If you’re suffering from Endometriosis or experiencing symptoms, always seek medical advice from your doctor for diagnosis and treatment options.
One in 10 women suffer from the chronic illness known as endometriosis.
I’m one of those 10 – a condition I unfortunately inherited from my mother.
For the uninitiated, endometriosis is a “disease in which tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus is found outside the uterus, where it induces a chronic inflammatory reaction that may result in scar tissue”.
If that makes very little sense to you, let me make it clearer: endometriosis is the second most painful thing you can imagine (for most painful, read on).
By the time I was 15, my period was incredibly irregular and came twice a month. Each time it came, I’d vomit endlessly until I would inevitably pass out.
Passing out became so common I’d use disabled toilets because it’d be less obvious. (A few times I passed out in non-disabled toilets and it caused a big, melodramatic and embarrassing circus.)
Listen: Fellow endo sufferer Syl Freedman describes her experience of the disease on No Filter. (Post continues after audio.)
After years of this, when I was barely 16, I had my first surgery – an attempt to remove the cysts and scarring build-up. I was put on the Pill, allowed to have a period only three or four times a year.
I needed a second surgery just after my 19th birthday.
I’ve been on the Pill since my first surgery and I’ve had rounds and rounds of tests. But things have gotten worse again, and in an attempt to avoid another surgery and potential infertility I’m no longer allowed more than two or three periods.
But that doesn’t stop the pain. It’s like my body knows when “that time of month” is meant to come, even though – thanks to the miracles of a rather expensive pill – it doesn’t. However, my body still likes to remind me that my stomach (or uterus) would like to self-implode.
And when that time of month does come?
It’s like hell on earth. If I have to work, I have to overdose on strong pain medication to just be able to walk. (Don’t worry – I dated a pharmacist and my mum is a nursing unit manager with a heavy background in pharmaceuticals. I don’t do anything dangerous or stupid).
If I don’t have to work, I do the same, but I curl up into a ball with heat packs and hope to God I pass out (which, fortunately, still often happens).
Sometimes the pain is so bad that big-gun pain medication like Tramadol doesn’t work.
So what’s my point? It isn't to get sympathy, it’s to raise awareness. If you have a daughter, friend, sister, relative or partner who’s suffering from that much pain, something is not right.
I was fortunate; because of my mother’s experiences, I got help early. I’ve managed to avoid a lot of pain (which is saying something) and have dramatically reduced my chances of infertility.
However, not all women are so lucky. Not all women are heard. You may need to fight to get your doctor to listen to you. Mine didn’t – but in the end, the pain was so bad they thought my appendix was going to burst (which it did, a few years later, and holy shit fuck that is pain like no other son of a bitch I’ve ever felt. Even morphine barely dented that).
Endometriosis can be dangerous to your health and body if left unchecked. It’s a silent disease from which there is no cure.
We need to spread the word – because women should not have to go through this alone.
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.
This article was originally published on The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise. It has been republished here with full permission