'I'm Lebanese. My community doesn't really talk about "women's issues". It almost killed me.'


When I first told one of my friends that I had been diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis, she said: “That’s where you just have really heavy periods. Right?” Wrong.

I explained the complications of the condition to her, and how it almost killed me being undiagnosed, to which she was both shocked and embarrassed. She asked me to lower my voice, as her dad was nearby. It made me realise how much of a taboo talking about women’s health “issues” still is, and how little is known about them.

Earlier this year, when I wrote an article confessing how my undiagnosed freak endometriosis cyst almost killed me, I was inundated with calls and messages from family friends, loved ones, and people from within my community.

At first, it was nice to see their concern, but much of the content in the messages showed just how little we, not just in culturally diverse communities, but as a society actually know about the disease. It made me question why it’s not encouraged to be discussed and talked about. and why women’s reproductive issues in general seemed to lack open discussion.

It’s not just doctors, here’s what men need to understand about endometriosis. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC

Being born to Lebanese parents, migrating to Australia at such a young age, I’m still very in touch with my cultural roots and its community. I grew up noticing that culturally, saying you had a heavy period was a taboo, and many women and their husbands had no idea about women’s reproductive issues – let alone how to identify the early signs and get help.


I particularly noticed this after publishing my story. I received over 30 messages from women and men from many diverse cultural backgrounds, asking me how I knew I had endometriosis, asking for advice and tips for themselves, wives, mothers, and daughters. While they were all well intended and humbling, it left me concerned. Why are we still treating women’s issues as taboos?

I believe that educating yourself about what’s going on in your body is key to receiving early diagnosis for endometriosis. One of the most important things to getting the treatment you need is identifying the symptoms, and doing your research on how periods work.

Many women in my community have opened up to me and said they feel they can’t speak about their reproductive issues openly within their community, due to cultural taboos and also due to a lack of education on the topics.

endometriosis symptoms misdiagnosis
"Many women in my community have opened up to me and said they feel they can’t speak about their reproductive issues openly within their community." Image: Supplied.

The advice I gave them, is the same I write today. It’s time for this to change. Learning about your body and the way a woman’s body reproduces could potentially save your life, as it saved mine.

Not speaking up, not getting a check up, could potentially make your condition a lot worse. Seeing your local GP, and researching, and pushing for answers isn’t something to be ashamed of, it’s something to be proud of. No matter what cultural upbringings we have, health is our number one priority.

Endometriosis is plaguing Australia, and becoming a more serious condition than ever before, with more women diagnosed each year, and even more going undiagnosed. It’s important to know if you are at risk by matching up your symptoms and getting a check up.

There are some great websites like Endometriosis Australia that offer information, and some fantastic doctors that can help along the way. The key, from my own experience, is not to be ashamed and to listen to your body, and know that being diagnosed early could save you a world of pain later on.