self care

Introduction to Endometriosis

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This is a post I’ve written, scrapped, and re-written again and again over the past few weeks. It’s a very personal subject for me, as I’ve suffered with Endometriosis for a few years and it affects my everyday life. I debated with myself many times over whether I should share my experiences or not, and warned many times that people online can be cruel. However, given that March is Endometriosis Awareness Month I’ve decided to post a short introduction to the disease.

Endometriosis is a chronic illness that affects approximately 176 million women worldwide. An estimated 1 in 10 women are affected, making it extremely common, but despite this fact not many people have ever heard of it. With Endometriosis, tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus, called Endometrium, is found outside of the uterus. When the menstrual cycle begins, the brain sends signals for the excess Endometrium to bleed which causes inflammation, pain, lesions and scar tissue.

Each woman suffers differently with Endometriosis, depending on where the Endometrium grows and its quantity. Endometriosis is broken into four groups, group 1 being mild Endometriosis and group 4 being severe. It commonly grows on the ovaries, the bladder and the bowel which affects sex, bowel movements and voiding. In short, it’s not fun.

There are many symptoms of Endometriosis which apply to a wide range of gynecological conditions, meaning it is often difficult to diagnose. The average length of time it takes for a woman to be diagnosed with Endometriosis is ten years.

The symptoms of Endometriosis are as follows:

• Painful periods

• Painful ovulation

• Pain during or after sex

• Heavy bleeding

• Abnormal bleeding

• Chronic pelvic pain

• Fatigue

• Incontinence

• Painful bowel movements

• Vaginismus

• Infertility

Endometriosis also affects women physically, mentally and socially, with many women also suffering from depression. It is a very real physiological condition, yet many women are told before diagnosis that the pain is all in their head, which can lead to feelings of shame and isolation. It is not known what causes Endometriosis and there is no cure.

The only way to properly diagnose Endometriosis is through a laparoscopy – key hole surgery where a microscopic camera is inserted through the belly button. It can be treated with drugs to try to regulate periods and to dull the pain, but many treatments are not suitable for long term use due to potential side effects. Surgery can be performed to remove excess Endometrium, lesions and scar tissue, but over time the Endometrium can grow back.

Famous women who have suffered with Endometriosis include Marilyn Monroe, Susan Sarandon,Whoopi Goldberg, Pamela Anderson, Hillary Clinton and Dolly Parton.

I’ve had many treatments in an attempt to deal with my Endometriosis and I’m due to have another operation in April to remove lesions and scar tissue from my left ovary. I was supposed to have it in January earlier this year, but due to a shortage of hospital beds I have to wait another month. Here is a list of treatments I’ve had to help with my Endometriosis:

• A laparoscopy

• A colposcopy

• A hysteroscopy

• An endoscopy

• The pill

• Medically induced menopause

• The Mirena coil

• Physiotherapy

• Therapy

• Pain medication

All of these treatments haven’t helped with my Endometriosis but I hope that with my next operation my symptoms will alleviate.

For the month of March I will be taking part in the #EndoPhotoChallenge over on Instagram where I will be providing more information on Endometriosis and how it affects me. Here is my IG if you want to follow my journey.

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If you have concerns about any of the symptoms mentioned above please don’t hesitate to contact your GP. Excessive pain or bleeding is not normal. Don’t feel embarrassed or feel like you’re over-reacting and don’t worry about a potentially un-comfortable examination. Vaginas are sensitive and temperamental and 5 minutes of discomfort is well worth it in order to make sure that you’re safe and healthy. Take care of your coochie!

Thank you for reading, I hope you’ve found this post informative. Until next time, take care,

Cíara C

((Information taken from Endometriosis.org))

((Image belongs to artist Camila Carlow))

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6 thoughts on “Introduction to Endometriosis

  1. Hi Ciara, I completely understand your struggle with going back and forth with sharing your story. I had the same dialogue with myself over if I need to be a voice for the cause. The way I see it now is… If I can help one person ask their doctor the tough question and demand resolutions that match their pain then it was worth it. Keep up the amazing work! You are not alone. #EndoLove

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kyla, thank you so much for your comment, it’s always so nice to see fellow ‘Endo Sisters’ online and know that we have such a large community. That’s a fantastic way of looking at it, thankfully I’ve had a lovely response which makes it all seem worth it. Your blog is gorgeous and so informative. Take care. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally understand where you are coming from. From day one of starting my period they were heavy and painfull and where friends only bled for 2 To 3 days I bled for 7. I was lucky that at 25 I had private Health through my employer at the time. So after years of going back an too to the GP which included having to change GP to get a referral I finally had a laparoscopy and was diagnosed which to be honest was a relief I actually could call it something and I wasn’t just being soft!! I was put the pill for 6 months at a time but of course that didn’t help once I had a break it just came back and was probably worse. This carried on until it was 32 I had gotten married and didn’t want to take the pill as I wanted to start a family. We tried for 12 months without succes so I went back to see my consultant. She referee me on as she said her only solution would be a hysterectomy but she knew a Doctor who would help Mr Andrew Pickersgill who was a consultant at The Alexandra Hospital in Cheadle Cheshire and NHS hospital stepping hill Stockport. I had another Laparoscopy and he told me that my womb didn’t look like a womb, it was totally distorted by the endometriosis my ovaries were so weighed down that they and slipped over the back of the womb and we’re stuck to my Uretha my bowl was stuck to the bottom of my womb as the Sac of Douglas was full of endometriosis. He said that most doctors would say Hysterectomy but he could help. I was warned it would be a long operation up to 6 hours and there was a risk I may have to have a colostomy but there was no way I would be accepted for IVF if u didn’t have it. I had the op and have had another one since as it came back probably 6 years later it wasn’t as bad but my ovaries had slipped again they are now stitched to my womb. I still get pain but not as bad and u would advise anyone in the North West of England to try and see Andy Pickergill although I have neve been able to have Children not being in the pain I was in is fantastic. I did have IVF but after 3 years and having used up my embryos decided to get off that treadmill and stop. Think it was always a long shot as they graded my endometriosis as grade 4. I’m now 45 and as I said my pain isn’t as bad but at the moment I’m bleeding for 12 daysat a time and have been for a few years. I know I have to go back and see Andy Pickergill but I also k I was he’s already told me that next time it will be a hysterectomy. Sorry I’ve waffles on a bit now just want to wish all sufferes the best of luck with whatever treatment you are on or will have xx

    Liked by 1 person

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