My life with Endometriosis
This week I want to talk about a condition I’ve suffered with for over half my life - Endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition that takes over the lives of 1 in 10 women in the UK. The condition occurs when cells similar to the ones that line the womb are found in other areas of the body. Each month these cells react in the same way to those in the womb, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape. Not only does Endometriosis cause severe pain, it can lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel problems, as well as feelings of isolation and depression.
I started noticing symptoms when I was about 14. I had not long started my periods and in between my periods I was getting horrendous stomach ache to the point I would be curled in a ball on the sofa.
When I started University, the pains became very regular and strong pain killers were the only solution to living a ‘normal’ life. I also kept getting urinary tract infections, they were around one every one or two months. I went and saw the doctor and they referred me for an ultrasound and they said it is likely to be Endometriosis. I remember having no idea what this condition was and being completely terrified at the time.
The follow up meeting with the consultant lead to a laparoscopy, so we could see the extent of the damage Endometriosis had caused inside. Unfortunately, when we received the results with the consultant a few weeks later, it wasn't good news. He told that things were so bad I needed to have my fallopian tubes removed. Imagine being 21 years old and getting devastating news such as this - all I did was cry. Fortunately, my parents were really supportive and they told me that they thought a getting second opinion would be the best option before rushing into something so life changing. The idea that I may potentially never have children of my own was devastating.
We met Doctor number two, based in Manchester, he was warm and understanding, exactly what I needed as a young woman with Endometriosis. He reassured me that he would not be removing my fallopian tubes and instead would be prescribing me with pain killers to help me through the weeks of severe pain. He also put me on the pill which he said would help with my hormones and potentially reduce the pain- and it did! But he also said that from looking at my scans he thinks my tubes are damaged and the safest way for pregnancy would be to have IVF, so when I was ready to start a family I would go back to him.
At 21 years old and single, starting a family was not a priority of mine. I was being forced to think about this due to the pure fact that Endometriosis had taken over my baby making machine.
The rest of the story and how I actually managed to get pregnant will be in another blog post but for now Endometriosis needs to be discussed in schools and for awareness to be more present in everyday life. It needs to be advertised in GP surgeries, Hospitals and on TV. There is help out there, but like my story shows, it is a tough road and can often be mistaken by people as ‘just’ period pains when it is so much more!
For more information visit - https://www.endometriosis-uk.org