Last year, I learned that my sister had endometriosis, a disease that affects millions of women. She shares her story here today and we hope that it will inspire you to visit your doctor.
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is a disease that affects 5.5 million women in the North America alone and it is one of the top 3 causes of female infertility. It is a fairly common disease among women, yet many people have never heard of it. There is no known cause or cure for endometriosis.
What is endometriosis? Each month as a woman goes through her menstrual cycle, tissue builds on the uterine lining (endometrium), thickening it. A woman with endometriosis has this tissue growth outside the uterus. It usually grows on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other areas of the pelvis. When the egg is not fertilized, the endometrium on the uterine wall sheds and exits through the vagina, called menstruation. The endometrial growths outside the uterus acts in the same way, it thickens and bleeds, but it has no way to exit the body. It becomes trapped inside the body and continues to do so each time a woman menstruates. This can lead to cysts, scar tissue, and adhesions which binds your organs together.
I am 27 years old and I discovered I had severe endometriosis last May. Since then, I have been on continuous medication and hormones. I had an unsuccessful laparoscopy where the severity of my case was discovered. I had endometrium growing all over my reproductive organs as well as my colon, binding my colon to my uterus. I needed major surgery. To prepare for this, I was put on Lupron Depot and went through a temporary menopause. I had a laparotomy and a colon resection – but this does not cure the disease. My reproductive organs are permanently damaged. I do not know if I will be able to have children, and likely not naturally.
I went through years with painful cramps thinking it was just menstrual cramps. Nobody wants to be that girl complaining about her period, so I avoided going to the doctor thinking it was normal. If more women know about this disease and more women get checked out, maybe they can catch it before it gets to be as severe as mine. I hope that one day we can find the cause and a cure for this horrible disease. Living with endometriosis is extremely painful and takes an emotional toll as well. It is so much easier to deal with when you have people around you who understand and support you.
I hope to spread the word about this disease during Endometriosis Awareness Month and hope with your help, we can continue to do so thereafter.
To learn more, there is a multitude of information online. If you are a member of Facebook there are groups with helpful links and information on the disease: Living with Endo; I hate endometriosis; Endometriosis Sisters.
By Giovanna Davi
- M.I.S.S. Healthy Bites: Could It Be More Than Just Cramps?
- March Is National Endometriosis Awareness Month
- Nails Did: Breast Cancer Awareness
- M.I.S.S. Michelle’s Beauty Tip of the Week: Breast Assured – What To Do if You Find Unlovely Lady Lumps
- October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month