Endometriosis doesn’t just cause a lot of excruciating pain, there are also many jarring social, mental and emotional adversities to overcome day to day.
1. It puts real pressure on your relationships and timeframes.
Whether we’ve been thinking about having children or not, we’re commonly told that we only have a very small window of opportunity to do so.
I personally, have been told to not delay starting a family if I can help it. This has been particularly stressful for me in the past, when I was very young - or when I was single and alone… or just not ready to have children.
Now that I’m in a stable relationship, I feel that there’s even more pressure because now I have the ‘foundation’ or the ‘resources’ that I didn’t have before. I’ve supposedly overcome the barriers that once hindered my baby-making odds.
Not the case.
This pressure has been further exacerbated by (even more) recent medical complications.
An increase in excruciating endo attacks and some ruptured ovarian cysts have propelled me to undergo countless surgeries and invasive medical procedures… and a whole lotta pain, stealing even more time away from my work, my partner and my life in general.
2. It puts strain on your mental health.
Endo is a long-term (life-long) chronic condition that can significantly impact on a woman’s physical health, emotional wellbeing and daily routine.
Personally, like many other sufferers, my symptoms often stop me from doing normal activities, leaving me feeling like a burden on my friends, family, partner and colleagues. I often feel anxious, depressed, helpless and alone.
It is mentally draining and I need extra time for self-care and rest.
3. It’s not just pain. We experience ATTACKS.
No, I’m not being dramatic.
Just like asthmatics experience asthma attacks, and people with epilepsy might experience seizures or fits - Endometriosis sufferers experience frequent ‘episodes’ too, in the form of an Endo attack.
Every woman with endometriosis experiences different symptoms. Many women have constant, excruciating and debilitating pain, and attacks every month when they are going through their period cycle. Or both. For this reason, they might choose to suppress their periods using hormonal intervention - usually in the form of birth-control, such as the Mirena IUD.
4. It’s not just my reproductive organs.
Endometriosis often spreads to other organs - it commonly spreads to the bowel,
bladder, nerves - and in some cases, the brain.
When left untreated, we can experience agonizing pain and complications in these areas.
I personally experience a lot of seizing leg pain when seated for longer periods due to my endo spreading to associated nerves.
Even without spreading, the presence of endo alone (even when contained), induces changes to the brain, which explains the sporadic ‘brain fog,’ sensitivity to pain, and the anxiety and depression experienced by sufferers.
5. Forget painful periods and infertility. There's more.
In addition to my ongoing pain, sporadic attacks, reproductive complications and emergency room visits, we often experience a lot of pain during ovulation.
Most women don’t even really know when they’re ovulating - They might just notice whether their period comes or not. For us, ovulation is a whole other pain-point during the menstrual cycle.
One last thing: Painful sex. Yes, intercourse can be oh so agonising for us at times. It’s not fun. It’s not sexy. Forget romance. Cue the tears.
Are you an Endo sufferer? What is it that you want us to know?