18 (notice that I spent all those years from doctor to doctor with a lot of pain) I went visit the gastro and he indicated some lab test and abdominal and pelvic US. There it was, I had an ovarian cyst “probable endometriosis”, I had to visit my doctor again. She indicated an exploratory laparoscopy which I didn’t do because my father didn’t want to.
So I went under contraceptive pills for three months. Those were the worst months of my life, I couldn’t sleep, eat, walk. If I had my period, nausea, vomit, would appear as well. I passed out a couple of times and when I had the next pelvic US the endometriosis would grow more and more.
At the end, the gynecologist decided to operate and when they opened my belly the ovary exploded so they took it out to prevent future ectopic pregnancy. The right ovary had some endo so they just cleaned them out.
After the surgery I went on treatment with Lupron for 6 months, I was happy I had no pain anymore.
I’m 22 yrs old right now, I have no pain and no endo. I sometimes get a little bit of pain and it scares me to think it would be back or something so I just go periodically to do an US to make sure that if it happens again I have time to get rid of it. 🙂
Always think of endometriosis!! It’s not normal to have pain during your period!
Join us March 14th (11am PST) for a special tweet chat to raise Endometriosis Awareness.
The topic: Endometriosis: The Invisible Disease and the Women Who Suffer. Click here, for details.
By Becky Mantuano
I’m going to try and tell you (and not leave anything out) because it’s been one heck of a journey. I guess I always knew something just wasn’t right.
I started my cycles at 13 and they were always painful. Crippling I guess you could say.
At 16 I went on Depro Provera which was a blessing and a curse all bundled up together. On one hand no more painful periods, on the other, drastic weight gain (I’m talking 150 pounds weight gain) in a matter of the 2 years that I was on it. I had depression so bad I didn’t even want to get out of bed, and massive hair loss.
So at 18 when I figured out what was the cause I stopped taking it. Pain came back about 3 months later. I rocked on like this for another 3 years without taking anything. And then a new pain. Right shoulder pain, bad indigestion every month like clock work, and when I was on my period there was the new pain growing in intensity every month.
I was diagnosed with endometriosis in October 2012, at the age of 45 after over 10-years of being diagnosed with poly-ovarian cysts. My last ultrasound in 2012 was identical to my ultrasound from 2007. Ultrasounds do not show endometriosis!
I was fortunate and blessed because I did not have horrible pelvic pain for the last 15 plus years, even though I had cysts on both ovaries. I endured no pelvic pain on or off my periods during these years, but what I did have was flooding & large clots (larger than a half-dollar) while on my period. The first three days of my period may of included accidents even with the use of a super tampon every 30 minutes plus a night time maxi pad. I was anemic and lethargic. The last year prior to this diagnosis I had low-low back pain, uncomfortableness while lying down, and sciatic leg pain to the point of limping on my left leg.
After my endometriosis diagnosis, I was informed that my only option was a total hysterectomy including the removal of my ovaries. I was very blessed and had two beautiful girls in my early twenties.
My periods have always been painful. They’d often force me to miss school, university or work, and if I was caught out in the middle of town I’d been known to lie down for an hour or two in a cubicle of a public toilet.
I got my period on the second week of my honeymoon on a remote island, and I remember feeling scared one night that there was no hospital on the island, because I was in far too much pain for comfort. So they were really no picnic to begin with.
But one month, out of nowhere, on Day 2 of my period I was suddenly gripped with the worst pain I’d ever felt, and I remained in a state of complete agony for the next two days. My husband had to rescue me from work and help me to bed. I couldn’t stand up straight. I couldn’t walk without holding onto things. It was quite scary.
At this stage my periods were longer than they used to be too: I’d gone from five day to eight day periods. So I did some neurotic late night googling, and canvassed opinions from friends, and also went to a proper doctor. It looked to all concerned like I had endometriosis maybe.
By Arielle Denise Dance, MA in Women’s Health
Endometriosis…such a big word that can be very confusing. If you were to search the word, there would be information about painful periods, possible infertility and treatment options of surgery and birth control. You may find pictures of damaged reproductive organs from years of scarring or women doubled over in pain. If you were to ask me to simply explain this big word, endometriosis, I’d tell you that it is a disease of women’s reproductive organs that causes intense pain especially during their periods. Endometriosis can keep some women from doing daily activities like going to school or work and even from having children.
A woman with endometriosis may feel pain even when it is not time for her period. The pain may be cramping, sharp, dull, achy or stabbing. Some women feel pain on one side of their belly or in many places. Endometriosis may also cause pain in the legs and back along with headaches, pain with bowel movements or urination. Bloating, constipation and diarrhea are also possible. All of these symptoms can seem unbearable and can cause extreme exhaustion.
“What causes endometriosis?” Click to continue reading… »
By Arielle Denise Dance, M. A. in Women’s Health
In life we, as women, take many journeys: the journey through education, career decisions, through relationships and family transitions. Throughout all these journeys there has been someone (or more than one person) who has supported us, encouraged us and held our hand through the process. Some of these journeys presented obstacles and hurdles we did not expect and made us grateful for people within our support systems.
For millions of women living with endometriosis, the incurable and painful disease that occurs when tissue from the uterus is found in other places of the body, a new journey is required of them and their support system. This journey is unexpected for most and can cause a shift in many of their relationships, and friendships.
Instead of feeling sorry for myself I have made the choice to raise awareness and support for Endometriosis.
This is an overview of my story so far………..
In my early teens I always suffered with heavy and painful periods and in the early days I believed that this was normal. I don’t know what was worse the pain or the bleeding.
At 14years old my mum took me to see the GP where he prescribed me pain killers which worked for a while but after a few months they weren’t making a difference and the pain was worse. I was constantly going back to GP where he would prescribe me different pain relief and also put me on the pill at 15yrs old, however, no matter what was tried each month I would suffer severe pain in my abdomen, side and right arm. Each month I would be in tears especially the first 2 days as they were the worse.
I hope my story will be informational and helpful to all women who suffer from Endometriosis.
Since I first started my menstrual cycle at just 11yrs old, it was just awful. I had horribly heavy cycles and would get very sick and missed school because of it. My cycles were never on time and usually a week or more late. I lived with it because I was told that my heavy flow and everything was just heredity. Little did I know it was going to wind up being Endometriosis.
I was diagnosed at 22yrs old with Endometriosis which was a year after I had my daughter who is my second child. I went into pre term labor at 28 wks and it was the scariest point in my life, but fortunately the doctors stopped the labor and I was put on all kinds of things so I could carry her to full term. Apparently, I already had endometriosis at that time and never knew it because I was so used to the painful menstrual cycles and pain in general.
Then one day I was in constant horrible pain on my right side specifically. After going to my regular doctor and ruling out UTI and Bladder infection she recommended I see my OB. That’s where the diagnosis that would change my life began.
I just wanted to share a little bit of my story.
Back in 2010 I remember going through so much pain. I had all sorts of tests done along with seeing two doctors. After a scope and colonoscopy, and even having one doctor tell me I didn’t have endometriosis, I was beginning to think I just had to deal with it.
At the end of February 2011 I ended up in the hospital with some extreme pain on my side. After an ultrasound, it was determined I had a massive “chocolate” cyst that had ruptured.
On March 10th, I followed up with the ER doctor. She did an exam and decided we needed to do exploratory surgery.
A week later I went in for my surgery not knowing what would be found. I remember crying to my doctor, telling her I didn’t fear them finding anything. But instead, I feared them not finding a source to my pain.