No, Endometriosis is not just a 'bad period'

One for my endo warriors, my endo babes and my endo Queens. I’m so happy that major media companies like the BBC have given this condition more coverage that it needs recently. Although there is still a hell of a long way to go.

I think one of the biggest issues with endometriosis is the amount of time it takes to get the diagnosis in the first place. It’s known to be an average of about 6 to 10 years! This is all down to the fact that it’s quite difficult to diagnose (only way of 100% knowing is through keyhole surgery) and because the awareness and education that doctors have on the condition is limited. Footage from the BBC article actually told us that sometimes endometriosis sufferers need to tell their doctor about what endometriosis is, and does, when it should be the doctor telling them!

So what exactly is endometriosis?

The question you probably need to know the answer to. Endometriosis is where cells similar to the cells which line the womb (the tissue that sheds and is then your period) starts to grow OUTSIDE the womb and in numerous places within the body. It is thought that these cells still mimic the womb lining cells in that they follow the menstrual cycle and build up and break down and bleed except there isn’t anywhere for the blood to go.

Newer research actually suggests that the cells don’t completely copy the womb lining, in that they don’t break down and bleed, however do still secrete fluid that can damage and cause inflammation surrounding the areas.

What are the symptoms?

  • PAIN. It could be pain in your womb, belly, legs, back, pelvis, which intensifies around your period and ovulation. It is NOT acute pain. It is extreme pain (worse depending on how much endometriosis tissue you have). The pain can sometimes be so intolerable that girls end up on the floor of A&E begging for help (which they wouldn’t have to do if they were taken seriously in the first place)

  • Heavier periods / irregular periods. Your periods might be really long, or much shorter, and never be consistent month to month. You may experience much heavier periods and be bleeding through more pads/tampons than normal. (It may be too painful to insert tampons)

  • Painful sex/penetration. It may feel like a sharp stabbing pain, or perhaps aches for days after. Similar or perhaps even vulvodynia and vaginismus.

  • Nausea & Vomiting. This could be worse when in more pain.

  • Extreme fatigue.

  • Diarrhoea or Constipation

  • Migraines

  • Infertility

What are the treatments?

Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women, yet has no cure. This condition is just as common as diabetes yet has less than half the research behind it. I’m very glad to hear that endometriosis is FINALLY being discussed in the houses of parliament for debate, let’s hope something changes asap!

The following ‘treatments’ are what the NHS suggest -

  • The pill & contraception: This has been given out by doctors in an aid to help with endometriosis symptoms, however I have heard very mixed reviews in that it can make other areas worse, BUT at the same time, I know this helps others. It’s best to talk this through with a doctor as there are so many types to choose from

  • Pain medication: Different levels/strengths available, sometimes ibuprofen is just not going to cut it

  • Laparoscopy: This is the keyhole surgery used to diagnose endometriosis however it is also used in order to remove the endometriosis tissue. Some girls may need this procedure several times as the endometriosis can grow back.

I’ve personally found that others who suffer with endometriosis have much better advice on what helps alleviate symptoms. There are sadly so many women out there in this position, you will find several here at Queens of Eve to connect and share advice with.

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