Periods are a nasty thing. For 5 to 7 days every month blood spews out of your vagina nonstop as a reward for not getting pregnant. As if that’s not bad enough, it’s usually accompanied by cramping, bloating, diarrhoea, cravings. The list could go on depending on your body type. There’s also no opting out. The only way out is to bring a whole child into this world. And for some women, it doesn’t even stop then.
For a long time, I thought life couldn’t get any worse than periods and then I heard about endometriosis.
Your period, in a nutshell, is the lining of your uterus shedding every month. For you, that lining is in just your uterus. For women with endometriosis, the lining grows everywhere it shouldn’t. It could be on their ovaries, fallopian tubes or bladder. What’s even worse is that unlike with periods where the lining sheds away every month, the lining builds up in clot like patches in these places, which can only be removed with surgery. That doesn’t stop them from having irregular, heavy and severely painful periods.
The domino effect of having your lining just wilding out in your body as you can imagine is debilitating. Here’s what being diagnosed with endometriosis means for the women who are.
A whole lot of pain
Think about the worst period cramp you’ve ever had on steroids, every month. Women with endometriosis are prescribed with the strongest painkillers to help with the pain, but that doesn’t whisk it away. They might also experience pain during or after sex, and even just peeing.
A couple of surgeries but no cure
There’s is no cure for endometriosis and regular surgery is needed to cut out the tissues growing where they shouldn’t be. The best bet is a total hysterectomy which means taking out your whole uterus.
Pregnancy is even more difficult
Regular pregnancies are no walk in the park and they are even more difficult with endometriosis. Chances of getting pregnant are significantly lower than the average woman, and odds of a miscarriage, if you do, are way higher.
Most importantly, it’s not well-known
But it’s pretty common. Women across the world are routinely misdiagnosed or dismissed when they report symptoms of endometriosis. Thousands of doctors still dismiss the condition as just really bad period cramps. So if you think you have it and your doctor says otherwise the odds that he may be wrong are pretty high.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t show up in scans or tests and the only way to know for sure is a laparoscopy. Which is a surgery that involves inserting a small camera into your body through your belly button. No one knows your body better than you. If you are yet to be diagnosed but reading this left you with an eerily familiar feeling in your gut. Go see your doctor now.
And for all the women who continue to battle this debilitating condition, we are sending all the love and the warmest hugs.
If you have a friend or partner with endometriosis, here’s how you can help:
- First of all, never tell them you can relate because you too get painful period cramps. That’s like someone telling you their house is on fire and you replying you lost your favourite sweater in a fire once.
- Be there. On really bad days the pain is unimaginable, so just be there to cater to her whims. Whether it’s stroking her hair or buying a tub of icecream.
- Never dismiss their pain. The fact remains, you could never understand what they are going through.