End Endo: My Journey with Endometriosis
Did you know that 1 out of 10 women in the US are affected by Endometriosis? I am one of those women, but I am not just another statistic. My diagnosis has inspired me to share my story and raise awareness. March is Endometriosis awareness month, so what better time.
Endometriosis (Endo) is a debilitating reproductive disease that affects women equally across all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Endo occurs when tissue, similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium), is found outside of the uterus where the tissue should not be. It is very often unrecognizable, misdiagnosed, and mistreated.
I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) when I was 15. I had VERY heavy periods. They were to the point where I would have an overnight maxi pad on and a super-plus tampon in and I would bleed through that in less than an hour. It was horrifying. I couldn't even leave the house to go to school. Don't even get me started on the cramps and sharp pains!! It literally felt like I had barbwire all over my uterus. All my gyno could do was put me on birth control to help regulate my periods some and tell me Midol was my bff. Nearly 6 years later at the age of 21, I understood that I was misdiagnosed. If my endo was properly diagnosed I would have received proper treatment. I was told that I did have a mild case of PCOS, but what they had to have seen 6 years before was Endo.
Endo affected me as it can affect anyone else by impacting their schoolwork, careers, relationships, finances, and more. Some common symptoms of Endometriosis are “Killer cramps”, long periods, heavy menstrual flow, bowel and urinary disorders, nausea and/or vomiting, pain during sexual activities, infertility, and chronic fatigue. If your period seems to be more than just a “normal” period and you are experiencing those symptoms, PLEASE go see your doctor and tell them a worried woman with Endo wants you to get checked. Please! It takes on average 10 years from symptom onset to receive an accurate diagnosis of Endometriosis in the US. This is due to a lack of knowledge among the general public and medical community. This is also why it is so crucial to further spread awareness of the disease and support research and funding.
Now that I have been correctly diagnosed for 2 years, I am being treated for the right reasons. My periods are regulated, and I feel so much better! Also, my fertility chances are higher than they would have been. This is all due to seeing a great gynecologist and being open about my symptoms and worries.
For more information about Endometriosis visit: www.endofound.org