“When I had my period for 11 weeks straight, I knew something was wrong.”

 

If you’re suffering from Endometriosis or experiencing symptoms, always seek medical advice from your doctor for diagnosis and treatment options.

I’m sure many women would say the thing they least like about being female is having your period. I used to think I was lucky – I didn’t get mine until I was 16 years old. In my experience the whole thing is rather unpleasant – you’ve got cramps, mood swings, and bloating. Seriously, why on earth would you want to be female?!

After having my period and all of its delightful party tricks for 11 weeks in a row, I was well and truly sure that it wasn’t normal…

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"I hadn’t considered that by the age of 24, I’d have to have multiple operations for endometriosis." (Image: Supplied)

When I was first diagnosed with endometriosis in 2010 – I hadn’t given too much thought to the whole thing other than trying to figure out how to stop it but at the time, that was all I wanted—for it to stop.

I hadn’t considered that it was going to get worse; that by the age of 24 I’d have to have multiple operations or that it would impact my chances of having children.

I also didn’t think it would mean I was going to have to wear a yacht (pad) between my legs for the rest of my life if I couldn’t stop it. I don’t know about anyone else but those so-called maxi super-duper absorbent tampons just don’t work. I bleed so much I ultimately have to change every hour because the bleeding is so full on.

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So, naturally, I’m left with the yacht of all yachts between my legs each day – all the while thinking, “can anyone hear that crunching as I walk?” and “oh god, please don’t let me have blood half way up my back after sitting down for more than 10 minutes” – if you can even get comfortable sitting, that is.

All of this goes through your head each day when you’re bleeding. That’s far too much information, I know, but it’s honestly like that.  It’s the hardest thing to try and explain to people, and it’s not even something that you can complain or talk about.

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People will often fob it off as “oh she just has her period” or “doesn’t she know every other female gets their period?” It’s honestly like your period is on steroids or something, like the Hulk is stomping around inside you.

For those who don’t know what endometriosis is, its endometrial tissue (the bit that should be inside your uterus) attaching to the walls of your pelvic cavity and to other organs in that area. When it does that it results in pain, and heavy bleeding, and the only way to accurately diagnose it and remove it is through surgery.

For me personally, the hardest part is socialising and going to work every day. A lot of the time I don’t feel like doing anything; I’m terribly uncomfortable and feel very self-conscious wherever I go, because there is always the chance I need an escape route should I start haemorrhaging out of nowhere. I’m talking in the present tense because it still happens to me even now.

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"For me personally, the hardest part is socialising and going to work every day." (Image: iStock)

There is no cure for endometriosis, and it’s something that I’ve got to manage every day.

One of my saving graces is that I have an excellent and understanding set of managers at work who have stood by me every step of the way, and understand when I suddenly have to leave the office. They know that when I suddenly leave it’s because I’m either about to vomit, am bleeding or am in severe pain and can’t hide the fact anymore. I am grateful for their support.

Some people will read this and totally get what I’m saying, others won’t understand at all, and for some they’ll fall in the middle. The whole thing about endometriosis is that each person who has it, has an entirely different experience. There is no ‘one size fits all’, there is no cure or quick fix. You just have to live with it as best you can.

 

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Mamamia's Endo Awareness Week, curated by Founder of EndoActive Syl Freedman, shines a light on a disease suffered by one in 10 Australian women. To read more from Endo Awareness Week, click here. If you'd like to find out more information on Endometriosis, Syl's story or Endo Active, visit endoactive.org.au and keep up to date on their Facebook page.

Laura is 24 years old and an executive assistant in Brisbane. She’s a first-time writer, hates the concept of affirmations and (thinks) she has a witty sense of humour.

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