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.
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.