A disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus causing chronic, debilitating pain and menstrual irregularities. Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years. That is about 176 million women worldwide.
Here are 10 things you probably didn't know about endometriosis:
- More often that not, endometriosis is misdiagnosed and/or goes undiagnosed for years. Endometriosis is sometimes diagnosed as digestive issues or painful menstrual cramps, but these things are actually symptoms of endometriosis.
- Surgery does not always work. Many women have multiple surgeries and their endometriosis still comes back. 15 percent of women who have a total hysterectomy and ovarian and fallopian tube removal will see their endo return. 20 to 30 percent of those cases will see it return within 5 years. While there are many treatment options, endometriosis can come back and last for years, and can sometimes be life long.
- Endometriosis is a physical condition that also affects women mentally, emotionally, socially and financially. This disorder can literally stop you in your tracks and negatively impact every aspect of your life.
- Some doctors recommend pregnancy to temporarily stop or slow symptoms. Again, while this can help for a time, it is certainly not a long term solution or cure. And then there is the human you will be responsible for caring for. Birth control is another common option as well.
- Endometriosis can begin after puberty during teen years. Cases have been reported in girls as young as 11 years old.
- Endometriosis can lead to infertility. This can happen due to being misdiagnosed or undiagnosed for a prolonged period of time and being untreated.
- Stress, sugar and hormone imbalance "feeds" endometriosis and triggers symptoms such as painful intercourse, pain with urination or bowel movements, severe cramps, insomnia, fatigue, nausea, headaches and sciatica.
- Vaginal steaming and a plant based diet can aid in healing you naturally. Avoid or limit dairy and meat as much as possible. Limit caffeine and alcohol as well.
- Endometriosis pain feels like active labor. Real Talk!
- I have endometriosis. I was finally diagnosed this past June after nearly three years of chronic pain and more than one misdiagnosis. I have experienced all of the symptoms listed above. I have struggled with how this disorder has impacted me and the ways that I now have to navigate my daily life, but talking about it and staying discipline with my nutrition has helped tremendously. My NuvaRing is also aiding in keeping my symptoms at bay, for now.
In September 2016, I posted the photo status above with this caption:
"For almost two years I have been battling with excruciating and debilitating pain and today I want to talk about it.
I have always had painful periods. I got my cycle when I was 11 years old. Before I was 13, my family doctor had me on meds for pain just so I could go to school during that time of the month. My body has never "accepted" unnatural elements or foreign objects. I couldn't use tampons until I was in my 20s and I don't anymore. I was also nearly 20 when I needed to get on birth control. That's when I first found out that I couldn't take the pill. The synthetic hormones attacked my body and made me physically sick. Needless to say I was devastated to learn that my birth control options would be limited once I became sexually active.
Fast forward to when I had my son at 25 years old. After speaking with my OBGYN, I knew I would get the Mirena IUD. That was the plan. I was excited to have a semi permanent birth control that I wouldn't have to worry about. Well, there were complications. Again, my body was trying to reject this foreign object in my body. Yes, I spoke to my OBGYN and she told me my body just needed to "adjust" and I believed her. Adjustment took almost 10 months. Not to mention the massive fibroids I had growing before, during and after birth... And I was still recovering from coccydynia. Yeah. I had a lot going on.
I believe the fibroids were a combination of unhealthy eating and my hormone imbalance. When I had my myomectomy (fibroid removal), my life drastically changed. But I had work to do. While, pregnant I developed a heavy sweet tooth. It has continued since and I will admit, I give in to it all the time.
BUT HERE'S THE THING... I have come to the conclusion that synthetic hormones and sugar are slowly killing me. When I finally got rid of my Mirena IUD after 5 years and decided to get the NuvaRing, I thought I had finally found something that worked. But I was wrong. Between my sugar habit and my birth control, I started having TERRIBLE abdominal and pelvic pain. I saw several doctors and specialists and no one could find the cause of my pain. No fibroids. No cysts. Not endometriosis. Nothing.
At one point I thought I might be lactose intolerant. I cut all dairy and slowly reintroduced things with no real results. I cut wine. 👀 Nope, that wasn't it. My doctors were treating me for several different things including IBS but I still had no concrete answers. I was so lost and so heavily medicated that I just stopped everything. I took myself off all of the meds and prayed. The side effects from the meds were also negatively affecting how I felt. This is when I started looking into holistic healing and what really may be ailing me."
I have learned so much about endometriosis and myself since this post, especially since my diagnoses and I will be sharing my experience and journey here on my blog. If you or someone you know have been affected by endo, please reach out and share your experience.