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Ellen Cameron’s experience with endometriosis started like so many others. Her symptoms began when she first got her period at 12-years-old. She experienced incredible pain, intense cramps and severely heavy bleeding.
“I would even feel like I was going to pass out at school from the pain of my period and would go home sick a lot,” Ellen told Mamamia.
“My symptoms worsened when I became sexually active in my late teens and I found sex to be excruciatingly painful. I would feel a burning sensation during intercourse and a deeper pain inside my uterus.”
Watch: Answering questions about endometriosis. Post continues below.
But it wasn’t just during her period or intercourse that Ellen suffered pain. She also experienced a number of symptoms outside her cycle, like bloating, known as ‘endo belly’, as well as cramping pains.
Ellen was 16 when it was first suggested to her that she might have endometriosis. Her GP asked her to undertake an internal ultrasound which according to Ellen, came back ‘fairly normal’ but it did indicate her ovaries were ‘immobile’.
“I now know you can’t diagnose endometriosis from an ultrasound, but if things are immobile it can mean there’s a possibility that there are adhesions on your ovaries or uterus that are caused by endometriosis,” she said.
“I was incorrectly told that nothing could be done if I did have endometriosis as my doctor said surgery would just make my pain worse. So I was put on a number of different hormonal contraceptives such as the pill, the rod and the contraceptive injections to help the pain.”
While some of these methods helped slightly, it wasn’t until Ellen was 19 that she saw a different GP who gave her a referral for her first surgery. The laparoscopy would diagnose her endometriosis – the only way it could be known for certain.