By Abby Butler
To put it simply, endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. But for many, it's so much more than just an inconvenience.
I spoke to four real wom*n about their experience with endo.
I can remember having had “really bad periods” for a long time. Leading up to my period I have always had stabbing cramps, terrible mood swings and a constant lower back pain that refuses to budge no matter how many pain killers I take.
The gynaecologist was possibly the best doctor I have ever visited. She was calm, considered and encouraging, and she explained everything as we went along. When she diagnosed me with endometriosis I was so relieved. I finally had an answer and it was a word that I recognised.
I’m still upset by what having the disease means for me but having an answer is a massive relief, more than anything I’m grateful for knowing what’s happening inside my own body. Endometriosis is a progressive and incurable disease so I know it’s going to continue to get worse but I also know that there are ways to intervene and help manage the symptoms.
Read Lizzie's full story here.
Endometriosis is so hard to live with. It affects every aspect of my life – sex, mental health, my work life and my family life. I’ve had surgery twice for it which helps for a few months, then it gets bad again. I’ve been told I’ll probably need to have surgery every 1-2 years for the rest of my life. The worst part of it is that there is no cure, so it’s hard to stay optimistic when you know it’s never going to get better.
I have pain every single day in my stomach and my back, but because people can’t see what’s wrong with me I feel like it gets dismissed. People think “it’s just period pain” but it’s so much more than that.
I lived for around four years with excruciating heavy periods that would last at least a week. I was diagnosed after two years of seeing doctors and gynaecologists. Then, when I got an IUD put in to stop the bleeding I was left with a relatively heavy period that did not stop for right on six months. I would have to take time off school and work and people would tell me “all us women get cramps, it’s not that bad, stop overreacting” etc. I have now lived without a period for two years (once the IUD finally became effective) and it totally changed by life.
I have endometriosis. I had to go through years of debilitating pain attacks that left me traumatised, having people around me and doctors telling me it was normal and just something that women have to deal with. The possibility of an underlying illness wasn’t even mentioned. I eventually researched myself because I knew there was something wrong with me and the pain was ruining my mental health and my life.
I told people I thought there was something wrong over and over and I was just told I was being dramatic. I eventually got myself booked in with a specialist. She operated on me and diagnosed me with endometriosis (and treated me accordingly).
I’m now doing a lot better but all the years of traumatic pain and people not caring about it still really affects me.
IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE, VISIT ENDOMETRIOSIS AUSTRALIA HERE.
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One in 10 Australian women live with endometriosis, but the stigma still exists. So Lizzie is sharing her story.